The promise of pandi (pork) curry did me in. Coorg food was new to me when we moved to Bengaluru eight years ago, and though I’d sampled it several times since—once, most memorably, at the home of a major Coorg food champion—the commercially available varieties at Kodava restaurants (one, a hole-in-the-wall, another, a weekends-only operation) left me wanting. So when an online acquaintance pointed me to Coorg Bazaar, a start-up that specializes in sourcing foodstuff from the treasure trove that is Coorg, I knew I had to test it out—and the home-delivery just made it easier.

The good stuff

I am happy to announce that my search for a superior pandi curry is officially at an end. The smaller quantity I ordered the first time around came wrapped in banana leaves, dripping oil; the second party round of 2kg came in plastic containers, also dripping oil, but in both cases, it was impeccable: Rich, dark and fragrant, the pandi curry was fork-tender—at the party, we served it studded with toothpicks—and the gravy cried out for an extra helping of white rice (pandi curry is traditionally served with akki ottis, thin rice-flour rotis, or kadambuttu, steamed rice dumplings, but we didn’t have any at hand). The fat: pork ratio was spot-on, and it was apparent in the mouthfeel and taste: It was unctuous but not greasy, the chilli-heat was fairly restrained and the spices—ginger, garlic, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, coriander (I suspect the whole spices were dry-roasted, as is traditional) and, above all, the kachampuli, the fabulous dark Coorg vinegar—had seeped deep into the meat, rendering every mouthful an explosion of flavours.

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