I first ate Goan Chicken Vindaloo in Goa, India. I was so excited to try the dish from the source. As a Brit, I'd long since given up ordering it from restaurants due to the sheer amount of horrendously over-spiced let downs I'd had in the past.
Not too hot to handle.
Any good Indian chef has told me the same thing. Vindaloo is hot, but not ridiculously hot. The spice is cooked into the curry to create a balanced, complex level of heat. A good Indian chef friend of mine, complained that a lot of lazy chefs add chilli powder at the end to meet the customer's spice limits. "This would never happen in India!" he exclaimed. "You get what you get and you can spice it further with fresh chilli."
With that said, my Vindaloo is hot, but completely manageable. You can strip back the chilli content if you like obviously. If you ARE looking for a spice challenge, why not try the mighty Balti Lamb Phal - a deliciously challenging curry to cook AND eat!
A distinctive sour curry
Vindaloo has a distinctive and wonderfully pronounced sourness. This comes from the use of vinegar which is added near the end of cooking to keep its sharpness. Back in Goa, the pork Vindaloo I ate used copious amounts of coconut vinegar. It was incredibly sour - but utterly delicious! My version uses less vinegar and I substitue coconut vinegar with apple cider vinegar, but still retains the sourness. Again, you can dial this up or down as you like. The vibrant red colour for the vindaloo is thanks to in part, the wonderfully mild but richly coloured Kashmiri chilli powder - the most prized chilli powder in India.
In summary, Vindaloo is a triumph! One of the tastiest curries from the South India and a national treasure. If you're looking for a curry to remember that's easy to cook at home, the vindaloo is most definitely on the hot list!
How to make Goan Chicken Vindaloo
- Mix together all the spice paste ingredients with 1/4 cup water and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large casserole pan or wok over a moderate heat until hot. Add the curry leaves, cloves and cinnamon stick and let them splutter briefly before adding the onion.
- Cook the onion gently for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until soft and golden.
- Add the chicken to the pan and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the spice paste. Stir the paste in well and cook for 2-3 minutes before stirring in around 13oz/400ml water.
- Let this come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let the curry simmer gently 40 minutes with the lid off. In the last 10 minutes, turn up the heat to reduce the sauce til it's thick and creamy, being careful to not let it stick.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Pop on the lid and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. I serve mine with lots of fluffy basmati.
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