Friday, November 18, 2011

Baharat Pork with Red Wine

Sometimes reconnecting with an old friend is the best thing that could happen, gastronomically speaking. Kurush and his friend Jubal met again after many years and I have found great joy in their reunion. Jubal has a twinkle of mischief that lurks in his eyes all the time and he is one of those male freaks of nature that cleans up after he cooks! We love having him over at our place for obvious reasons ;)

Jubal shares not only our love for good food but he's also happy to share his recipes. He floored us with this amazing pork preparation that made me fall in love with Baharat masala. It is my top favourite pork preparation at the moment and when a pot luck dinner gave me the opportunity to show off my skills with pork, I chose to cook what I call Baharat Pork with Red Wine.

Here's my version -

1kg boneless lean pork with a few chunks of fat
8 largeish onions, sliced
olive oil to cook
sunflower or peanut oil
2 star anise
6" cinnamon stick
salt to taste

For the marinade:
4 teaspoons Baharat masala
juice of 4 sour limes
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp garlic paste
A generous slug of olive oil

Clean the pork pieces and make sure they are small. This dish is cooked slowly in a heavy based pan for a couple of hours. Big chunks result in unevenly cooked pieces so be safe and make smaller pieces.

In a bowl whisk together the marinade and pour over the pork pieces. Use a clean large glass bowl to marinate the meat. Cover and let it marinate for a minimum 1 hour and as long as you can if you're not rushed for time.

When you're ready to cook the pork, slice a mountain of onions. More specifically, use 8. Take a heavy based cooking vessel ( I used a classic biryani degh) and heat about half a cup of olive oil with some peanut or sunflower oil thrown in. Let it heat up nicely and then chuck in the star anise and the cinnamon. Let the onions in and shake everyone around. After the initial sizzle the onions will settle.

 Stir it all well and let the onions fry slowly for about 15 minutes. Supervise it so it doesn't burn. Add a teaspoon or two of Baharat masala at this stage and blend it into the onions nicely.

Now add the pork and stir it all well. Braise the pork nicely and once all the pieces are sealed in, lower the flame and let it cook covered for half an hour. Mostly ignore it but take care that it doesn't burn. Don't add any water. There will be plenty from the onions, the marinade and from the pork itself. Add salt and a splash of some more red wine.

Cover and let it cook for another 30 to 45mins. Be patient and leave it alone. Check after the first 30 minutes, give it a stir, taste it and see. The pork will be silky, soft and will just melt in your mouth. Cook it further only if required.

This dish is ridiculously easy to make but it takes time. More than anything else, cook it with patience.

Serve it with bread, pav, parathas, rice...whatever you like!

Baharat masala, from what I've gathered from my readings, is a north African blend of spices, much like our garam masala. It is used across the Persian Gulf region and just like with our garam masala, there are regional variations in the blend. Some blends have mint or dried lime, but most contain peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and even cumin and corainder.

1 comment:

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

hy Rhea,
first time your space...wonderful presentation with great recipes..
Am your happy follower now..;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite