GANONDORF - Gerudo Spiced Pork and Mulukhiyah Stew
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
Time to complete the Triforce Trio with a recipe inspired by the Great King of Evil, Ganondorf!
Ganondorf is a Gerudo, who are a fictional tribe within the world of Hyrule. Gerudo culture bears many resemblances to real-life cultures of the Middle East: the Spirit Temple and Desert Colossus from Ocarina of Time and the Arbiter's Grounds from Twilight Princess resemble ancient Egyptian architecture, while Gerudo Town from Breath of the Wild is reminiscent of the bazaars of Persia. It made perfect sense to base Ganon's dish on the different cuisines from this part of the world!
My research lead me to mulukhiyah, a type of leaf popularly eaten throughout the Middle East, especially Egypt. Here's a fun historical fact: the consumption of mulukhiyah was actually banned in the Fatimid empire in the Middle East during the reign of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, between 996–1021 CE. The "forbidden" nature of this ingredient - as well as its dark colour and slightly bitter taste - is perfect for the King of Thieves!
I made the curry with pork shoulder as a nod to Ganondorf's more beastly incarnations, which usually resemble a monstrous boar. In the classic Zelda titles, such as A Link to the Past, Ganon was portrayed as a sort of half-man half-pig. In other games, such as Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Breath of the Wild, Ganondorf started out in his human warlock form, only to transform into a hulking, monstrous boar for the final battle. This pork shoulder is rubbed with a mix of spices common in Middle Eastern cuisine, and cooked low-and-slow in the oven until fall-off-the-bone tender, almost like pulled pork. The bold flavours and spices of this dish are appropriate for the bearer of the Triforce of Power!
1 bone-in pork shoulder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried coriander
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp ghee (or regular butter)
1-2 yellow onions, quartered
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 cup Egyptian short-grain rice
2 tsp cardamom pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ghee
Red Onion Topping:
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 lime, zested and squeezed
1 tsp sumac
¼ tsp black pepper
2-3 cups dried mulukhiyah
2 tsp salt
¼ cup peanut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ghee
For pork shoulder:
Remove skin from pork shoulder and trim excess fat. Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small bowl, mix ginger, cumin, coriander, curry powder, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Rub all over the surface of the pork.
Melt ghee in a large dutch oven or roasting tray over medium heat. Add pork shoulder and brown an all sides, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic in with the pork and cook for a few more minutes.
Remove from heat, pour vegetable broth over the pork and add bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Add to the oven, uncovered, for about 1 hour until broth reduces.
After 1 hour, turn over pork shoulder and stir the broth. Cover and return to the oven and cook for at least 3 hours, until pork is falling off the bone.
Remove pork shoulder from broth. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Discard bones, shred the pork with a fork, and set aside until ready to serve.
For spiced rice:
Crush cardamom pods to remove the inner seeds. Discard the husks.
Toast cardamom and coriander seeds in the bottom of a medium pot for a few minutes until fragrant, taking care not to burn.
Add rice and salt into the pot with the spices, cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Once boiling, cover the pot and turn down heat to lowest setting. Let cook for 15-20 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Add ghee and fluff with a fork.
For onion topping:
Add chopped onion and cilantro to a small bowl, mix in salt and sugar. Add the zest and juice of one lime, sumac, and pepper, toss to combine. Place in refrigerator until ready to use to allow flavours to mellow.
Soak dried mulukhiyah leaves, fully submerged in hot water in a large bowl, for 5-10 minutes. Once soaked, strain and squeeze the liquid out of the leaves. Return strained leaves to the large bowl.
Add salt, and squeeze lemon juice over the leaves. Add the lemon rinds in with the leaves and cover again with warm water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, then strain and squeeze out the leaves like before.
Heat peanut oil in a pan and fry onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add spices and cook for about a minute, until fragrant.
Add mulukhiyah to the pan and cook over medium-low for about 10 minutes, until flavours are infused. Remove from heat and stir in ghee until glossy and buttery.
Serve pork and mulukhiyah over rice and top with onion mixture.