Washington D.C. is home to a wealth of beloved restaurants, but Rasika stands out for its longevity and popularity. The modern Indian eatery takes classic preparations and modernizes them using local, seasonal produce. The ambiance, service and beverage program have all contributed to Rasika’s long reign as one of the Capitol’s favorites. This smoked rack of pork vindaloo will delight your holiday guests and make a spicy, colorful splash at the table.
This rack of pork — smoky, adobe red, caramelized from the grill, and majestic — makes a sensational presentation at a dinner party.
The base of the vindaloo sauce and the pork marinade is Peri- Peri Paste, named after fiery hot bird’s eye chili peppers known as peri-peris. (I use dried Kashmiri chilies.) This gives the sauce heat and tang. Pearl onions add sweetness to help balance the heat. (Frozen onions work well and save a lot of time and effort, but feel free to use blanched fresh pearl onions.)
Optimally, you should make the vindaloo sauce, which is also great for lamb and chicken dishes, at least a day in advance to mellow and deepen its flavors. You will need 2 cups (a double batch) of peri- peri paste: 5 tablespoons for the wet rub and the rest for the sauce. You can make the peri- peri paste well in advance.
Have the butcher trim the ends of the rack’s bones of all fat and meat to expose them. (This is called “frenching.”)
- 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 5 tablespoons Peri Peri paste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 6-bone rack pork ( 3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed to 1/4-inch of fat on top and frenched
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 cups hickory chips
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
- 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
- 1 cup plus 11 tablespoons Peri Peri paste
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons tamarind pulp
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
Ginger-Garlic Paste (makes 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup chopped unpeeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 cups medium garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup water
For the ginger-garlic paste
In a NutriBullet or small blender, puree all the ingredients on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It also freezes well and will keep for up to 3 months.
For the pork and sauce
In a small bowl, mix together the ginger-garlic paste, peri-peri paste, oil, and salt. In a large bowl, coat the rack of pork on all sides with the mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the loin for at least 12 hours, but preferably 24.
Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Fill a chimney starter with charcoal light it. Let it burn until the flames subside and a light layer of ash covers it, 20 to 25 minutes. Dump the coals in two mounds (or into two half- moon- shaped briquette baskets) on opposite sides of the grill. Place a drip pan filled with the warm water between the coals. Place 1 cup of the wood chips on top of each pile of coals. Put the grate on the grill.
Place the pork loin on the center of the grill, over the drip pan (not over the coals). Use a rubber spatula to scrape out any marinade left in the bowl and slather it over the pork. Close the grill lid and roast/smoke the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, 70 to 80 minutes.
In a heavy- bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium- high heat until it shimmers. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the peri-peri paste, water, tamarind pulp, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the pork to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes. While the pork is resting, finish the sauce. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pearl onions and cook for 5 minutes.
Carve the roast into thick rib chops or remove the loin from the rack so you can carve it into smaller portions (to feed more guests) and serve the ribs along with it—they’re the best part.
Serve the pork with the warm vindaloo sauce, rice, and ladi pao.