Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whole30, day 4: Jamaican inspired pork curry

This is probably not the most photogenic food, but....dang, it's só good! I am a sucker for curries, and thank goodness, there are loads of them: from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, name a few. An Indian chef told me once that the word "curry" means "sauce", and that if you had more people for dinner than planned, you just water the sauce down, and there's enough for everyone.

Today, is day 4 of my Whole30 experience. I can't say I was feeling on top of the world today, but all in all I'm still doing fine. The hardest part for me is to think before I put something in my mouth. I was already used to not eating sweets and cakes mindlessly, but now I even have to think about a piece of sugar free gum! I almost had one and realised that it had of course artificial sweetener in it, so I put it away again. And I have to admit that I miss cheese and cream. This diet is not hard, I still can eat loads of things I love, but I'm sorry...I do miss cheese and cream.
Now...back to the food. I once saw this Jamaican chef on tv and he was putting scotch bonnets (ridiculously hot peppers) in just about anything. Those peppers look so pretty and cheerful, so I bought some (they look a little like habanero). Wow, I don't think I have eaten a pepper in my life that hot. It was really too much for me. The thing I kind of forgot, was that he didn't actually cut them, but just dumped the whole pepper in the curry. After a good hour of simmering, the pepper released its fruity flavor, but without the horrible heat. It is a little spicy though, and the longer you leave it in, the spicier it gets, so be careful if you can't stand some heat.

This dish is perfect for a slow cooker. Some people make curries with lean meats, but I love them so much more with the fattier cuts. Stewing meat for hours makes it so tender and gives it a good chance to let all the flavors mix.

Jamaican inspired pork curry (serves 2)

1 pound (450 gr) pork (I like the stewing cuts, like shoulder)
1 small onion
1 inch (2,5 cm) fresh ginger root, peeled
3 garlic cloves
3 all spice berries, ground (or all spice powder)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 scotch bonnet (or habanero, or if you really don't like it spicy, you can omit the pepper)
1 cinnamon stick, broken
1 bay leaf
salt to taste (appr. 1-2 tsp)
hot water

Puree the garlic, ginger and onion together. Put some fat in a pan (for instance a Dutch oven) and stir fry the paste for a minute or two. Add the meat and stir well. It's not necessary to sear and brown the meat, but if you want to, you can brown the meat before you put it in the paste.

Add the coriander, cumin, salt, broken cinnamon stick, bay leaf and all spice. Stir well and add the hot water, just enough to cover the meat. Stir again and taste a little to check if it needs more salt. Finally, add the pepper, put a lid on it and let it simmer on very low heat for about 2 hours. The longer it simmers, the softer the meat gets. And beware of the pepper! Take it out after an hour, if you like it fruity, but not hot. If you don't mind a little heat, you can leave it in longer. But don't let it turn too soft, because if it breaks, the seeds will be released into the sauce and dinner will be like hell fire.

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