Sunday, 21 August 2011


Pig cheeks have been a bit of a revelation to me. They are inexpensive (I get them at Morrisons for around £2.70 for 500g), meaty and when properly cooked have a yielding gelatinous quality that gives all the unctuousness of a fatty bit of pork belly without the fat. I’ve braised them plainly with onions and beef stock, and also Chinese stylee, but the lovely Mr Redding suggested that next time I felt like making a vindaloo I use them – and Reader, I did.  Vindaloo likes a reasonably long cooking time, which suits this cut, and they turned out rather deliciously. I don’t like my curries very hot so only used 3 dried red chillies but if you like it hotter then use more, and add a whole green chilli (or 3!), slit up the middle, to the pan when simmering.

This needs marinading overnight, after an initial 2-3 hour rub, so be warned!

And I don't know what happened with my camera but this is the only photo I have, so use your imagination!

500g pigs cheeks, each cut into 3
1 tsp salt
3 tblsp red wine vinegar

Spice paste
3 (or more) dried red chillies
½ tsp. cumin seeds
3inch cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
7 cloves
½ tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tblsp. red paprika
5 peeled garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
3 tblsp. red wine vinegar

2 tblsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp.sugar
1 or more whole green chillies slit in half lengthways

 Rub the salt and vinegar well into the pork and set aside for 2-3 hours. 

Grind the chillies, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, or mortar if you’re feeling strong.  Combine with the turmeric, paprika, garlic, ginger and vinegar to make a thick paste. Add to the pork, rub in well, cover and refrigerate overnight (seal tightly because it’s quite pungent). 

When you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a wide frying pan until medium hot. Add the garlic and onions and fry until brown (but not burnt!).  Add the tomatoes and the green chilli if using. Stir until the tomatoes start to soften, add the sugar then the marinated meat and all the spice paste.  Fry on a fairly high heat for 5 – 10 minutes until the meat is browned and the spice mixture is cooked out.  Turn down to a medium heat, add 500ml water, and once the pan has come to the boil lower heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.  Remove cover for the last 30 minutes so that the sauce thickens and coats the meat.

I served mine with some dhall.....

Spinach cooked with finely sliced onions and ginger, and rice with cardomom pods....

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