Kolkata-born, Mumbai-based home chef Subhasree Basu’s first encounter with pork was at Kalman’s Cold Storage, a 70-year-old charcuterie in New Market. She fell in love with the meat when she tried their signature spicy, Hungarian sausages. "What sets pork apart from other meats is its quality, best described as unctuousness. The meat is tasty on its own, the fat is comforting, and it needs little work to be turned into a tasty dish. Besides, you can’t make a bomb called bacon with any other meat," smiles the 40-year-old self-taught cook, as she gears up to host her first lunch pop-up, The Swining Table, Edition 1 at her Wadala residence, this weekend.
Pork Curry With Bhut Jholokia And Kaffir Lime Leaves, which balance the spicy Naga chillies
The pork-themed menu features a grilled watermelon salad topped with fried bacon bits; toasted pita pockets stuffed with slice pork stir-fried with raw mango and chilli; spare ribs with a rosemary-marmalade-rum glaze; Irish Coddle stew cooked with root veggies and a Swedish Apple Pie for dessert. "Through various discussions on and off social media, I noticed that there is a growing dissatisfaction with pork dishes served at restaurants. I personally find most of the pork I eat outside to be too sweet. Also, many people either don’t cook pork at home by choice or aren’t familiar with cooking the meat. Some prefer to eat home-cooked pork for scare of infection. That’s why, I decided to host the pop-up, especially in this lovely weather," shares Basu. With a maximum capacity for 12 guests, the pop-up has already been sold out.
Pork Adobo features the meat braised with soy and vinegar and spiced with cumin and oregano, cooked using the adobo practice of immersing meats in stock and spices, originating in Latin America and popularised by The Philippines
If you feel you’ve missed out on Basu’s feast, fret not. While she intends to host a second edition later this month, the home chef also offers several pork dishes via a delivery menu under her home-run catering service, Hungry Cat Kitchen.
HCK Special Swedish Apple Pie studded with pecan, walnuts and raisins
The hungry billi
A media professional for over 14 years, Basu quit her job to launch Hungry Cat Kitchen (named after her cat, Meowjit) in Nov-ember last year, to turn her passion for cooking into an enterprise. The brand specialises in slow cooked, comfort food. "Slow cooking rewards you with better taste; it has a homely touch with no frills," she says. Currently, the venture operates under various formats including event pop-ups (she tied up with Perzen Patel a.k.a Bawi Bride for Bawi & Billi pop-ups at various festivals in the city), events for corporate offices, home dining and the delivery service.
Coorg Pandi (pork) Curry infused with roasted spices and Kachampalli (special Coorg vinegar)
Delivered at your doorstep
"The delivery menu features gravies, curries and stews made with pork, mutton and chicken, traversing both regional and international cuisine. There is vegetarian fare and dessert options too," informs Basu. While she offers delivery across Mumbai, you need to place an order at least two days in advance, with a minimum portion of four plates of any item.
With most dishes priced between Rs 325 and Rs 375, the menu (different from the one curated for the pop-up) offers over 20 varieties including Goan Pork Vindaloo, Coorg Pandi Curry (featuring Kachampalli, a special Coorg vinegar), HCK Special Ginger & Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine) Pork influenced by Zomi cuisine of the highland people scattered around Myanmar, Bangladesh and Northeast India along with Peruvian Mutton Gumbo, Hungarian Chicken Goulash, Roasted Vegetable Stew and African Safari (sweet potatoes cooked in a peanut-coconut milk gravy with bell peppers).
To order, Log on to: www.hungrycatkitchen.com
>> There are many ways to cook it. “You can stew, boil, roast or smoke pork. In the Northeast, they just boil the pork in a broth, which is very tasty. On the other hand, East Indians and Goans like their pork with lots of spices. It marries well with aromatic spices like cinnamon, star anise and lemongrass,” explains Basu.
>> Always buy pork from a trusted source (Basu sources it from Dadar).
>> Make sure you cook it at a high temperature for a while. The safe internal temperature for cooking meats is 160 degree Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius).
>> Next, slow cook the pork to extract the best of its flavours.
>> For Indian and South East Asian pork dishes, lightly stir-fried vegetables make good accompaniments along with steamed or sticky rice. Otherwise, the standard mash and boiled vegetables complement the meat.
>> Keep a meat cleaver handy in your kitchen to cut the meat.