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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. My version is spicy, but it's also not over spiced - it's one of my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes. Discover why...

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!

The Chicken Vindaloo is 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!

What is Vindaloo?

The word Vindaloo is a derivative of the Portuguese 'vinha d'alhos' which means with wine and garlic. The Portuguese brought this method of cooking to the South of India in the 15th Century. In hot temperatures of India wine became vinegar, then coconuts became vinegar, which is what gives the sauce a sour note. It's traditionally a dryer curry sauce which clings to the meat, most commonly pork, but chicken is widely used too.

Is Vindaloo spicy?

Yes, typically Vindaloo curries are spicy. However, the Vindaloo gets a bad reputation from some of the curry houses in England where the spice is dialled up to ridiculous levels to cater to inebriated British drinkers. These guys think a sign of masculinity is to compete with one another to endure spiciest curry! A good quality vindaloo is spicy, but not inedibly so.

What's the best vinegar to use for vindaloo?

In Goa they use Coconut Vinegar - this is hard to come by outside India, but apple cider vinegar is the closest match. White vinegar is also a fair substitute.

How to make Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Goan Chicken Vindaloo

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Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 365


Curry Paste

Other ingredients

  • 2 large onions (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 stem fresh curry leaves (taken off stem)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2.2 lb (1kg) skinless & boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 ripe tomatoes (blended to pulp) or 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or coconut vinegar)


Spice paste

  • Mix together all the spice paste ingredients with 1/4 cup water and set aside.

The Curry

  • 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.
    Add the tomatoes and stir well.
  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Goan Chicken Vindaloo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365 Calories from Fat 122
% Daily Value*
Fat 13.5g21%
Saturated Fat 3.5g22%
Cholesterol 148mg49%
Sodium 585mg25%
Potassium 635mg18%
Carbohydrates 7.9g3%
Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugar 3.3g4%
Protein 49.7g99%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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