Chicken vindaloo recipe with step by step photos. 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”. This immensely popular dish is quite commonly found on the Indian restaurant menus & is much known as 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 & flavorup the meat. Over a period of time naturally wine turns to vinegar & the meat developed a flavour.
Influenced by the Portuguese, Goans derived a new dish named “vindaloo”. It was flavoured & spiced up to suit their local tastebuds.
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 lamb vindaoo or shrimp vindaloo.
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.
Tips to make vindaloo
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
Ingredients (1 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)
- 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)
- ½ to ¾ cup hot water (adjust as needed)
How to make the recipe
- 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.
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.
- Next pour hot water and mix well.
- 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.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- 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.
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1.Deseed red chilies and add them to a bowl. Pour 3 tbsps vinegar and 3 to 4 tbsps hot water. Set aside.
2.Meanwhile prepare the spice powder by adding coriander seeds, cumin, pepper, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms to a blender jar.
3.Make a very fine powder.
4.Add chopped ginger garlic 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.
6.Add the paste to cut chicken pieces. Sprinkle some salt and turmeric. Marinate, cover and set aside. If you like the chicken to absorb all the flavors then refrigerate overnight.
How to make chicken vindaloo
7.Pout oil to a pan and heat it. When the oil turns hot, add the onions (fine chopped or ground).
8.Fry the onions until golden to light brown. Then stir in 1 tbsp vinegar & 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) and mix.
11. Saute again for another 2 to 3 mins.
12. Pour hot water.
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 naan or paratha.