Sorpotel is a traditional goan dish made of pork, live cooked in spices, coconut feni, vinegar and green chillies. The taste of the dish improves from day to day. It is a dish that is typically served during special occasions such as Christmas and weddings. Sorpotel is a classic Goan delicacy which has a Portuguese influence and is often served with rice or sannas during festival days. It’s a colorful spicy red gravy dish that is nicely blended with various ethnic goan spices. This dish could also be served with either bread or naan. Normally the Sorpotel tastes excellent after a day or two when the spices really penetrate into the meat well. Sannas looks similar to our south India Idlis but are made differently in Goa. The batter is fermented with Toddy which gives a tangy taste. You could also use yeast for fermentation instead of toddy.
Goan cuisine is influenced by Portuguese especially among the Christian community and are very fond of pork, beef dishes and Konkan style menu among Hindus. Fish and coconut are few of the staples along with Feni, Toddy and Goan Vinegar which are used in much diversified cuisine of Goa. Pork vindaloo, coconut fish fry, Bebinca are few of their popular and exceptional dishes prepared during festivals and feast. Sorpotel is truly a spicy pork dish which rightfully has its own fan base and most of the time is the centre of attraction during any Goan celebration.
It is said to have originated by the Portuguese and Goa carries on the tradition. The traditional Portuguese style of this dish requires the use of the pork along with the liver, heart and the kidney of the pig and cooked in a very spicy sauce. The taste improves from day to day. Each family has their unique traditional style of preparation and flaunts its version as the must-have Christmas dish. Usually the recipe is guarded amongst families like state secrets carried forward to their offsprings. They are also selective about the utensil in which they cook the sorpotel as that also makes a difference in taste. The word Sorpotel is derived from the konkani word Soro which means Alcohol/Liquor.
The flavorings and spices used in Sorpotel differ from region to region, for example, some use more vinegar and the size of the pieces also varies, as does cooking technique. Some sauté the meat before cooking it in the sauce and others others add the diced parboiled meat directly to the sauce. Normally in Goa, Sorpotel is served with Sanna, a spongy white, slightly sweet steamed rice and coconut bread. It can also be served with bread, rice or bun.
Sorpotel includes regular ingredients like pork, liver, spices and in some versions pork blood, roasted blends of spices – recipes of which are guarded amongst families like state secrets. Use of different utensils is also said to vary taste – so it is common to have cooks dedicate an earthen pot or a copper one to the preparation of sorpotel.
To prepare this special goan/ Portuguese delicacy firstly wash and cut the pieces into cubes as the size you desire. In a pan boil water and add the cut pork and liver pieces. Cover and parboil the meat pieces. Once done, remove and keep aside.
Chop green chillies and ginger and keep aside. Put all the other spices in the blender or grinder and grind to a fine paste. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan and fry the onions it lightly browned. To it add the fresh spices and fry well and then add the ground spices and sauté thoroughly.
Add the boiled pork and liver pieces and sauté well. Add in some vinegar, tamarind juice, salt, sugar and garam masala and add little water if required. 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. Remove once the sauce become thick and releases oil on the top. Set aside for couple of days before serving as this enhances the flavor and taste of the dish.
The Goans really believe in keeping the cooked dish aside for atleast a couple of days, atleast about 3 to 4 days to allow the flavors to blend and penetrate into the meat. It’s said that the spices and vinegar act as preservative so as long as the dish is covered and well heated before eating, it’s perfectly safe and excellent. One of the most fabulous delicacies served with basmati rice, goan style pita bread or sannas. Truly a fantastic rich flavored dish which makes your taste buds craves for more.
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