The new Pandi curry at The Permit Room is very simply mamma’s recipe for the traditional Kodava pork (pandi) curry. When we say mamma, we mean a rather special little recipe passed on to our Chef Kavan, from his mamma, who in turn got the recipe from her mamma.
The origins of this dish are probably as old as the community itself, initially made of wild boar that was hunted, rather than the pork version that is the better known version now.
Every Kodava household has their own version of the pork curry. The variations are small ones, based more on preference that any deliberate attempt to change the dish.
Some houses like to throw in a little more of the chilli, while other houses focus more on the rest of the spices. Then there are the ones who like it with a little more gravy, and others who like it as a dry dish.
Our Chef Says: “In our house, the variation is in the form of a five spice mixture. And within that also, there is a variation in the way my mother and grandmother prepare it. My grandma grinds the spices per batch of the curry that she makes, but my mother prefers to grind a portion that will last her for at least a few batches of the curry.”
One of the reasons this is such a staple dish in Kodava households might also have something do with the fact that it is regularly served during their festivals.
In Coorg, there is a special little chilly called the parangi malu, which while tiny in size, packs a real punch. The flavour profile is completely different, and this makes it an especially popular dish during festivals.
So it’s a little different when you eat it in Coorg, and a little different when you eat it anywhere outside. But that’s a given.
The South-Indian menu at The Permit Room seemed incomplete without a version of this dish, especially given the cultural roots of our Chef. We’ve modified the recipe to suit a restaurant setting, but stayed true to the classic style, serving it with some very best Akki rotis.
Chef Kavan knew he had to have it on the menu once he’d tasted his mother’s version of it.
“For the longest time, we didn’t make this at home. Until one day my father and I decided we wanted to have a good pork curry at home. And once I tasted my mom’s version of it, it automatically became my favourite, go-to dish. Comfort food, this.”