Pork Balchao

This dish is traditionally found in the Goan area of India and uses Vinegar to give it quite a distinctive taste.I personally use cider vinegar as I think it enhances the Pork however when the dish was bought over by the Catholic Portuguese they used Coconut Vinegar in their homes. The Hindus used a Cane Vinegar in theirs and today many people use Malt Vinegar. There are so many different types of Vinegar available now this allows you to experiment but do try the Cider Vinegar first as I do believe its just right for this dish.


Pork Tenderloin  : Cut across the Tenderloin to make it into circular slices as this will allow less cooking time if needed. You can alway just cut it into chunks depending on your preference. In some stores you can buy Pork tenderloin marinated in herbs which also adds a new dimension . If you can’t find this you  could always marinate it yourself using fresh coriander ,salt ,pepper,ground cumin and mixed herbs rubbed into the meat and refrigerated for a few hours.

  • 4 Tablespoons or 6 Deserts Spoons of Virgin Olive Oil.( Vegetable Oil can also be used )
  • 1 Tablespoon or thumb size of grated fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon or 6 Cloves of Garlic crushed
  • 1 Piece of Cinnamon Stick or Bark broken up ready to grind
  • 2 + Dried Red Chillies (I usually use 4 but it depends on your palate )
  • 5 Whole Cloves
  • 2 Level Teaspoons  or large pinches of Cumin Seeds
  • 12 Peppercorns
  • 1 Slightly Heaped Teaspoon of Turmeric
  • 1 Cup of warm water…(I sometimes use more if the sauce evaporates )
  • A good dollop of Tomato Puree or 1 and a half  Heaped Tablespoons
  • 1 Level Teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 Large Onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Level Teaspoon full of Sugar
  • I Level Teaspoon full of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons or 3 and a bit Desert Spoons of Cider Vinegar or Malt Vinegar

Cooking Method :-

Firstly measure all of the ingredients out. I find placing these in small dishes, egg cups or even shot glasses makes the preparation easier. .These are what I use :-

Using a Pestle and Mortar or in my case an electric coffee grinder which I use specifically for my spices, grind the Cinnamon ,Dried Chillies,Peppercorns ,Cumin Seeds and Cloves until you have a powder like substance.Should take 20 -30 seconds in the electric grinder. Do make sure all of the cinnamon had ground down as you don’t want to have any teeth broken when eating !

Using a large non stick Wok or your favourite large pan ,pour in a couple of the spoons of Oil on a medium heat and then add the Garlic and Ginger for about 30 seconds (you will see the colour turn. Now watch this carefully as you don’t want to get a bitter taste from the dish which you will if you burn the ginger. 

As soon as this starts to cook add your spices that you have ground to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds this will all stick together but don’t panic.

Now add the Pork and also the Turmeric and a small drop of water just enough to get the spices to cover the pork enough while the juices are released. Keep stirring the pork around the pan so that the spices cover it as much as possible.

Add the tomato puree ,rest of the water and chilli powder then bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover for about 20 minutes.

Grab a small frying pan and pop the other couple of table spoons of oil into the pan and get this to a medium heat about 6 /7 on electric hobs or use your own judgement on gas. We don’t want it too high or the onions will burn.Once its fairly hot add the onion into the pan. Cook these until they are nice and brown in colour should take about 15 minutes then add them to the Pork along with the Salt,Sugar and the important bit VINEGAR. Give it all a good stir then cover it and simmer for about another 25 minutes.

Make sure that you don’t let the sauce totally evaporate as your Pork will start to burn. Yet on the other hand don’t add too much water as you will need to leave it longer to thicken it ….unless of course you use a thickening agent like cornflour .(I wouldn’t risk it personally as this could change the texture and taste of the dish.

So the only thing left to do is get everything ready to serve it and make some side dishes such as Rice or Roti or even an Aloo dish all of which you will find on here later.

I hope you ,your friends and Family enjoy this dish just be warned it can have a good KICK !