Goan Chicken Vindaloo

This really is a fabulous curry. Vindaloo is a dish influenced by generations of Portuguese rule in India. With the addition of vinegar at the end, it makes for a unique sour note to counteract the heavily spiced flavour. It bursts with flavour and spice, but if heat isn’t your thing it’s easy to tone down by using fewer chillies. As the recipe stands the curry is hot, not stupidly so, but a perfect balance between sweet, sour and spicy. Awesome stuff that sadly didn’t make it to leftover stage.

To make the marinade paste:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 small dried red chillies (seeds in)
2 cloves
2cm piece cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)

For the curry:
1kg chicken thighs (cut into large chunks)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 onions (finely sliced)
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods (lightly chushed)
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
3 small hot green chillies (left whole and slit)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

To make the marinade paste:
In a small frying pan, dry roast the coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, peppercorns, dried chillies, cinnamon and cloves for a couple of minutes until aromatic and lightly browned. Cool then grind into a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or spice/coffee grinder. Mix together with the turmeric, garlic and ginger with 1 tablespoon water. Smear this all over the chicken and leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours. At least 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil then gently fry the onions over a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add the chicken and marinade to the pan and stir well. Cook for 3-4 minutes till lightly browned. Add the green chillies and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook partially covered for 40 minutes until the chicken is tender and the sauce reduced. Add the tamarind paste and simmer for a couple of minutes then the sugar and vinegar. Add the salt and adjust to your taste. Fish out the whole spices and chillies if you like just before serving.

Serve with fluffy basmati rice and a tongue cooling yoghurt raita.

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