Monday, July 1, 2013

Chicken Vindaloo

     Many moons ago, when I was in college, I used to eat Indian food all the time. There was a tremendous buffet that opened up my world to this fantastic food. Once I got back from college I sort of forgot about Indian food. Since I've been doing this food blogging thing, I've started to see the familiar recipes again and the urge to indulge in Indian is back.
     I started looking around for a recipe to try and eventually decided on vindaloo. I settled on a chicken vindaloo recipe from Currytastic.  This recipe would be my starting point. I have to say I was terribly pleased with the results. There was plenty of heat, but there were so many layers of flavor that you were willing to work past the heat. The wife and I sat at the table pouring sweat and moaning (I assure you, we were having dinner), and slopping up the vindaloo sauce with some tremendous naan bread I made from a recipe from Allrecipes.  This was truly a fantastic meal. Was it truly authentic? I have no idea, nor do I care. It tasted great and the wife loved it. That's all that matters. As always, any changes from the original recipe and notes are in blue.

Chicken Vindaloo
Vindaloo Paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4" cube of peeled ginger (no fresh ginger in the house, I used 1/2 tsp grated ginger)
  • 1 or 2 tsp Garam Masala (I never have this in the house. I used 1/4 tsp each of ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and ground cloves. These amounts are on top of the already listed amounts above)
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar (I used malt vinegar at the suggestion of several other recipes)
  • 1 tsp sugar
Vindaloo Base
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4-8 garlic cloves, crushed or blended (We used 8. No sense in screwing around)
  • 3 red onions, sliced finely, preferably blended (Our red onions were freaky big, so I only used two. I also went ahead with just slicing them)
Everything Else
  • 4+ red chilies, finely chopped (I changed this up. I wound up using 2 jalapenos and 1 naga jolokia. The naga alone would have provided a fair amount of heat.) WARNING: If you're messing with hot peppers, make sure to wash your hands afterwards. If you have open cuts on your hands, wear gloves. I assure you that if you get naga jolokia in your eyes or cuts you will wish you were dead.
    The naga jolokia is around 1 million Scoville units. For comparison, a cayenne is  50,000 at the high end. So this one pepper is equivalent in heat to about 15-20 cayenne.  Rectum? Damn near killed 'em. 
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (I used 3. I don't normally skimp on breasts, but these breasts were HUGE. *snicker*)
  • 1 pound good quality chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes (don't drain the canned)
  • 1-2 tsp tomato puree to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste)
  • 1-4 tsp hot chili powder (optional) (no it's not optional. Don't even put it in there if you may not want people to do it. I used 4 tsp. I didn't even tell my wife. Granted, she suspects. She'll know for sure once she reads this. Wish me luck.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (HILARIOUS. If you need to augment the flavor at this point just give up)
  1. Grate or slice the ginger finely and add the cumin, cinnamon, mustard, coriander turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper into a bowl and add the vinegar and sugar and mix thoroughly.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. (There's going to be a lot of stuff in here. I used my 6 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven) Add the garlic and the onion and cook over a medium heat until they have softened for approx 5-7 mins, but take care not to let them burn or brown too much.
  3. Once the onion and garlic have softened, add the chicken pieces and cook for approx 2-3 minutes until the chicken starts to color. (If you're using the Dutch oven, everything may be a bit crowded at the bottom. The chicken took closer to 10 minutes before it was all colored. Cooking times may vary.)
  4. Now add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato puree, and begin to stir in the pre-prepared Vindaloo paste.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer whilst stirring occasionally for approx 1 hour. During this period, it’s important not to let the chicken vindaloo dry out, so add a 1/2 cup of water as necessary (I didn't need it. At least I don't think I did. I'm pretty awesome, so I probably got it right). If you do want to make it hotter than the recipe (HELLS YES I DO), then during the simmering time is the right time to gradually add the chili powder to taste.
Good times!


  1. Looks great. Introduced to Indian Food when I was 10. Never looked back.

    1. Thanks! I love Indian food. There is just so much going on as far as flavor is concerned. Plus, it brings the heat, which I love!