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A Meaty Matter

The humble pig and how it came to define a culinary heritage

Pork is the most widely consumed meat worldwide. It has been a significant part of every major world civilisation, with evidence of pig husbandry going back to about 5000 years in China.

Though traditionally pork eating has not been as common or widespread in India, it has gained in popularity in recent years with urban aficionados (a.k.a porkaholics) in many Indian cities forming dedicated groups to celebrate a variety of pork offerings, from Nagaland to Kerala.

The Kodavas of the district of Coorg in Karnataka have been avowed pork eaters for a long time, owing to their martial heritage and the fondness for hunting that came with this legacy. They are known for one of the most renowned pork dishes in India – Pandi curry – that can surely hold its own in any culinary combat of a porcine nature.

So, what makes Pandi curry so special? For one it is a dish that has evolved slowly but resolutely over a period of some 500 years building upon key insights and ingredients along the way. Some say the secret to its uniqueness could be the judicious use of local citric fruit – Kachampulli – the vinegar which is a crucial element in the recipe of the Pandi curry, contributing to its succulence, distinct flavour and irresistible pull for meat lovers. 

Pandi curry is paired with Kadamputtu (steamed rice balls), their traditional accompaniment. This is a truly hard to beat duo that tends to linger in your memory long after the event. It is likely to cause you to seek this splendid combination out time and again or attempt to re-create its likeness in your home kitchen, making for an unforgettable experience either way.

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