Chicken Vindaloo Recipe
Make the Best Chicken vindaloo at home with this simple recipe. Vindaloo is a popular Portuguese influenced Indian dish made by marinating & simmering meat in a spicy Vindaloo paste. The term Vindaloo refers to “Meat Marinated in Wine & Garlic”. Much like Rogan Josh, this immensely popular dish is quite commonly found on the Indian restaurant menus & is known to be the spiciest & hottest of the Indian dishes.
The history of Vindaloo has been traced back to the times when Portuguese sailors carried wooden barrels containing meat soaked in a mixture of wine & garlic. This was an age old technique to preserve, brine & flavor up the meat. Over a period of time naturally wine turns to vinegar & the meat developed a flavor.
Influenced by the Portuguese, Goans derived a new dish named “VINDALOO”. It was flavored & spiced up to suit their local taste buds.
Since Goa is one of the top tourist destinations in India, over the years vindaloo became world popular. There are so many versions based on the basic adaptation of soaking meat in vinegar & garlic.
The recipe I have shared here will give you a delicious, moderately spicy & flavorful Chicken Vindaloo. You can use the same recipe to make shrimp vindaloo. I also have a similar Lamb Vindaloo recipe here.
An authentic traditional vindaloo is a thick dry curry which is hot tasting with bursting flavors of garlic & spices. The authentic recipe uses no onion & no tomatoes. It is just the meat marinated and simmered in the vindaloo paste.
We get to see so many variations of this dish in the restaurants with the use of onion and tomatoes. These 2 ingredients are used just to tone down the heat.
If you prefer to make an authentic vindaloo, just skip both – onions & tomatoes from the recipe shared below.
What to Serve Vindaloo with?
Vindaloo is best eaten with Butter Naan, Parathas, Roti, Chapati, Ghee Rice, Cumin rice or Plain Rice.
More Chicken Recipes,
Palak Chicken (Spinach Chicken)
Chicken Tikka Masala
Indian Chicken Curry
How To Make Chicken Vindaloo (Stepwise photos)
Make vindaloo paste
1. For this recipe, you may use dried red chilies or red chilli powder or red chilli flakes. Deseed 20 dried red chilies (or use 1 tablespoon red chilli powder or flakes). Add them to a bowl. Pour 3 tbsps vinegar and 3 to 4 tbsps hot water. Read recipe notes to find out more about what kind of vinegar to use. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, to a spice grinder add the following ingredients to make the spice powder
- 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds (or 1 tablespoon ground coriander)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ¾ teaspoon ground cumin)
- 10 black pepper corn (½ to ¾ crushed black black pepper)
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (¼ teaspoon ground mustard)
- 2 inch cinnamon piece (¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 4 cloves (2 pinches ground cloves)
- 2 green cardamoms (optional, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom)
3. Make a very fine powder.
4. Add chopped & peeled ginger garlic (25 grams each, 10 garlic cloves, 1½ inch ginger ) and soaked red chilies to the blender. Also add up the vinegar in which the red chilies were soaked. I added in batches and used up the entire vinegar & water mixture.
5. Blend to a very smooth paste. If required you may splash more water to help it grind well.
6. Add the paste to 2 lbs. (800 grams to 1 kg) cut chicken pieces. Sprinkle ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon turmeric. Marinate, cover and set aside. If you like the chicken to absorb all the flavors then refrigerate overnight.
Make Vindaloo Curry
7. Pout 3 tablespoons oil to a pan/pot and heat it. When the oil turns hot, add the onions (about 2 medium fine chopped or ground).
8. Fry the onions on a medium heat, stirring constantly until they turn golden to light brown. Then stir in 1 tbsp vinegar & 1 teaspoon sugar.
9. Add marinated chicken and saute for 3 to 5 mins on a medium flame. Garlic and ginger are raw here so saute the chicken well.
10. Add tomato puree (optional, 2 medium tomatoes pureed or 2 tablespoon tomato paste like mutti) and mix.
11. Saute again for another 2 to 3 mins.
12. If your chicken lets out lot of moisture then skip adding water. I had to pour half cup hot water. Usually organic chicken doesn’t let out any moisture and you will need to add water accordingly.
13. Mix well. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat until the chicken is fully cooked.
14. If your chicken vindaloo is runny, evaporate the excess moisture by cooking further. It thickens a bit and also turns to a dark color upon cooling.
Serve chicken vindaloo with plain rice or with Butter Naan or paratha.
In restaurants, vindaloo is eaten with steamed rice, Naan or any other Indian breads. At home we eat it mostly with jeera rice, Turmeric rice and some times with roti or paratha.
Vindaloo paste is a marinade prepared by blending whole spices, red chilies, garlic, ginger & vinegar. This is the key to making the best vindaloo. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate for 2 months. Ensure you make a fine and smooth paste of this.
Well marinated chicken not only absorbs the flavors of vindaloo paste but is also succulent when cooked. So longer the meat rests in the marinade the better it is. If you do not have enough time to rest, then cook it and allow to rest for atleast an hour or 2.
Onions are optional in the recipe. If using, then choose the default brown or yellow onions here as they go well in this dish. You can either fine chop or process them and use.
Tomato is an optional ingredient which you can skip & is not used in the authentic recipe. Without tomatoes the dish turns out extremely hot. I have blanched the tomatoes and pureed them as we don’t prefer the chunky sauce. You may use chopped instead.
Since chicken vindaloo is not a creamy dish like the butter chicken or a korma, I prefer to use onions & tomatoes either processed or pureed. If you use them chopped, you will have a chunky vindaloo.
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 10 pepper corn
- 2 inches cinnamon
- 4 cloves
- 2 green cardamoms (optional)
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 20 dried red chilies (less spicy kind) or 1 tablespoon chilli powder (notes 1)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar (malt/goan/red wine vinegar) (notes 2)
- 10 garlic cloves (25 grams)
- 1½ inch ginger (25 grams)
- 2 lbs bone-in chicken (800 grams to 1 kg or 1.5 lbs. boneless chicken)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (I used ¾ tsp pink salt)
- 3 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil)
- 2 onions (optional) (fine chopped or processed)
- 2 tomatoes (optional) (pureed)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (malt/goan/red wine vinegar) (notes 2)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (notes 3)
- ¼ to ½ cup hot water (refer notes)
- Deseed red chilies and soak them in 3 tbsps vinegar and 3 tbsps hot water. Set aside.
- Add coriander seeds, cumin, pepper corn, mustard, cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms to a blender jar.
- Make a fine powder. Then add ginger garlic and soaked red chilies.
- Add the vinegar water mixture and make a smooth paste.
- Next add this to the cleaned chicken along with turmeric and salt.
- Marinate and rest aside for at least an hour to overnight in refrigerator to absorb the flavors.
How to make chicken vindaloo
- Heat oil in a deep pot and saute the onions (optional) until golden to light brown.
- Add 1 tbsp vinegar & 1 tsp sugar to the onions.
- Then add the marinated chicken and saute for 3 to 5 mins on a medium heat.
- Pour the tomato puree (optional) and continue to saute for another 3 to 4 mins.
- If your chicken lets out lots of moisture, do not add water. Mine did not so I poured half cup hot water. If you prefer a dry curry then skip adding water. The chicken will cook in its own moisture.
- Cover and simmer until the chicken cooked through & fork tender.
- To check if the meat is done, prick it with a fork. The meat should fall off the bone easily.
- Simmer until the gravy reaches a thick & semi dry stage. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve chicken vindaloo with plain rice or naan.
- Red chilies: Please adjust the spice level to suit your taste. This was not too spicy for us as I used the less spicy variety chilies.
- Vinegar: The taste & flavor of vindaloo depends on the vinegar used. So choose what goes well for you. In goan cuisine, goan vinegar is used.
- Sugar is used to cut down the pungency from garlic and vinegar. So do not skip it. It should not sweeten the dish. You can add a bit more if you prefer.
- Water: Adjust the amount of water as needed to cook your chicken. Usually organic chicken or NON-GMO chicken need more water to cook. If using the regular kind of chicken, then it will let out lots of moisture & may need lesser water.
- To increase the heat: Just mix together some red chilli powder with little water and pour it to the pot.
- The color of your vindaloo will depend on the red chilies used. But that will not affect the taste.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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So glad I tried your vindaloo recipe. Great instructions and descriptions, perfect for an inexperienced cook like me. My curry came out fantastic. That you so much for sharing.
I recently received a vindaloo paste. I am aware anything made from scratch will be better. My question is do I follow your recipe except use the paste for the marinate? Thank you.
I’m not sure if that works because you know it is the paste that can actually make or break this dish. If you are an advanced cook and you know how to adjust the flavors it shouldn’t be a problem. Towards the end taste test and add more ground spices or the paste and cook a little longer. Hope this helps
Love it! This beats any vindaloo I’ve ever had. Would this recipe be adaptable to cooking in crock pot? I’m thinking low setting for 6hrs. I’d like to double or triple it to prepare for a crowd and the crock pot may be the way to go. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe!
Hi Greg, Thanks for trying. I have no experience with crock pot. So can’t suggest.
Excellent outcome! I followed the recipe almost to the letter. But I added extra alho (garlic) and used British base curry sauce instead of water (game changer!). Fantastic dish, so spicy you will sweat for hours!
Thank you Konradito for letting me know how it turned out for you. Yes British curry sauce is a good addition. Glad you like the dish
Hello Swasthi, when you say ‘Deseed 20 dried red chilies (or use 1 tablespoon red chilli powder or flakes)’.
Is the red chilli powder Kashmiri red chilli powder?
Yes it is Kashmiri red chilli powder. Taste test the paste and add more chilli if you want more spicy.
Thank you for your quick reply Swasthi. Am planning my NYE menu. Your chicken vindaloo and paneer palak. What to accompany these?-Your baigan bharta or dal fry or ?-what do you think?
With dal fry you will have 3 gravy/curry dishes. I think 2 gravy and 1 semi-dry like bharta is better. Have a nice time Sandy!
🙏🏿 Swasthi. My best wishes for peace and good health for you and your family in 2023. Another great year of trying your wonderfull recipes this year and may it continue in 2023🙏🏿
Thank you so much Sandy. Wishing you and your family too a very Happy & Prosperous New Year.
Hello, I tried to print the recipe card but the notes don’t print. Any ideas why?
Hi Tony, You have to tick mark the box for notes before printing.
I have a question about the amount of chicken, 800g to 1Kg of chicken thighs with bones is only 4 or 5 chicken thighs so after de-boning & de-skinning it’s not a large amount of meat it seems to me – is this correct? If I was to use chicken breast instead would that need about 400 to 500g?.
800 grams to 1 kg chicken is after deskinning. We don’t de-bone chicken here before cooking. Vindaloo gravy made with bone-in meat has more flavor so we use bone-in here. If you prefer bone-less chicken, use 650 to 700 grams. Please take a look at the video, at the end of the recipe card. This may be useful. Hope this helps
lol wish I’d watched the video before my preperations yesterday. I’m making 2 versions, one version using de boned thighs (as I said…) and using as much whole spices as possible & red chillies with the chicken marinading overnight plus a version using chicken breast with powdered spices & hot chilli powder and marinaded for 3 hours. Will give my results next week, I’m sure it would have been better just deskinning the chicken but both versions look and smell good anyway!
I see some vindaloo recipes call for tamarind – is that a replacement for vinegar?
No! Vindaloo is made with vinegar and not with tamarind.
Tamarind: I’m no expert, but perhaps it’s more a replacement for the sugar than the vinegar?
Tamarind adds more of a tangy sourness (assam). It is more common in S.E. Asian cooking.
Yes you are right Drew
I’ve made this twice now. It is just fantastic! Thank you for sharing this recipe! ❤️
Glad to know Jamie
Apologies the turmeric and salt reference. Apologies – was rushing Delete both comments if you want 🙂
No Problem Sandy. Hope you all enjoyed the food
Swasthi, I am cooking a few of your dishes tonight (mutton korma, carrot poriyal and chicken vindaloo). Not sure why I did not notice this last time but for the chicken vindaloo, you have turmeric listed but I can’t see when it is to be added. I added it after the onions were cooked.
Hi Swasthi, thanks for the recipe! I have the chicken marinating now, but wanted to check if it’s ok that it marinates for 2 days? Chicken was quite fresh when it went in.
Will update when the recipe is complete! Thanks!
Overnight is fine. If left too long chicken can become too soft due to vinegar.
I cooked it after just one night in the marinade and it came out wonderful! Thank you!
Glad to know! Thank you
Hi Swasthi, i am a big follower here! I have done your Butter chicken masala and its always a hit for my family and my friends! Even my fuzzy eater daughter loves it! I want to try to cook the vindaloo and my question is, is it okey to use beef meat rather than the chicken? My husband loves vindaloo so i really want to give this a try. And if i am using beef how long does it need to be cook for? Thank you so much for sharing all your yummy recipes ♥️
Thank you so much! Glad you all like it. I don’t cook beef so I have no idea.
Also, is it ok to have some meat that has skin on it? 😀
Yes it’s okay!
Few things. I doubled the recipe but in the directions it didn’t change the water and vinegar adjustment. Why didn’t you add all the vinegar and water from the soaking of chilis in the video but you say to in the recipe?
Also, about how long do you cover and cook for?
Mine is marinating overnight tonight and I can’t wait til it’s all done 😀
Yes you need to use all of it. I prefer to add the liquid in batches while blending so it won’t splash out from the grinder. Cook until the chicken is fully done. Timings will vary depending on the size of chicken pieces, kind of cookware and stove used. Hope you enjoy it!
Swasthi, finally cooked this dish and served with your mixed vegetable curry. A very tasty curry.
I might not deseed some of the kashmiri chillies for the marinade to add some extra heat – or is it better just to add more chilli powder.
Also, what sort of weight of onions and tomatoes would you use.
Many thanks and peace and health to you and your family for 2022.
Thank you so much for the New year wishes. Wish you all too a very happy new year. Glad you like this. Yes I would suggest adding more chilli powder if required. Use half cup each of fine chopped tomatoes (or processed) and tomato puree. Thank you
Would you add potatoes to this? My favorite Indian restaurant does but if so what’s your advice? I tried your recipe for this and it was great!
Saute diced potatoes after the onions for 4 to 5 mins. Next follow the recipe
Thank you! Will try tomorrow!
You from Canada?
Really great and easy recipe! I didn’t have any redwine vinegar but the white vinegar worked great. Additionally I used 6oz of tomato sauce (instead of puree) and it turned out amazing. Will be making this dish for my family for years to come. Thanks for sharing!
Glad to know! Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing this recipe. Can you please advise what blender did you use in this recipe? Your blender creates a beautiful fine paste while mine does not. Thank you!
I used a Preeti mixer grinder here. It just lasted a few months. I have another ultra mixer grinder which does a better job.
Hi, can I still make a paste, if I’ve only got a powdered chili? If so, in what quantity? Thanks 😊
Yes you can use 1 tbsp chilli powder
I absolutely LOVE all the recipes. This has inspired me to get back into cooking. I love how detailed everything is with pictures and clarification. I am in the middle of marinating the chicken. I want to let it sit for about a day really get soaked in. I will say I’m kind of an idiot…..I saw it said two inches of cinnamon, I completely forgot cinnamon naturally comes in sticks……..so I just thought “oh I guess they mean a ton of cinnamon” opps 😅 realized my mistake when reading the Jeera rice recipe. RAN back into the kitchen to double up everything else to help correct that, luckily it had only been about 20 minutes so fingers crossed I didn’t mess it up. It does smell amazing though even with my mess up.