You’d assume the people of ungodly hot places would eat foods that don’t require much cooking. Yet in hot countries like India, spicy-hot food is consumed to aid in sweating which in turn helps to cool the body. When I did the research for an Indian cookbook I co-wrote back in the 90’s, I discovered the food of southern India is hotter than its northern neighbors because the average temperatures are hotter. Spicy-hot, coconut milk-based curries are very popular in the south. And that’s what I’m sharing with you today, a spicy pork, spinach & coconut curry recipe.
While pork is something that’s not popular in India mainly due to pigs being scavengers & religious reasons, pork is fantastic curried. Especially the shoulder, also called the butt section of the animal – that’s at the front, top section of the animal & not the back as “butt” would suggest.
The most amazing thing happens when pork butt is slowly cooked – it becomes as soft as butter with a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness that is second to none. And because it has nice fat marbling throughout it it’s also the most flavourful cut of pork.
Pork also lends itself to a multitude of flavors & is possibly the most versatile meat consumed in the western society. Here warm spices marry with the pork to create the most fragrant, flavorful curry imaginable (promise). For this curry I went with ground spices instead of my usual combo of whole & ground. This is my favorite seven when it comes to curry making.
When cooking a curry, always cook the spices for a minute or two to soften the flavors & release the natural oils in the spices. This one, simple step can make the difference between a curry with a bold but smooth, well-rounded flavor & one that is gritty & harsh. It’s an important step, never skip it. The heat in the curry comes from fresh chilies, the more you add, obviously the hotter it will be.
When not served with rice, a curry makes a great low-carb meal. This curry was so delicious I barely missed the steamed basmati rice…barely. Curries are relatively inexpensive & easy to make & fit ever so nicely into a diet renovation plan. They’re usually best the following days after they’re made, & like this curry, they freeze beautifully, so no excuse for those nights when you’re so exhausted you can hardly lift a pinky to cook. Toodles xo.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 1/4 lb (1.5kg) pork butt/shoulder, cubed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 to 8 small red chilies, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 14 oz (398ml) can coconut milk
- 8 oz (226g) baby spinach leaves
- Coconut, chopped cashews & mango chutney to serve
- Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown pork in 2 to 3 batches, until browned; remove from pan.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic & ginger. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
- Add the spices & cook, stirring for 1 minute until fragrant. Cooking the spices releases their natural oils & helps to eliminate any bitterness.
- Add salt, chilies, broth, coconut milk & pork to pan. Bring to boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover & cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pork is very tender & sauce is thickened a little.
- Add spinach & stir until it’s just wilted. Spoon into warmed serving bowls; top with coconut, cashews & mango chutney if desired.