Chicken Vindaloo

Updated: June 29, 2024, By Swasthi

Make the Best Chicken Vindaloo at home with this simple recipe. This popular Portuguese influenced Goan dish has meat, that’s been marinated & simmered in a spicy vindaloo paste. The name Vindaloo comes from the Portuguese “Carne de Vinha D’alhos’ that refers to “meat marinated in wine & garlic”. Though pork is the most common meat used, this version with chicken is more popular in the restaurants.

It is known to be one of the spiciest & hottest Indian dishes, after phaal curry. My recipe will help you make a moderately spicy but super flavorful & delicious Chicken Vindaloo. You only need whole or ground spices, vinegar & other pantry ingredients that are easily available in the grocery stores. This recipe is easily customizable to suit your palate. Use extra hot chilies or chili powder for higher heat levels.

Chicken vindaloo



About Vindaloo

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 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 this dish became world popular. There are so many versions based on the basic adaptation of soaking meat in vinegar & garlic.

An authentic traditional version of this dish is a thick dry curry made with pork. It is hot with bursting flavors of garlic & spices. The authentic recipe uses no onion & no tomatoes. It is just the pork marinated and simmered in the spicy paste. Since a lot of Indians do not eat pork, Indian restaurants offer Chicken Vindaloo and other alternates.

We get to see 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 dish, just omit both – onions & tomatoes from the recipe shared below. You will have a spicy and hot dish.

Ingredients & Substitutes

  • Spices: You need whole or ground spices like coriander, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and mustard . Green cardamom is optional but it helps to cut down the acidic and pungent flavors. If you do not have a spice grinder, start with ground spices but whole spices give stronger and better flavors.
  • Red chili: I use whole dried red chilies which are medium hot but you can use ground chili powder or fresh red chilies. You can also use a mix of both like the way I use in this Lamb Vindaloo. For this you will make the paste with whole chilies, taste test and top up with chili powder for extra heat. Use low heat chilies like Kashmiri or Byadgi for low heat option.
  • Vinegar: Use malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, cane vinegar, Goan vinegar or red wine vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar.
  • Ginger and garlic: These 2 fresh spices are the key ingredients used in the vindaloo paste. Avoid using their dried versions and if you go with the no-grind option to make the paste, you may fine grate them and use.

More Chicken Recipes
Madras Chicken
Palak Chicken (Spinach Chicken)
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Korma
Indian Chicken Curry
Methi Chicken

Photo Guide

Step by Step Photo Instructions

Make vindaloo paste

Option 1 with ground spices: If you do not have whole spices or don’t own a spice grinder, mix together 1 tablespoon red chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, ¾ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ to ¾ crushed black black pepper, ¼ teaspoon ground mustard, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 pinches ground cloves,¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional), 10 fine grated garlic cloves, 1½ inch grated ginger, 3 tablespoons malt/ apple cider vinegar/ red wine vinegar and 3 to 4 tbsps water to a thick vindaloo paste. Jump to step 6.

1. Option 2 with whole spices: you may use 20 deseeded dried red chilies or 1 tablespoon red chili powder or red chili flakes. Add the chilies 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.

soaked red chilies in vinegar

2. Meanwhile, to a spice grinder add the following ingredients to make the spice blend

  • 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 black pepper corn
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms (optional)
spices in blender jar

3. Make a very fine powder.

powdered spices for chicken vindaloo

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.

adding ginger garlic and red chilies

5. Blend to a very smooth paste. If required you may splash more water to help it grind well.

vindaloo paste in a grinder

6. Add the vindaloo 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 refrigerate overnight but avoid doing that if using bone-in chicken as the meat can fall off the bone too early while cooking. If using bone-in chicken, avoid marinating longer than 2 to 3 hours.

marinated chicken in a bowl

Make the 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).

saute onions

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.

caramelized onions

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.

saute chicken

10. Add tomato puree (optional, 2 medium tomatoes pureed or 1 tablespoon tomato paste like mutti) and mix.

add tomatoes

11. Saute again for another 2 to 3 mins.

simmer chicken

12. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat until the chicken is fully cooked.

simmering chicken vindaloo

13. If the pan is too dry, pour hot water as required. I used about half cup here it may be different for you. Usually organic chicken doesn’t let out any moisture and you will need to add water accordingly.

pouring hot water

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.

consistency of cooked dish

Serve chicken vindaloo hot or rest for a day in the refrigerator for the flavors to develop. Store for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. It goes well with fluffy Basmati Rice or with Butter Naan, Tandoori Roti or paratha. In restaurants, it 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.

Chicken vindaloo recipe

Expert Tips

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 at least an hour or 2. But avoid resting overnight if using bone-in chicken, as the chicken can fall off the bone too early while cooking.

Onions are optional in the recipe. If using, then choose the default brown or yellow onions as they go well in this dish. You can either fine chop or process them and use. Avoid using red onions.

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 or use a little tomato paste.

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 sauce.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Chicken vindaloo recipe

Chicken Vindaloo Recipe

5 from 204 votes
Make delicious restaurant style Goan Chicken Vindaloo. It is spicy, hot and super flavorful. Serve this with butter naan, any flatbreads, Basmati rice, flavored rice or rotis.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings4
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To make Vindaloo paste

  • tablespoons coriander seeds (or 1 tablespoon ground coriander)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (or ¾ teaspoon ground cumin)
  • 10 black pepper corn (or ½ to ¾ crushed black pepper)
  • 2 inches cinnamon (or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 4 cloves (2 pinches ground cloves)
  • 2 green cardamoms (optional, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (or ¼ teaspoon ground mustard)
  • 20 dried red chilies (less spicy kind) or 1 tablespoon Indian chili powder (notes 1)
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (malt/goan/red wine vinegar) (notes 2)
  • 10 (25 grams) garlic cloves (or use fine grated)
  • 1½ inch (25 grams) ginger (or use fine grated)

Other ingredients

  • 2 lbs. (800 grams to 1 kg) bone-in chicken (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)


Instructions

Make Vindaloo Paste

  • Option 1 – with ground spices – If you do not have a spice grinder, simply mix together all the ingredients mentioned under "to make vindaloo paste" along with 3 to 4 tablespoons water. It should be a thick paste.
  • Option 2 – with whole spices – Deseed red chilies and soak them in 3 tbsps vinegar and 3 tbsps hot water. Keep aside. Grind all the whole spices mentioned under "to make vindaloo paste" to a fine powder. Add ginger garlic and soaked red chilies. Pour the vinegar water mixture and make a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste to the chicken along with turmeric and salt. Marinate and rest aside for at least an hour to overnight in refrigerator to absorb the flavors. If using bone-in chicken, rest no longer than 2 to 3 hours as the meat can fall off the bone too early while cooking.

How to make Vindaloo

  • Heat oil in a deep pot and saute onions (if using) until golden to light brown. Stir in the rest of the vinegar, sugar and marinated chicken. Saute for 3 to 5 mins on a medium heat.
  • Pour the tomato puree (if using) and continue to saute for another 3 to 4 mins.
  • Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through & fork tender. If the pan is too dry, add little hot water as you cook. (I use about half cup.)
  • Simmer until the sauce reaches a thick & semi dry stage. Taste and add more salt as required.
  • Serve chicken vindaloo with plain rice or naan. You can also rest for a day in the refrigerator for the flavors to develop. Store for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.


Notes

  1. Red chilies: I use less spicy kind Indian chili, use any other that you like according to your preference. Adjust the spice level to you heat tolerance. This was not too spicy for us.
  2. Vinegar: The taste & flavor of your dish depends on the vinegar used. So choose what goes well for you. In goan cuisine, goan vinegar is used. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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 chicken, it may let out lots of moisture & require lesser water.
  5. To increase the heat: Just mix together some red chilli powder with little water and pour it to the pot.
  6. The color of your vindaloo depends on the red chilies used. But that will not affect the taste.

Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 670 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Fat 45g69%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 189mg63%
Sodium 623mg27%
Potassium 1347mg38%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 2551IU51%
Vitamin C 335mg406%
Calcium 98mg10%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

About Swasthi

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. More about me

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My chicken is marinating and I am excited to make this. My kitchen already smells amazing! I am also making your cumin rice and dal. What kind of a salad would you serve this with? Thanks for your reply

5 stars
Awesome chicken curry, thank you for sharing this.

5 stars
Great flavor, traditional Vindaloo!

5 stars
Lovely recipes Swathi. Thank you.

5 stars
Wonderful recipe! I used apple cider vinegar and it turned out marvellous!! Thanks for the easy approach

5 stars
Wonderful! Used the “ground spices” option with regular (not Indian) chili powder and boneless skinless chicken breasts, and marinated it overnight. I added the optional canned tomato puree. Next time I’ll make this a day ahead, as I think it would be EVEN BETTER if the flavors had a chance to develop once cooked.

Sensational Swasthi, and a really good introduction to making a spice paste. That’s in my rotation now for sure. Thanks.
I used the Cuisinart for the dry and my smoothie blender for the wet spices and combined both in the blender and it made a pretty good paste, definitely considering a mixie to just use one machine.

5 stars
Amazing Recipe

5 stars
Wow that is a great recipe and so cool that we end up with a quick ready to use paste like Thai curry paste. Problem is to find something that grinds spices, all my life I have been looking for something that REALLY grinds spices and up to now never found. I grated the onion because I wanted a thick sauce without bits. worked great. I vaguely remember this dish in the restaurants when I lived in the U.K. and I´m sure this recipe is as good. Thanks for sharing.

The best chicken vindaloo recipe I ever made. I stuff some Poblano peppers with the vindaloo paste & throw them in the pan during the last 4 mins of cooking. I once ate an achari dish in a restaurant and it had stuffed peppers with achari masala. I tried to replicate that here and in fact turned out amazing. Next time I would try out with Jalapenos. Thank you for sharing and this is going to my favorite list of Indian restaurant recipes.

5 stars
The Indian restaurant close to my place often serves vindaloo with spuds. Never knew you can make this without them. I always thought vindaloo had potatoes. I also read elsewhere aloo means potatoes. However I made this without them and used a little broth. It still tasted as good as the restaurant version.

5 stars
Thank You for the reply. It turned out really well.

I used American chili powder not understanding this recipe calls for Kashmiri chili powder. I have made the vindaloo paste and yet to marinate the chicken. Wondering if this is going to affect the flavor. Should I make a fresh batch of the vindaloo paste?

5 stars
As others said, this chicken vindaloo is excellent. I double the onions and omit tomatoes for the wine vinegar to shine through. The spice levels are perfect!

5 stars
I have made this recipe many times and it is excellent.

5 stars
Just made. So delicious!

5 stars
I made this tonight and it was delicious! Served it over black rice and steamed broccoli on the side. Instead of whole chilis, I used Kashmiri Chili Powder, as that’s what I have on hand. I used whole spices as listed, and ground them up with my blender, which worked out pretty well.

On another note, I really like the layout of the recipe instructions. In the past, I’ve avoided cooking Indian food because it seemed so intimidating, but the way you broke it down made it easy to follow and execute. Thank you for that, and for the wonderful recipe. I’ll definitely be making this in the future.

5 stars
Turned out great but I wouldn’t leave bone-in chicken overnight. It can fall off the bone easily.

5 stars
This recipe was phenomenal! Super tasty, my family loves Indian food but not the heat and gluten free. I substituted the red chilies with California chilies and added one heaping 1/4 teaspoon of red chili powder for a little heat. Submitted the naan with pan toasted corn tortillas. Also made made Pakora fritters. The meal turned out incredibly delicious!!

5 stars
Thank You

5 stars
This is the best chicken vindaloo we ever made. So easy to make and so delicious. Whole spices to ground paste made a huge difference! Served it with your tandoori roti, onion salad and turmeric rice. I looked on your website for a phaal curry and could not locate? Do you have one?