Cooking With Confidence
vindaloo_feature
Economical, Main Dishes, Pork, Spicy

I Make a Kitchen Bomb + Pork Vindaloo

by Nick

A few weeks ago I got an email from the lovely people over at America’s Test Kitchen. They told me about a new book they are launching that’s centered around pressure cookers. My first thought was to delete the email immediately and never think of it again. For some reason the pressure cooker is one kitchen device I’ve never used and, frankly, have always been a bit scared to use.

After all, I’ve watched enough Mythbusters to know what happens when you use pressure devices incorrectly. They can go BOOM. Big BOOM.

But after some back and forth they convinced me to give it a whirl. In fact, they even offered to send me a pressure cooker. They were okay with the fact that I’ve never used one before and the whole point was to get people more comfortable with the device.

After unwrapping what I was sure would be the last kitchen device I ever used, I took a deep breath, read the instructions very thoroughly, and proceeded to make a delicious pork dish in about an hour that would’ve normally taken me four hours.

Yield
Serves 6.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Pork Vindaloo

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped fine
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or basil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Slice off any large pieces of fat from your pork and cut it into about 1-inch cubes. Pat the cubes dry and season them well with salt and pepper.

2) Add one tablespoon oil to a large (6 or 8 quart) pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Remove pork from pan when it's nicely browned.

3) Heat other tablespoon of oil in the pan (you may not need this tablespoon if there is lots of fat from the pork in the pan). Add onions and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onions soften, then add minced garlic and spices.

4) Cook for 30 seconds until spices are fragrant, then stir in flour and cook for a minute.

5) Whisk in broth, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and browned pork plus any juices that accumulated with the pork.

6) Stir everything together, lock the pressure cooker lid and place over medium-high heat. When pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain high pressure.

7) After 30 minutes, remove from heat and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. When pressure allows, remove lid and let steam escape away from you.

8) Bring vindaloo to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro or basil and serve immediately over rice.

Recipe adapted from Pressure Cooker Perfection.

The Cooker

The most important thing to know about pressure cookers is that they have come a long way. These days, they are very sturdy and come with all sorts of safety valves and releases. I’m not even sure it’s possible to have one explode with all the safety devices built in.

Plus most modern ones are built like a crock pot and a tank had a baby.

The one that the Test Kitchen team recommended is the one they sent me and the one I would recommend also because I know very little about them. This one was really easy to use though and I feel very comfortable recommending it to other people.

cooker

The beast.

The science behind the pressure cooker is pretty straightforward. Water typically boils at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit so if you bring something like this pork sauce to a boil, that’s the highest temperature you can achieve. But, if you put the contents under pressure, then you can raise that temperature up to around 250 degrees which cuts a standard 3-4 hour cook time down to about 45 minutes.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Pork Vindaloo

This recipe was really easy with the help of the pressure cooker. What would normally be a meal that I would need to save for a weekend, I made on a Tuesday.

It starts with about three pounds of boneless pork shoulder. Trim off any huge pieces of fat from the pork and then dice it into about 1-inch pieces. Season the pork really well with salt and pepper.

chopped

Try to cut off some of the fat…

Before you start cooking, I also recommend getting all your other ingredients ready which means chopping a bunch of onions and garlic and also measuring out the spices.

If I would change one thing about this recipe, I think I would make it spicier. I like my Indian food to be very spicy and this recipe was pretty mild in the spice department. It had great flavor but wasn’t spicy really.

If you like spicy food, I would recommending adding more cayenne pepper or some dried arbol or bird chiles to the cooking liquid.

spice

Lots of mustard.

When you’re ready to start cooking, add a small amount of oil to the pressure cooker and brown the pork pieces over medium-high heat. You’ll want to do this in two batches so the pork pieces can brown nicely and each batch should brown for about eight minutes.

Then scoop out the pork pieces and set them aside for a few minutes.

browned

Still pretty raw.

If your pan is dry, add a bit more oil to it and then add all the onions. I didn’t need any extra oil for my version because the pork had some fat on it that melted out as it browned.

Cook the onions for about five minutes until they start to soften. Then add the garlic and all the spices and cook for another minute or so.

onions

Onions and spices.

Then add the flour to the pot and stir it into the onions. Cook for about a minute to cook out some of the flour taste.

Then whisk in the stock (you could also just use water I think). Use the liquid to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan and then stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and pork.

Your pot should look something like this when it’s ready to be pressurized.

ready

Ready for some pressure.

30 Long Minutes

Before you cook with your pressure cooker, be sure to spend some time reading the directions. All of them are a bit different, but most should have a low pressure and high pressure setting. We want the high pressure for this dish.

I locked on my lid, put it over a medium-high heat, and watched.

After about 7-8 minutes, the little pressure knob popped up which meant that my pot was at high pressure. Then I just needed to turn down the heat to a low temperature and keep it at high pressure for thirty minutes.

I’ll be honest, this was a bit stressful. I watched the pot constantly for 30 minutes. The truth is that there was very little danger in this. If too much pressure would’ve built up, the gasket on the cooker would’ve released the pressure. There was probably a higher chance of an actual bomb hitting my house than this becoming a bomb.

I watched it continuously nonetheless.

bomb

That yellow button means armed.

After thirty minutes, kill the heat and let the pressure slowly normalize. This takes about 15-20 minutes and most pressure cookers won’t let you take off the lid until the pressure is back to normal.

Honestly, removing the lid is probably the most dangerous part. Even when the pressure is normalized, a lot of steam will come out when you take the lid off and it could burn you if you aren’t ready for it. I recommending take it off slowly and removing the lid away from you so the steam doesn’t come back in your face.

The sauce looked more or less the same, but the pork was a completely different beast. It had become SO tender and delicious.

cooked

Skeptical.

I simmered my sauce just for a few minutes to thicken it a bit and then stirred in some fresh herbs and seasoned it with a pinch of salt and pepper. The original recipe called for cilantro, but I used some basil I had. Either would work I think.

Serve the delicious stuff over rice!

done

Good stuff!

Now, for those that don’t have a pressure cooker, you could still make this recipe. Once you have the mixture together, just transfer it to a large dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot and cook it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 3 hours. You should get similar results but it’s just going to take much longer.

After all that I think I’m a pressure cooker convert.

Has anyone used a pressure cooker before? Leave a comment!

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41 comments on “I Make a Kitchen Bomb + Pork Vindaloo

  1. Good recipe. I will try this just now. We use pressure cooker all the time, and as you have said, there is little danger in it – unless somehow the valves get stuck. I do not use a PC for is any kind of Lentil (including all kinds of beans). The high protein content in the vegetable makes it froth and clog the pressure valves. This, indeed, does create dangerous situations.
    Also, as the pressure comes down to that of the atmosphere, releasing/opening the valve completely is recommended to avoid any chance of scalding by the residual steam.

  2. I have an electric one pressure cooker I use for beans, a must at this altitude in Albuquerque. Beans are done in 25 minutes. I do navy beans, pinto, great northern and red beans.

  3. Hi Nick,
    Since you live at a higher altitude pressure cooking times may be a little longer. Water boils here in the valley at about 202-203 degrees due to less atmospheric pressure. (It will be down to about 200 degrees when you move to the Denver area) So the pressurized temp is also lower than 250 degrees and you need about 5%-10% more time. No big deal just a couple of minutes and it is not always necessary as many recipes come out just fine.
    You should try making bread in the pressure cooker….so I wont have to first. ; ). Couple of sites to try are missvickie.com and Hip pressure cooking.
    Dried beans are great in a pressure cooker as are most grains.

  4. Such a nice gift from Americas Test Kitchen, pretty spiffy!! I have a brand new pressure cooker that has to be 15 years old. In other words, I got a new pressure cooker 15 years ago (promptly lost the instructions) so I was too afraid to use it. Your post gives me hope, maybe I’ll give it a try. Looks delicious.

  5. I had one grandmother who used a pressure cooker regularly. Dinner was fast. And good. And ready when it was falling off the ceiling :) I’m not sure how much time it actually saved her, but she definitely had the cleanest ceiling in the neighborhood! LOL I kinda figured one mad scientist in the family was enough, but if pressure cookers truly are vastly improved, I’ll give it a whirl! A cross between a crock pot and tank sounds pretty safe…:) Thanks for the review and inspiration.

  6. My mom used her pressure cooker often, so I have never had any qualms cooking wth one. After 25 years, I replaced my original just recently. I love that I can make a pot roast (try it!) on a weeknight! I also own a pressure canner, which is essential if you like to make and keep home made stews, and spaghetti sauce with meats. Enjoy your new appliance! It’s a great timesaver!

  7. Pressure cookers have always terrified me. My mother has used one for as long as I can remember (old fashioned with the rocking doohickey on the top) so maybe it was her warnings of possible explosions that did it. LOL I’m going to have to “woman up” and try one. So far none of the Test Kitchen products I’ve tried have disappointed and this recipe sounds excellent. Thanks from Delta County!

  8. You have just convinced me to try my pressure cooker that has been sitting here for a while! This looks AMAZING!

  9. When I lived in England in the early 90’s our rental came equipped with a pressure cooker. It looked pretty old, but I used it often & it worked perfectly. Though I used it for more than 1 1/2yrs then, I have never thought to buy one for myself now.

  10. Hi Nick! As a child of Indian immigrant parents, I don’t even know what life without a pressure cooker is like! It is a must-have, and is fantastic for a lot of the dishes I’ve seen you prepare. I love making daal (lentils) in it, but it’s great for pretty much everything. It is one of those appliances everyone in the world uses but is not so popular in the states.

  11. I think pressure cookers may have been more popular back in the day. I was given one for a wedding shower and … 33 years later am still an extremely vocal fan of them! It’s funny you used a pork recipe ’cause that’s the meat that comes out the best in one. All the tenderness and still moist. But beans are super quick, stews are so flavorful, and corned beef is fabulous.

    I’ve NEVER EVER had an incident of any sort with mine (Presto brand), and I still use the rocker-top model. Don’t be scared, people — you would really have to make a series of wrong moves to blow anything up ; ) (You’ll need to take into account your own household’s behavior, of course!)

  12. I love my pressure cooker. It is one of the counter top/electric models. I do remember one incident as a teen when my mom must have filled the pot too full of liquid with her black eyed peas. We cleaned them off the ceiling for days. The pressure release (rocking doo hickey) stuck in the ceiling, it hit so hard!!

    Otherwise, no real stories about blowing things up. My Mimaw also used hers at least 2 times a week for just about anything…

  13. Living as I am in Lithuania, I have this old Russian-made pressure cooker, which is easily thirty or forty years old. Anyways, even that one has one primary pressure release valve and a secondary in case the first one would clog, though sometimes the lid of the pot doesn’t close, so you have to thump it so that it pounces back and the rubber insulation fits correctly. Also, there is no sort of pressure indicator or anything, you have to learn if it’s pressurized by listening to the pitch of the steam coming out of the primary valve.

    Given all that, I am still absolutely comfortable with using it and always use it to cook beans, lentils, chickpeas, what have you. It’s also great for cooking beets, because they take hours and hours to cook. I’m absolutely sure you’ll find yourself using it more and more, and do not worry about it exploding – driving your car to work is WAY more dangerous than using a pressure cooker.

  14. I have recently become a pressure cooking convert as well. My mother always used one when I was growing up, but like you, I was terrified I’d blow up my house. However, a few weeks and many dishes later, my house stands intact. For newbies, do read your directions, as they all seem to be slightly different from one another. Most will come with a little booklet telling you the different times for different cuts and types of meat, beans, veggies, etc. Mine also tells me whether to speed cool it in water or just wait for it to de-pressurize on its own (slow cool). I have found that it works great for a lot of crock pot recipes. I tend to work more like 10-12 hours a day, so crock potting seems like a bad idea. With pressure cooker, you can do many of the recipes that would take several hours in 30 min or so. I recently made some excellent ropa vieja for burritos. Try it out! It will change your life!

  15. Nick, I wouldn’t be able to live a sane life if it weren’t for my pressure cooker! I often toss soup ingredients in and let it go for a short while and get on with the dishes or taking care of the kids. It so hassle free once you get over the anxiety that you have around it! I probably use mine about 3 or 4 days a week. I have an older jiggle top though, which works just fine, but I must admit I was green with envy when I read you got your nice one for free! These pressure cookers are not cheap!

  16. I’m so excited you’ve gotten a pressure cooker!!! Josh will be excited to read this. We’ve done some really awesome chicken & pork dishes. YUM. :)

  17. I’m a recent pressure cooker convert from what I read in the (awesome) book modernist cuisine at home. They describe a method of putting in a little baking soda to raise the pH of what you are cooking to induce the mallard reaction (high temperatures that cause food to brown and create new flavor compounds). Just some baking soda, carrots, stock and 30 minutes made me the best roasted carrot soup I’ve ever had. They describe the method on seattlefoodgeek.com if you are interested.

  18. I can totally relate to your feelings, I’m kinda worried by them too but I worry about food processors and leaving the dryer on when I’m out of the house (weird) Vindaloo is a fav of mine but sadly everyone else in the house are spice woosies so I only ever get it take out when the wife is out of town :)

  19. I have THREE pressure cookers! (though only two lids). I don’t know how I would survive without them. Mashed potatoes in under 20 minutes, including peeling time. Chicken Soup in less than an hour, starting with a whole bird. Lentil soup in 20 minutes…. and the list goes on! I’ve cooked meals where everything except the salad was prepared in my pressure cookers. When I recently remodeled my kitchen, I rejected having an induction cooktop simply because my pressure cookers wouldn’t have worked on it. Btw, my mother also used her pressure cookers a lot, and I remember exactly one incident in 50 years of stuff actually ending up on the ceiling!

  20. I have an old jiggle valve pressure cooker, and I am so Grateful to my lovely Mother for giving it to me, and teaching me to use it. She had an identical one at her house, and I have the most wonderful memories of a lifetime of delicious homemade pressure cooked meals and soups. I use mine three times a week or so, most often by putting chicken pieces, celery, carrots, parsley and water. My Mom used it for many, many recipes. I remember one time it did blow up (in fifty years!), because the release valve clogged for some reason. Once, in my many years of using the pot she gifted me with before she died, the gasket gave out, and some hot liquid shot out the side. I think it is a good thing to Watch the Pot, and no harm came to me or my dog, who was laying under the kitchen table, and dangerously close to being sprayed with hot chicken water, but I was able to pull the pot off the stove, and no harm was done. I have used it thousands of other times, with no incident, and the gasket was cheap and easy to replace. I have a Presto brand.

  21. Nick,
    We made this tonight for dinner and it was amazing! We take part in a full diet CSA and had a couple of different pork cuts to use up. It was very yummy. We also added chard and carrots cause I was craving veggies. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper. I hope to see more pressure cooker recipes in the future!

  22. I’ve been waiting for what seems like AGES for ATK to come out with a pressure cooker book – I’ve been using my old Sitram for years and couldn’t live without it. Beans cooked in a couple of minutes – now I scoff at canned beans! And pot roast on a week night is a beautiful thing.

    Definitely check out Hip Pressure Cooking – Laura’s got tons of great recipes and instructions. The recipe for carnitas on her site is one of our hands-down favorites.

  23. Hi Nick,

    I lived in Mexico for 6 years and learned all about Mexican cooking, but I was always scared of the pressure cooker. I bought one when I moved back to the states, but I was too afraid to use it. Then, a month ago, a friend from Mexico came to visit and said that he wanted to prepare a typical Mexican meal for me and my friends and he wanted to use my pressure cooker! I had never seen him cook anything in his life!! (haha) So when he was able to produce delicious Mexican food with MY pressure cooker, I decided that I had to face my fears and start using it myself! I’m so glad that you posted this recipe! It has encouraged me in my path toward not being afraid of the pressure cooker!

  24. your ‘big BOOM’ reminded me of the 5th element when leeloo falls thru the cab..”biiiig bada BOOOM’!

    love your site. much inspiration for when i want to be a fancy chef! thank you!

  25. I’ve been using a pressure cooker for years and would not know what to do without it. I mean, if I had to choose some kind of cookware during an apocalypse, the pressure cooker would have to be the item I,d choose over lots . Most things are DPtable and less liquid is necessary. As someone else mentioned, cooking beans is quick, although I still believe in soaking them overnight or whatever method…I actually like to cover the beans with water, cover in the microwave for 12 minutes and then let the beans sit for another 15 minutes in the hot liquid. Drain and add fresh water about an inch above the beans and cook for 6 to 10 minutes. There, you’ve got cooked beans ( mirepoix can be added to the beans, while cooking, but no salt, please! The salt wil toughen the skin of the beans while cooking in the pressure cooker.
    Everything else, browning the meat first, addingd the liquids, veggie, done in 6 minutes or less, unless the meat is tough like the pork shoulder or oxtail a, short ribs, pot roast, pulled porketc, which prolly require 25 minutes and letting the pressure release of its own accord.
    Quick, fast dinner in under 1 hour!

  26. I made this the other night – fantastic. I used a lot more cayenne – we love everything spicy. It was even better the next night, as leftovers.

    We usually use the pressure cooker for beans – but will try other things now.

  27. I started chuckling at the BOOM foreboding. I have been pressure cooking for several years, and just love it. I cannot wait for ATK to launch their new cookbook. I’ve never heard of this dish, but I’m pinning it. It looks like it’s loaded with flavor. Welcome to their world of pressure cooking!

  28. Pulled out the pressure cooker last night which I haven’t used in quite a long time and cooked this dish. I added some vindaloo seasoning (Penzeys) since my husband likes it spicy. It turned out great, will definitely be cooking this again. Thanks for the recipe.

  29. BOOM!

    Alexis has been wanting to try pressure cooking because her “Nanny” used to make a lot with them. Maybe it’s time for us to get one and take the plunge, heck, you didn’t blow yourself up – yet :)

  30. Making this dish tonight! So far it smells delicious. Will be done in 30 mins or so! Will report back!

  31. Yea. I saw that in the instructions also. Thanks for the reminder though!

    Bread? That sounds weird… do you have a link to a recipe or something? :)

  32. We ended up taking a furnished rental (which included kitchen supplies) even though we were moving our furniture from Canada, since “unfurnished” did not include the major appliances!

  33. Awesome Liz. I thought it was actually easier than some other kitchen appliances I have… it’s just kind of scary the first time you lock that lid.

    Good luck!

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