If you’ve grown up / lived in Karnataka, and relish pork, it would be criminal to have not tried Pandi Curry. This hallmark dish of Kodava Cuisine (the traditional cuisine of Coorg) is sour, spicy and distinct in flavor from any other pork preparation in the country. While you can easily find some at specialty restaurants in Bengaluru, (and its pretty good), nothing compares to home-made! The best I’ve tasted was at a home-stay we holidayed in a couple of years ago. This recipe comes from the very gracious 70+ year old host at the home-stay; simply can’t thank her enough🙏
It’s hard to put your finger on the ingredients just from tasting pandi curry; simply because the exact ingredients are not so well-known outside of Coorg. And there-in lies the secret to well-made pandi curry – you’ve simply got to get some of the key ingredients from Coorg! The first is the Pandi Curry Masala (the spice blend); I’ve tried making it from scratch a few times, but have never been able to achieve that 100% authentic flavor. A couple of years ago, we picked up a giant pack of masala from a small-town mill in Coorg (as recommended by our home-stay host); this served us well for almost a year and taught me to leave the masala making to the experts! Once the pack was exhausted, a little bit of scouring online led me to Flavors of Mercara – my present source for phenomenal, home-made condiments from Coorg! The second ingredient that is best sourced from Coorg, is Kachampuli – a viscous, black vinegar that gives this dish is characteristic taste and black colour. It’s fairly concentrated in flavour, so make sure to use it sparingly!
Recipe: Pandi Curry
- A mixer / blender/ food processor
- A pressure cooker (preferable but not essential)
- 1 Kg Pork [cut into 1 inch size cubes]
- 6 medium – sized Onions
- 1½ bulbs Garlic
- 2 tsps Ginger [roughly chopped]
- 10 Green Chilies
- 3 tsps Pandi Curry Masala
- 1 tbs Kachampuli
- Salt [to taste]
- Wash and drain the pork.
- Grind the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse paste. Use a tsp of salt to act as an abrasive.
- Combine the pork and ground paste in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pot. Next add 3 tsps of pandi curry masala and a tsp of salt and stir well.
- Pressure cook the pork for 30 mins or until tender. If not using a pressure cooker, cook covered in a heavy bottomed pot over low heat for 60 mins.1
- Once the pork is cooked, add a tbs of Kachampuli2 and stir well. Taste check and add salt if needed.
- Simmer, with a lid on, for a final 10 mins and serve.
1If not using a pressure cooker, make sure to cook the pork at least for 60 mins to ensure its properly cooked. Pressuring cooking for 40 mins is adequate. Also, when not using a pressure cooker, make sure to stir the pork intermittently and add a cup of water if needed to avoid burning.
2Make sure you add the kachampuli only after the meat is tender. If added at the start, the meat tends to go a bit tough as it cooks.
Pandi curry is best served with traditional rice based accompaniments – rice dumplings called Kadambuttu, and Akki rotti (rice -flour rottis). It also goes really well with Idlis or Ghee Rice. 🖖