Instant Pot Pork Vindaloo is a curry with a beautifully complex flavour profile, which balances tanginess, spices, heat and a hint of sweetness. Lap it up with come crusty bread or serve it over rice to make it an unforgettable meal! This recipe is made using the slow cooker function of the Instant Pot, for a better and more mature flavour profile.
Pork vindaloo has got a reputation of being a fiery, spicy curry with a flavour profile that is largely dependent on red chillies. The truth is, vindaloo has a beautifully complex flavour profile, which balances tanginess, spices, heat and a hint of sweetness, each one enhancing the other, and not overpowering each other. When lapped up with some crusty bread, pork vindaloo becomes a veritable feast in itself.
Pork vindaloo is one of the many offshoots of the Portuguese occupation of Goa. The original Portuguese dish, Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos, was Indianised with tamarind, chilies, cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Wine, used in the original, was substituted for palm vinegar.
Tips for making Instant Pot Pork Vindaloo in the Slow Cooker mode of the Instant Pot:
I made this vindaloo in the Instant Pot, making use of the Saute and the Slow Cook functions. I prefer to let the meat slow cook, and get well infused with the flavors of the spice mixture. This leads to a more mature and complex flavour profile and beautifully tenderized meat. When making a vindaloo, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Cut of pork: Go for pork cuts which have some amount of fat in them. The presence of pork fat helps to cut through the spice and tanginess. Pork shoulder would be preferable to pork belly, which has more fat.
- Achieving that tangy flavor: The characteristic tangy flavor of pork vindaloo is made possible with the addition of either tamarind pulp or tomatoes along with vinegar. Traditional recipes call for tamarind pulp, and I prefer this to tomatoes which are milder. In my recipe, I omit tomatoes, but you could add them as well, or add concentrated tomato paste, and give the curry more of a rich red color. If you live outside India, Tamarind (pulp and whole tamarind) is available at all Indian and Asian stores or online as well.
- Chilies: This is up to your spice tolerance, and you could choose between regular dried red chilies, or Kashmiri red chilies which import more red color and less heat. Optionally, use paprika as a substitute.
- A hint of sweetness: A classic pork vindaloo has mild sweet notes, and the use of sweet spices such as cinnamon and cloves helps to round off the sourness in the curry. Additionally, I like to add a little brown sugar to temper the tanginess.
As with most Indian recipes, you can adjust the level of spices in this curry to suit your preferences. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the number of chillies, and if you want to play down the sourness, reduce the amount of tamarind and vinegar. If you are like me and like to go all out with your spices, then this is the curry for you!
Instant Pot Pork Vindaloo
- 800 grams pork cut into cubes (use pork cuts which have some amount of pork fat)
For the spice mixture:
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 8-9 garlic cloves peeled
- 5-6 dried red chillies or 8-9 dried Kashmiri Red chillies (see recipe notes)
- 8-9 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 inch piece ginger chopped or grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns optional
- 1/3 cup vinegar use white vinegar or palm vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- Oil for sautéing
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup tamarind pulp (see recipe notes)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- In the jar of a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients listed under (spice mixture). Grind until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the spice mixture and the pork, until the meat is well coated with the spice paste. Keep this aside.
- Turn the IP to 'Saute' mode in the 'More' setting.
- Add the chopped onions and the oil and let the IP come to heat.
- Sauté the onions for a few minutes, until they start to brown.
- Add the marinated pork pieces to the browned onions.
- Add a cup of water to the pork, followed by the tamarind pulp and the brown sugar.
- Give it a good stir and let the pork simmer for around 8 to 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally. You could reduce the heat by changing the setting from ‘More’ to ‘Less’ in the ‘Saute’ mode, and put on a glass lid on the IP if you feel the curry is drying out. Try not to increase the amount of water as the pork should cook in its own juices.
- After simmering for around 8 minutes, switch to ‘Slow Cook’ mode in 'High' mode and put on the lip of the IP. Ensure that the valve is in ‘Venting’ position. Set the cook time to 2 hours 30 minutes.
- After the meat has slow-cooked, take off the lid, give it a good stir and serve with some pav bread or serve over rice.
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