This recipe involves a slight departure from the “stuff you can find in any kitchen” thing I usually try and stick to. The main ingredient in the spice rub is a chana masala spice mix that usually goes on chickpeas for an Indian dish called chana masala. My wife picked up the spice mix a while ago while she was in India for a job she had at the time, and I haven’t been able to track this shit down since. I’ve found recipes for it online but haven’t tried any of them, and I don’t really know of any other spice mix that tastes quite the same. I’ll update this post if I make any headway on either front. In the meantime, feel free to substitute whatever other spices you might want in for the chana masala, or just leave it out and make it more of a light rub. Pork tenderloin is goddamn tasty either way. [UPDATE: We found another spice mix called Garam Masala that also works and is much easier to find in the U.S. I'll be using that for this dish for the foreseeable future] I usually serve this dish with rice or potatoes of some kind, whether it be French fries, potato salad or garlic & onion potatoes (I’ll post recipes for each of those at some point, although I generally follow the French fry recipe that Anthony Bourdain suggested on No Reservations and sprinkle pepper on them along with the salt at the end).
1 Pork tenderloin
3 Tablespoons of Chana Masala spice mix (Garam Masala also works)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of "zesty" seasoning blend
1 tablespoon of sugar
20-30 mL of Sriracha sauce
1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1 garlic clove
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Dice the garlic clove as finely as you can. Set it aside and mix up the chana (or garam) masala, salt, pepper, zesty mix, and sugar in a small bowl. Put a line of sriracha sauce lengthwise along the tenderloin on the top and rub it all in until you can’t see most of it anymore, almost like sunblock, then repeat with the bottom, making sure the entire cut is evenly covered (including the ends). Sprinkle the spice mix liberally all over the tenderloin and rub it in evenly, ensuring good coverage across the entire piece of meat. Pat it down a bit to ensure that the spices really adhere to the pork as well as possible.
Put the vegetable oil and butter in a cast iron pan and turn the stove burner on to high heat. After a minute or so the butter will have melted and the oil will have thinned enough that you can tilt the pan around and spread the oil and butter evenly across the entire pan. Toss whatever is left of the spice mix into the oil and swish it around to make sure none of it clumps up in any one area. When the butter and spices have been sizzling for a minute or two, sear the pork on all sides, which will take about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Spread the diced garlic on top of the tenderloin, and put the pan in the oven (if you don't have cast iron, transfer the tenderloin to a baking pan before putting on the garlic) for 13-15 minutes, depending on how well done you want it. Let the meat rest for about five minutes after it’s done, then cut it into 1/4-inch slices and serve.