Many years ago, we walked into a restaurant in Goa: the waiter looked at my partner, Roy, and exclaimed “It’s Freddie Mercury”.
Now whilst he did have slicked back hair and a moustache, there was some resemblance, but Freddie had been dead for five years.
However Freddie was still a popular hero, having spent most of his formative years at boarding school in India.
It was in this restaurant I became aware that a real vindaloo was not the hottest of hot curries, misguidedly eaten late at night after 10 pints of lager.
I learned that it was derived from the Portuguese dish ‘care de vinha d’alhos’, a dish of pork, wine and garlic although it was later modified with the substitution of vinegar and the addition of red Kashmiri chillies.
When my October edition of Olive magazine arrived with a delicious looking pork vindaloo on the cover, it seemed ideal for a Saturday night dinner and a great way to start National Curry Week, which runs from 13 to 19 October.
On Friday Roy discovered that phrase in a recipe that can easily catch you out ‘chill for two hours or overnight for best flavour’.
So he had to hot foot it down to the butchers for a kilo of pork shoulder. I was pleased I was at work as he then had to dig out a range of spices to roast in a small pan.
I hate this part of a recipe and always wonder whether it will make a difference, but Roy assured me the smell in the kitchen was aromatic (as was his shirt).
The roasted spices were then ground in a small grinder before being transferred into a blender with ginger, garlic and vinegar. The meat then had to be diced before being placed in the marinade. You can imagine the washing up!
I volunteered to take charge the next day, when fortunately all I had to do was brown the drained pork chunks, fry the onions, cover with the marinade and a couple more ingredients before leaving to simmer for two hours.
The result: a curry that was spicy and fragrant but not hot. It was lighter and fresher than the British version and had less than 350 calories. We garnished with coriander and red onion and served with rice, onion raita and garlic naan.
Our bread was bought from the Fresh Nan Bakery in Walthamstow’s High Street where three garlic naan, made freshly in front of you, cost £1.
The full recipe can be found at: