Friday, April 2, 2010

Donabe Pork Curry...Deep braising

Since I was going to leave home for the next 2 weeks, I made a big batch of pork curry to leave for Jason. After coming home from work late, he can just reheat it and enjoy (for the next few meals).

Making curry with donabe is simple and easy. You can make it in one day, but I did the entire process over 3 days. The best donabe to make curry would be the soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe" (nothing does better braising than this special donabe!). However, since I was going to make a large batch this time, I used my classic-style donabe, "Hakeme". It's an all-purpose and very versatile donabe. It's not only great for hot pot cooking, it also does wonderful braising in the oven.

Day 1: I got the beautiful block of pork butt. The meat was cut into large cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper. I put it in the fridge for overnight so that the flavor of the meat will get more concentrated.

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Day2: The actual curry making. After sauteing the cumin seeds (in olive oil and butter), I added the onion in the donabe and continued to saute for about 45 minutes until it was caramelized and almost like paste over stove-top. Garlic and ginger, then spices (cayenne, turmeric, curry powder) were added, followed by the pork and kefir.

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Chicken stock and bay leaves were added. I stirred the mixture, lined the surface with the parchment paper.

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The donabe was covered with the lid and transferred to the oven. It was left in the oven at 325F degrees for 2 hours. After 2 hours, the sauce had developed the deeper color. At this point, you could add the remaining ingredients and finish the entire cooking, but instead, I cooled it down, and let it rest in the fridge (in a different container) for over night.

Day 3: I took the container out of the fridge. There was a solid layer of grease on the surface, so I gently removed it and discarded. The remaining was transferred back to the donabe and brought back to the stove top. Russet potatoes (large cuts), carrot, and tomato sauce were added. It was brought to boil, reduced to simmer and continued to cook for about 30 minutes. To finish, garam masala was added to the sauce.

My donabe curry tasted so delightful! The combination of different spices made the sauce taste very complex. Pork was so tender. It was a deep-flavored delicious curry. I hope Jason will enjoy it.

Here's the recipe:

Aromatic Pork Curry

3 pouds pork butt, cut into large cubes
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1.5 tablespoons each olive oil and butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 large onions
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 thumb-size knob of ginger, sliced into short match sticks
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup kefir (or yogurt)
2.5 cups chicken stock
2 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut diagonally
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tablespoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

1. Season the pork with salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
2. In a donabe, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-heat. Saute the cumin seeds until aromatic. Add the onion and continue to saute over medium-low heat for 45 minutes or until the onion is caramelized and almost like paste.
3. Add the garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and curry powder. Continue to saute until aromatic.
4. Add the pork and kefir. Stir.
5. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves. Stir.
6. Line the surface with a pice of parchment paper (make a small hole in the center), cover the donabe with a lid. Transfer the donabe to 325F-degree oven. Braise the meat in the oven for 2 hours.
7. Take the donabe out of the oven. Remove the parchment paper. (At this point, if you want to remove most of the grease, you can cool it down and let it rest in the fridge overnight in a different container. Then, you can remove the fat which becomes a solid layer on the surface.)
8. Put the donabe over medium-low heat. Add the potato, carrot, and tomato sauce. Cook for 30 minutes or until both vegetables are tender.
9. Add the garam masala. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. stir again
10. Enjoy with your donabe rice!