Slow-Cooker Goan Pork Vindaloo
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 large yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger (about a 2-inch length of peeled ginger)
1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
5 whole cloves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
5 green cardamom pods or ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
½ cup apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 packed tablespoons grated jaggery or light brown sugar, plus more to taste (see Tip)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon kashmiri chile powder
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste (optional)
3 pounds boneless, skinless pork shoulder, cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Step 1 Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns and 2½ teaspoons salt in a blender. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, firmly press the cardamom pods so that they crack open. Put the seeds from each pod in the blender and discard the pods. (This yields about a heaping ¼ teaspoon of seeds.) Pour the vinegar into the blender. Blend, first on low until everything is combined, then on high, until the mixture is fully puréed and the whole spices are crushed, 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on your blender. (You will see flecks of spices, but everything should be at least coarsely ground.)
Step 2 Pour the puréed mixture into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Stir in the cinnamon stick, jaggery, cumin, turmeric, chile powder and cayenne (if using). Add the pork and stir to evenly combine. Cover and cook on high until the flavors have blended, the onion taste is no longer sharp, and the pork is very tender, about 5 hours.
Step 3 Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Taste and add more salt or sugar if you like, before serving with warmed rice. The sauce will be rich and a little soupy, great for spooning over rice. If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the pork from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and put it in a serving dish. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour the reduced sauce over the pork and serve with warm rice.
Tips: Jaggery, also called gur, is an unrefined brown cane sugar used in South Asia. It is often sold in a solid block or cone and can be grated. You can find it at any South Asian market.
Kashmiri chile powder is widely used in South Asian cooking. You can find the mild chile powder at any South Asian market, You can also substitute ½ teaspoon ground cayenne mixed with 2½ teaspoons sweet or hot (but not smoked) paprika.