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Monday, 26 May 2014

From Incredible India

Asia Food Festival blogging event moves on from Korea to India this month.   My family and I are more familiar with the spicy side of Indian cuisine although there's a whole kaleidoscope of diversity that we have yet to experience.  Very limited exposure i must say but we have always enjoyed this side of it.  Breakfast items like the various indian breads are almost a weekly event too. 

Although hubs and i love Indian food, i seldom make it at home for two reasons.  Firstly, my son's heat level tolerance is relatively low compared to us and secondly i am intimidated by the many types of spices used.    I tend to forget and get confused about which is which.   Cumin and fennel for example, they look very similar and it does not help that their Malay names are very close, Jintan Putih for Cumin and Jintan Manis for Fennel, now how's that to add to the confusion?

So, i set out to look for Indian recipes that would be simple enough for me to tackle.  Simple as in not too long list of ingredients and most importantly spices that are not foreign to me.  I was glad to find Swapna's Cuisine.  She had this pork recipe named Nadan Panniyearchi Ularthiyathu/Kerala Style Pork Fry.  I thought I could try this with pork ribs instead to add to my collection of pork ribs dishes from the various Asian countries alongside this event.  If you like pork ribs, you may want to check out these delicious ribs recipes from ThailandJapan and Korea too.

This Kerala version turned out delicious and i am now convinced that one doesn't actually need coconut milk to make it so.  Our localized version of curries almost always have coconut milk in them turning them into something that is not the healthiest food to take often.

The other thing that i like about her recipe is that she included a recipe to make a meat masala from scratch which were a combination of some spices that i had on hand, so instead of running to the store to get a bottle of meat masala (which does not come cheap), i could just put it together myself.

When the meat dish was successful, i got more confident and started looking for more on Swapna's blog to make it a complete Indian meal.   And this was the Indian meal we ended up with on that day.   Best eaten with hands!  Garlic Naan bread to go with spicy ribs and a yogurt based salad to balance the meal and cool down the heat :)

I find this naan recipe quite unique, credits to Swapna again for the recipe.  Yogurt and honey was in its ingredient list and based on my experience so far, even when used separately yogurt and honey are ingredients that gives us soft fluffy bread.  I couldn't wait to try the results when both of them are put together.  It was crisp on the outer layer but fluffy soft inside when eaten hot.  I could just eat them like that :).

As for the salad, it was just a simple recipe that i made up inspired by the cucumber salad that is frequently served as a side dish for banana leaf rice at Indian restaurants.   

Recipe - Kerala Style Spicy Pork Ribs

  • Pork – 1 kg, cut in to cubes and cleaned (800g pork ribs)
  • Coconut slices / Thengakothu – ½ cup (omitted)
  • Onion-2 big, sliced (used only 1 since the onion was quite big)
  • Pearl onions / Chumannulli – ½ cup sliced (omitted)
  • Ginger, minced – 1 ½ tbsp 
  • Garlic minced – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Green chillies -3 or 4 sliced (omitted)
  • Homemade Erachipodi / Meatmasala -3 to 4 tbsp (OR you can add 1 ½ tbsp chilly powder, 1 ½ tbsp Coriander powder, ½ tsp- Turmeric powder, 2 tsp- Pepper powder, 6 cardamoms, 6 cloves, 3 x 1” piece cinnamon sticks all powdered together) (1 tbsp chilly powder, 1tbsp Coriander powder, ½ tsp- Turmeric powder, 1 tsp- Pepper powder, 4 cardamoms, 4 cloves)
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp (1 tsp mixed spice with combination of mustard seeds, fenugreek, cumin, fennel) 
  • 1 2” piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium size tomato, cubed
  • Oil- 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Salt to taste 
  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker and splutter mustard seeds.
  2. Add coconut pieces / thengakothu and stir fry until coconut pieces are light brown (omitted)
  3. Add sliced onion, pearl onion, ginger, garlic and curry leaves; stir fry until onions become limp.
  4. Add in tomatoes, mix well and stir fry until tomatoes soften.
  5. Reduce flame and add erachi podi / meat masala and sauté making sure not to burn the powder.
  6. Add cleaned pork pieces and continue stirring until masala coat pork pieces and meat turns opaque and smell fragrant.  
  7. Add ¼ cup of hot water and pressure cook the pork for 3-4 whistles on low flame or until the meat is cooked well. (3/4 cup of water and pressure cook for 10 minutes)
  8. Once the steam vents out open the lid and check if the pork is cooked well.
  9. Now on medium heat, cook the meat pieces until the oozed out water is completely dry, stirring in between. Turn off the flame. (As we prefered some gravy to it, i didn't  cook until it was completely dry)
  10. Serve hot or you can cool the pork and store it in the fridge and stir fry it when required. You can store this up to 1 week.
  11. For stir frying, heat remaining oil in a non-stick pan add cooked pork pieces and stir fry well until pork is browned. If needed drizzle oil while stir frying. (I would reheat by adding some water to it)
  1.  My variations in blue.  Variations were made mainly to adjust to taste and heat level tolerance.
  2. The assumption made for this recipe is that a pressure cooker is used for to cook the dish.  Although it is possible to cook it over a stove i am not sure if the taste will be diluted as more water will be required due to a longer time to get the meat to be tender, more so if ribs is used.  Perhaps it advisable to stick to meat or add another 10% to the amount of ingredients.

Recipe - Garlic Naan

  • 280 gm/10 oz/1¼ cups Strong white flour plus extra for dusting (can use All purpose flour/ Maida) (All Purpose)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz lukewarm water
  • 4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing (I used Ghee) (Canola oil)
  1. Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the garlic and yeast. Make a well in the center and pour in the honey, water, yogurt and oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together, and then knead with your hands until it leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  2. Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back with your fist. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sized balls. Cover the balls with a cling film for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Roll out each ball into a teardrop shape.
  5. Heat grilling tawa / skillet and cook both sides of Naan on a medium heat. Brush with butter / ghee and serve with your favorite side dish. (I used a frying pan brushed with a little canola oil during frying as i didn't have a tawa/skillet.  I omitted the step to brush with butter/ghee before serving since oil was already used during the frying)
  1. I sifted the flour then let my breadmaker handle steps 1 and 2 using the Dough programme.  I then left the dough in the breadmaker until the it doubled in volume.
  2. I made 8 pieces out of it.
Recipe - Cucumber Chickpea Salad
Source: LiteHomeBake

  • 1 medium size japanese cucumber
  • 6 tablespoons of canned chickpeas 
  • A handful cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon plain thick yogurt
  • Salt
  • Black pepper 
  1. Cut cucumber into thin half slices.
  2. Half the tomatoes.
  3. Mix cucumber, tomatoes and chickpeas in a bowl then top with yogurt, a dash of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

"I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indian Subcontinent hosted by Chef and Sommelier."


I seldom see Indian curries using pork, this sounds delicious! Could see from your photos those naan are as crispy as you described...great combo!

I love Indian food too! Homemade naan sounds amazing, it's something I've kept meaning to try.

This is a great post, Adeline! Main dish and even the naan made from scratch....kudos to you. When I see someone post something delicious and putti g some effort in the dish, the next thing in mind is....their family is so lucky!! This is absolutely delicious and aroma in taste.

What an authentic Indian meal! I am usually put off with a long list of spices used in Indian kitchen...thank you so much for sharing this easier version.
Have a lovely week!

I have got to try this delicious looking pork curry! I reckon I could use pork shoulder and frankly I have not used pork in curries before. Really drooling looking at your photo and I am also very interested in the garlic naan LOL!

Hi, I love Indian style curry. You curry and naan bread look so inviting. 2 thumbs up for you, you sure can cook very well. :)

Have a nice week ahead.

Hi! Thanks for linking this to AFF!

wah..another delicious looking dish into your pork ribs repertoire! eh, i now find it a bit easier to differentiate jintan manis and putih..that i got the tip from is always the opposite..jintan putih is always the darker in colour. so putih is the dark one and the lighter one is obviously manis.

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