I’d like to make it clear that tough I may use the term “Trini” from time to time, it’s no intention to leave out my country folks from Tobago. This recipe is uniquely Trinbagonian, as with many of the recipes I share on this blog. I’m no fan of geera (Cumin) and I’ve only tried this dish once before and it was more out of respect that I did. I didn’t want to offend our host when they had this prepared for us during a recent trip down the islands. However, I’ve found that I do like the way my recipe turned out and it made me change my mind about not liking geera. Seems “yuh boi have sweet hand after all“…
My search for the perfect geera pork recipe saw me hit a number of websites online and the one thing I did see mention was that geera pork is considered a “cutters”. Like how the Spaniards have tapas, a snack enjoyed while sampling “beverages”. This I didn’t really agree on, since I do know that this dish makes its way on many dinner tables on the islands as well. Another thing I noticed in the recipes I found is that there are a few variations of making this. Some people use whole geera seeds (cumin seeds) and toast them a bit then add the seasoned pork. While others add the same roasted ground geera that I used, but at the end. Nigel on facebook commented that to avoid any sort of “bitter” taste, that the geera should be added near the end of cooking. Thanks for the tip Nigel.
Here’s my foolproof way of making geera pork…
3 lbs pork – 3/4 inch cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium tomato diced
1 scotch bonnet pepper (any hot pepper… I used habanero)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon green seasoning
4 leaves shado beni chopped or 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
2 small onions sliced (divided)
4 cloves garlic sliced thin or crushed
2 cups water
2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 heaping tablespoon roasted geera powder (cumin)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (I used a Caribbean style madras curry blend)
* I used a piece of pork from the leg which had a good marble effect with little bits of fat, but with this dish I’m sure that a leaner piece would work if you’re concerned about the fat. However I do like the moist way the end product is without the use of lean meat. In the end it’s your choice.
Start by cutting the pork into small pieces, about 3/4 inch thick. Then pour the lime or lemon juice over it in a bowl and rise off with cool water. Drain well and season as follows: add the tomato, salt, black pepper, curry powder, 1 onion sliced, green seasoning, shado beni or cilantro and hot pepper. Yes, we’re using a whole pepper for this one, but it’s only because this dish is known for being extra hot. But you can adjust to your own tolerance. You’ll also notice that I used a tiny bit of curry powder and other recipes will not have that listed. I love the extra level of flavour this adds to the dish while marinating.
Give it a good stir and allow it to marinate for a couple hrs in the fridge. The next step is to heat the oil on medium/high heat (in a heavy pot if you have one) then add the the next onion (sliced) and the garlic. Allow that to cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the edges start to go brown. Now add the roasted geera powder, but turn down the heat to medium/low so we can cook this for a few minutes without it actually burning. BTW if you’re shopping for a good heavy pot, check out the full options at Cast Iron Pots.
It should become a bit thick and start sticking to the bottom of the pot… that’s normal. The aroma will be intense, but wonderful! Now it’s time to add the seasoned pork to the pot. Add a few pieces at a time and stir as you go along. You want to pick up all the geera paste we created with the pieces of meat, so everything is coated.
Empty the entire contents of the bowl that had the seasoned pork. Now bring it up to a boil, then lower it to a simmer and with the lid on… allow it to cook for about 20 minutes. It will spring up it’s own natural juices.After 20 minutes turn up the heat to high and cook off all that liquid. Takes about 5 minutes. Try to make sure the bottom of the pot is completely dry, then add the 2 cups of water. Bring it up to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer (covered) and allow to cook for another 45 minutes or so (I like it tender). If you find that it’s tender enough for you at this point, turn up the heat and allow all the remaining liquid to burn off.This is usually served without any gravy, but I love me some gravy so I didn’t cook off all the liquid.
The complete meal this day consisted of brown rice, dhal and the geera pork. I was quite surprised how delicious it turned out, knowing that I had little love for geera (cumin) and the best part – I didn’t have heartburn problems after
Show me some love by leaving a comment below, even if it’s just to say hello – it’s appreciated. Don’t forget to join us on face book, by clicking on the image on the upper right side of the page.