by Cat, July 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Vindaloo is a curry dish that can be made with various meats including chicken, lamb, beef or pork. Chicken vindaloo is related in flavor to chicken tandoori, but hotter in spice, and is served differently.
- Includes: 1. About Ingredients; 2. Chicken Vindaloo
- See Also: 1. Tandoori Chicken; 2. Herbs & Spices: Curries; 3. A Curry Feast; 4. Steamed brown or white basmatti or jasmine rice; 5. Grilled Garam Masala-Chicken with Veggies and Pita/Naan
Curry blend: East-Indian cooks grind their dried spices right before using, for maximum flavor and health benefits. I highly recommend this; I use my electric Revel spice grinder (photo, left, from Amazon) for this purpose, but you could also use a mortar and pestle. Instead of commercial curry powder, make garam masala or anther curry blend from whole spices ground together (See Herbs & Spices: Curries for ideas). Add extra turmeric for this dish.
Ginger and garlic: Fresh ginger should be peeled, then grated or minced finely; peel and mince the garlic along with it, add ½ – 1 tsp salt and press with side of knife blade to make a paste (or just a pinch of salt if you brine the chicken).
Chicken: When it comes to chicken, East-Indian and Pakistani cooks prefer the dark meat (drumstick, thigh, wing) to white meat (breast). For this reason, the recipe calls for dark meat. If you prefer to use breast meat, I highly recommend brining it first, to help it retain moisture.
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.com (original recipe by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell (1)). This traditional dish is quite spicy but this version is toned down somewhat, and is not overwhelming.
The original is a quick-cooking recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are cubed before cooking. But I prefer to leave the chicken pieces whole and roast in the oven, before removing from the bone and cubing into bite-size pieces; thus I have modified the recipe accordingly.
Excellent served with freshly baked/grilled naan, a type of flatbread similar to pita. I like to make my own naan with whole grain flour, but you can also try the white flour version on the Fine Cooking website: Homestyle Indian Naan (2) which includes photos).
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 4 – 6 chicken thighs or 2 – 3 legs (thighs and drumsticks) or 2 large half-breasts, or a mix of these; NOTE: if you use breast meat I highly recommend brining before using)
- 1 ½ Tbsp curry powder or homemade curry blend with extra turmeric
- 2 tsp hot paprika (or 2 tsp mild paprika and 1/16 – ⅛ tsp cayenne)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1″ section of fresh ginger root
- Unrefined sea salt
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, ghee or lard
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 ½ – 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Equipment: 2 small bowls
- 13 x 9 x 2″ roasting pan
- cast iron skillet or saucier
NOTE: if using boneless chicken, refer to original Fine Cooking recipe (1) for instructions.
- Preheat oven to 400° – 450°F.
- Prep: Rinse chicken and pat dry. If using legs, separate the thigh from the drumsticks. Set aside. If using breast meat, brine it first, for 30 minutes in the fridge, then rinse and pat dry.
- Prepare curry blend. Add paprika or paprika/cayenne and stir to blend. Add ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Peel garlic cloves and fresh ginger root, then mince finely. Add 1 tsp salt (or just a pinch if you brined the chicken) and press with side of knife blade until forms a paste. Combine half of the spice mixture, half of the garlic/ginger paste and 2 Tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar. Stir to a thin paste and rub on bone-in chicken pieces.
- Roast bone-in chicken: Place chicken on rack of roasting pan (or set on top of cut-up onion as in the first Tandoori Chicken I recipe) and roast in preheated oven 10 – 15 minutes on each side; then reduce heat to a more moderate oven (325 – 350) for another 10-15 minutes, until chicken begins to brown but is not yet falling from the bone.
- Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle the pieces, about 20 minutes. Remove meat from the bones and cut up into bite-size pieces.
- Meanwhile, prep veggies: While chicken is roasting, slice the onion. Dice the tomatoes, remove the seeds if desired, and strain through a mesh, reserving the juice.
- Cook the vindaloo: Heat coconut oil, ghee or lard over high heat; add onion and cook until it softens and begins to brown on the edges, 4 – 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high, add reserved spice mix and garlic/ginger paste. Cook, stirring until fragrant and well combined, about 45 seconds.
- Add drained tomatoes, mixing to combine and scraping bottom of pan to free the browned bits. Stir in reserved chicken, reserved tomato juice and remaining 2 Tbsp vinegar. Add ⅔ cup water. Bring to a boil, cover with lid ajar, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is warmed through, 15 – 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with chopped fresh cilantro.
- Accompany with freshly made Naan, and/or steamed brown or white basmatti or jasmine rice, and a curry veggie dish like Cauliflower Curry, or fresh spinach sauteed with garlic in ghee or olive oil.
- Serve with Yogurt Sauce or Cucumber Raita, slices of cucumber, and wedges of lime or lemon, as a cooling agent
- Serve with a salad (similar to Tabouli) of bulgur and chopped tomatoes, onions and mint, and a simple vinaigrette.
- See also A Curry Feast for more ideas
- Fine Cooking, Chicken Vindaloo recipe, originally by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell (finecooking.com/recipes/quick-chicken-vindaloo.aspx )
- Fine Cooking, Homestyle Indian Naan recipe: (finecooking.com/recipes/homestyle_indian_naan.aspx)