Sorpotel (also spelled sarapatel) is originally a portuguese dish. Today however, it is most usually associated with the Goan region of India, and north-east Brazil. The recipe below is definitely Goan!
Sorpotel involves the use of vinegar and spices as preservatives, and traditionally used every part of the pig - I'm cooking a more civilised version! The dish needs to be prepared at least two days in advance of eating!
500 g pork - shoulder or belly ideally with skin and fat intact
250 g pig's liver - in one piece!
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
12 black peppercorns
6 green cardamon pods
250 ml vinegar (coconut vinegar ideally* see below)
4 cloves garlic
2 chopped white onions
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of feni or brandy
Let's begin by taking two pans of water and bring the pork and the liver to the boil (in separate pans of course!). There should just be sufficient water to cover the meats. Cook just below the boil for 15 minutes, remove the meats but keep the liquids for later.
When sufficiently cool to touch cut the meat and the liver into 1.5-2cm cubes. Now in a dry pan, fry the meats, stirring continuously until browned. There should be sufficient lard coming out of the pork to cook the meats. When nicely browned remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
Place the tumeric powder, cinnamon, pepper, cloves and cardamoms in a grinder, grind and blend before adding just enough vinegar to form a thickish paste. Coconut vinegar is ideal (usually found in Filipino shops) but if not available, dilute cider vinegar with 1 part water to 4 cider instead.
Now return to the pan in which the meats were fried. Using the lard that remains in the pan fry the garlic and onions until well browned. Now add the tomatoes and continue frying until very soft and pulpy. Add the spice paste and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes - believe me the fragrances will be amazing!
After 5 minutes of cooking add the waters from earlier (no more than 800 ml of the combined liquids) and add the browned cubes of pork and liver. Simmer very slowly, on the lowest heat for 15 minutes before adding the sugar and the feni or brandy. Feni, if you can obtain it is a liquor made from cashews and adds a delicious nutty depth of flavour to the dish, but brandy will do a good job also. Add the remaining vinegar (up to 250 ml).
Now on the lowest possible heat allow the dish to simmer away gently until tender - a minimum of two hours. The gravy in the dish will slowly thicken to a curry-like consistency.
Now the Goans really believe that this is a dish that once cooked should really be covered and left alone for at least a couple of days, possibly three or four to allow the flavours to blend and penetrate the meat. I have to agree ! Remember the spices and vinegar act as a preservative so as long as the dish is covered, and well heated before eating, it's perfectly safe.
This is fabulous served with plain basmati rice, or goan style pita bread (called Poee) . The Goan cooking is heavily influenced by the Portuguese so baking is a big part of their food culture.
This is a fantastic rich, beautifully flavoured dish - one to be savoured not rushed!