Monday, 16 January 2012

Breaded, Exotically-Spiced Pork Chops with Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)

Breaded pork is normally associated with German cuisine. However, adding Indian-influenced spices to the pork chops' breadcrumb coating and serving them with chickpea curry (chana masala), you will have an explosion of tastes and textures that your friends will presume came straight out of a top-notch Asian fusion restaurant menu.

Look for large pork chops with pinkish 'eye' meat and a slightly darker-surrounding layer of flesh nearer the fat layer and you'll have a contrast of flavour and textures with every chop. For the chana masala, canned chickpeas are not only perfectly acceptable, but are also preferable to the dried variety - which will need pre-soaking.

Pork chops are delicious and offer excellent value for money, which means that this dish, including the chickpea curry, comes in at £2.50 per serving.

NB. Matzo meal is preferable to breadcrumbs, and can be bought from kosher grocers, or in most large supermarkets. Garam masala is a dried spice blend and can be found in the dried herbs and spices section of all Asian grocers and almost all large supermarkets.

Serves 4

Spiced Pork Chops


4 large pork chops or loin steaks
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons of medium matzo meal or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of chili powder
Pinches of salt and pepper
Sunflower or vegetable oil for shallow frying

Preheat oven to 150c. Add half of the garam masala, chili powder and salt and pepper to the flour and half to the matzo meal. Take 3 plates and place the flour, eggs and matzo meal onto a plate each. Coat the pork chops, one-by-one in the flour, until completely covered, and then coat with the beaten egg. Then, lay a chop onto the breadcrumbs and ensure that you have completely covered it by sprinkling some breadcrumbs on top and then turning it over and repeating once or twice more. Finally, shallow fry two chops at at time on a moderate heat, in the oil, until crisp all over and cooked within (approx 8 minutes, turning once). The oil should come up to half the thickness of the chops. Transfer to an oven dish, in one layer only, to keep warm in the pre-heated oven, until you have finshed cooking all four chops. Serve with the chickpea curry.


Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)


1 onion, cut into thin half moons
Thumb of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon each of chili powder, turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander
400g can of chickpeas with water, and refill the can with extra water
400g can of chopped plum tomatoes
Pinches of salt and pepper
Fresh coriander, finely chopped, for sprinkling

Add the onion, ginger, garlic and spices to the oil in a pan or wok, and gently fry on a moderate heat until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, extra water and salt and pepper and cook on a low to moderate heat until the curry is thick and unctuous (1 hour approx). Sprinkle with the fresh coriander just before serving.

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