Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pork with Lai Xaak

There's a special place in my heart for food from Assam and the rest of the North East. With all sorts of vegetables and lots of variety in meats the cuisines of the North Eastern states have so much to offer it will take more than a life time to savour it all. My friend Gitika has been working hard educating us Mumbaikars about the food of that region and she regularly has fresh produce and ingredients flown in for her very popular pop ups showcasing the wonderful food from the NE. A couple of days ago she called me to inform me that she had a little surprise for me - lai xaak! She was sending some over so I cook with it in my own kitchen. I am indeed blessed to have friends who share not just food but ingredients too. There is a different joy in cooking with things that are new to us and for me, a chance to cook with lai xaak was special indeed!
Lai Xaak Image

There was no discussion or even any question about what I'd make with the lai xaak - pork of course! I looked up a few recipes and made something that suited the tastes of the family. The brother, who' visiting, likes it hot, the hubby will sulk if there are no potatoes, I was in the mood for something comforting to be enjoyed with rice. The recipes I saw were very frugal in flavours letting the greens dominate. I have saved half for a more authentic rendition, today I just sort of winged it. It's not too far off from what you might be served in an Assamese household but I don't claim this to be an authentic Assamese recipe.
1 kg Pork 
1 bunch Lai xaak 
2 Onions 
2 Potatoes 
4-5 Green chillies 
2 tsps Ginger paste 
1 tsp Garlic paste 
1 tsp Turmeric 
2 tsps Chilli powder 

Wash and clean the pork pieces and marinate with salt. 

Chop the potatoes into large chunks and chop the onions fine. 

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and chuck in the chopped onions along with the green chillies. Fry on low heat till the onions turn pink. 

Add the pork to the pot and braise well for around 10 minutes. 

Put in the ginger and garlic pastes. I used freshly made pastes for better flavour. 

Add turmeric and chilli powder, mix them in and cook the whole thing covered for 5 minutes. 

Wash the lai xaak well in running water separating out the leaves and washing inside the stalks properly. Break into rough pieces and add to the pork. Stir well to mix and let it cook for another 5 minutes. 

Now add the potatoes and enough water to give you plenty of gravy. I used around a cup and a half. 

Shut the cooker and cook the pork under pressure. Once the cooker whistles reduce the flame and cook for 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and let the cooker cool on its own. 

Serve the hot pork curry with plain hot rice. 

No comments: