Exotic Tropical Pig in a Pot

This dish, currently in the oven, stems from my exposure to Cape Malay cooking in Zambia as a child. This cuisine was imported by the various South Africans working on the smelters and mines. There was always more fruit than vegetables. In the garden we had six banana trees, two guavas, one avocado and half a dozen papaya trees. We would trade the avocados for mangoes. Because of the French overseas territories, we can get tropical fruit here.

Fruit is an underrated “savoury” cooking ingredient.

The idea behind this one pot recipe is chuck it all in a casserole and let it cook on a slow heat for at least 90 mins. It doesn’t matter over much which fruit you use, but you must have a good-sized mango. This is because the juices from the mango tenderise the pork as it cooks.

For two people you will need:

1 good sized mango.

A small papaya.

{Today I am using a small pineapple instead. Pretty much any melon can be substituted for the papaya. Have a play and see what works best for you.}

Any fruit from: nectarines, plums, apricots, peaches, apples, grapes.

Citrus makes this a bit weird so avoid them.

Today I am using a gala apple and six sliced dried apricots. {Sultanas also work well.}

A word of warning this dish helps you keep it regular.

One onion

Two cloves of garlic

A 2 inch piece of fresh root ginger

About 100ml of Thai Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

{Healthy Boy was the one I used in the UK; Blue Dragon is also good}

About 300-400g of Pork Filet Mignon cut into 2.5cm pieces and cleaned of any fat.

200g of coconut cream {You add this to taste, not everyone is a fan of coconut, but it does finish this nicely}

A heavy casserole with lid.

I have a bashed about Le Creuset casserole that has acquired something of a patina. It works a treat.

Method:

Chop the onion into twelve wedges separate the wedges into slices and add to the casserole. Finely dice the garlic, add to the casserole. Peel and chop the ginger into pieces consistent with your liking of getting a “hit” of ginger. The wife likes fair sized lumps. It is up to you. A good ginger hit clears the nasal passages. Add to the casserole. Add the pork and pour on the chilli dipping sauce, stir. The casserole should now be about half full. You are aiming for a 50:50 mix.

Peel the mango. I try to do this in one peel as something of a Zen and the Art of Peeling Mangoes theme. Try not to drop the slippery blighter on the floor. Cut into thumb sized chunks. Add to the pot.

Prepare chunks of pineapple / papaya / melon add these to the pot.

Chop the apple into chunks, skin on, add to pot.

Add the sliced dried apricots.

Fill the casserole up to near the top with freshly boiled water. Don’t overdo it or the casserole will boil over and muck up your brand-new oven!

Set the oven to 180 Celsius chuck in the casserole, lid on, and bring it to the boil, about 15-20 mins. Turn the heat down to 150 and cook so that the total time in the oven is greater than 90mins.

Every half an hour or so, get the casserole out and give it a stir. The emanations may make you start to salivate, which is a good thing. Can you hear that rumble?

When it is getting near time cook some Basmati rice. If you look carefully you can buy 5kg bags of this which are way, way cheaper than the buy per half kilo method.

Just after you have put the rice on, take the pot out. Add half the coconut crème, stir and taste.

If you are feeling all Kid Creole and the Coconuts (I’m a wonderful thing baby) add the rest. If not, no worries.

Make a nice mound of rice in a ring like a volcano and using a ladle add the Exotic Tropical Pig in a Pot, make sure there is enough juice.

You are good to go.

A word of warning the mango chunks will be hot in temperature so watch out. The pork should be juicy and soft and tender.

Enjoy 😊