This chicken vindaloo recipe is a fantastic addition to your curry collection. It’s packed with fierce spices and chunks of juicy tender chicken thighs — an absolute must-try for spicy food lovers.
What Is Chicken Vindaloo?
This Portuguese-influenced Indian delicacy is a thick, dry curry packed with plenty of strong Indian spices. Because there is very little liquid, it has a strong aroma and robust tangy taste that make it unique.
Rumor has it that the basics of this dish originated in Portugal and it was brought to India in the 15th century. There, it was tweaked using local ingredients and became popular.
Originally, the meat was kept in barrels with red wine, which would eventually turn into vinegar. That ingredient wasn’t available, so palm vinegar was used instead, and the meat was marinated just briefly.
Also, the Indian version doesn’t include onions and tomatoes. As it spread to other countries, these sweet components were introduced to tone down the heat. That’s the style we’ll be making today.
Vindaloo can be made with either chicken, pork, or beef. Each lends a different flavor but maintains the same essence. Check out the beef version here.
1. Is Vindaloo Spicy?
Proper vindaloo is very spicy, and if you want an even tougher challenge, you can try the South Indian version that goes by the name ‘tindaloo.’ Today’s version is more mild — essentially what American Indian restaurants might serve you.
The spicy ingredients in this chicken vindaloo recipe are chili powder, sriracha, and red pepper flakes. Feel free to adjust them to your liking.
2. Vindaloo vs Masala
Vindaloo is built around ‘garam masala,’ an Indian spice mix that includes mace, coriander, nutmeg, fennel seeds, and such. The blend is also the core of many Indian curries, including ‘tikka masala,’ which is easily mistaken for vindaloo.
Despite a similar flavor, tikka masala is richer thanks to dairy products like cream or yogurt. Vindaloo is less saucy and hence, more concentrated in terms of flavor.
Is Chicken Vindaloo Healthy?
With the main components being just chicken, spices, and vegetables, this dish is pretty healthy. However, there are a few problems we need to deal with.
For starters, though the curry is pretty low in saturated fats (it uses lean meat and no dairy, after all), it’s typically high in sodium. Plus, if not moderately portioned, the dish can also yield more calories than necessary.
Therefore, we worked to use just the right amount of salt to flavor the food while keeping the sodium within appropriate limits. For the calories, we struck a balance between the chicken and rice, assuring the best experience for you.
Each serving contains 2.2 g saturated fats, 559 mg sodium, and 500 calories (10%, 26%, and 18-24% of the daily allowance respectively). These amounts leave space for your snacks, drinks, etc., making for a healthy but enjoyable diet.
Chicken Vindaloo Ingredients
Here are the ingredients for our chicken vindaloo recipe:
1. Aromatics and Meat
The key aromatics for this recipe are garlic and ginger, creating a warm base for the curry. With the addition of some onions, it becomes a little bit sweet.
As mentioned before, this curry has chopped tomatoes to give the sauce more body and a milder flavor.
For the chicken, we decided to go for skinless, boneless chicken thighs. We cut them into bite-sized pieces so you can eat everything with a spoon.
2. Curry Seasonings
This curry has a long list of seasonings, some of which can be substituted or skipped:
- Garam masala: the key ingredient to this curry, giving a signature curry aroma.
- Ground cumin, cinnamon, and coriander powder: these spices are optional as they’re contained in the masala mix. However, we wanted to give the flavor a boost to make it taste a bit more authentic.
- Mustard: it looks weird adding a condiment to a curry, but some masala mix actually contains mustard seeds. You can skip this ingredient but the curry will taste better with it.
- Ground cardamom: this has a strong peppery, minty aroma that pairs well with warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s really strong, so our recipe only calls for a small amount.
- Turmeric: this spice gives the curry a golden shade. Too much, though, can make the curry taste bitter, so just add a touch.
- Tomato paste and paprika: the introduction of so much red from these two turns the curry into a beautiful orange color. The paste also adds a tangy, savory flavor.
- Chili powder and sriracha: the hot elements of this curry, which can be adjusted to your preference.
- Vinegar, sugar, and salt: some simple flavor enhancers to make the curry balanced in flavor. You can use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even red wine vinegar — just make sure it’s 5%.
- Pepper: a touch of pepper is great in practically anything.
All of these spices are to be cooked with the chicken and then simmered in a cornstarch slurry made with chicken stock. We prefer the consistency this recipe gives us, but if you want a dryer curry, feel free to reduce the amount of stock.
How to Make Chicken Vindaloo
It’s important to measure all of the ingredients ahead of time so you can cook more efficiently. You don’t want to be in a hurry measuring the spices while everything’s cooking.
Once you’re ready to go, heat a nonstick skillet and sauté the aromatics. Since the onions release moisture, we want to cook the garlic and ginger first until they’re a bit golden.
Once the onions turn translucent, incorporate tomato paste into the skillet. Pastes like curry or tomato will add more flavor to whatever you’re cooking if they have a chance to sear first.
Next, add chopped tomatoes and allow their liquid to cook into and fuse with the tomato paste. Then, add the chicken and spices and stir everything around so the flavors mingle.
Finally, simmer everything in the cornstarch slurry until your curry is finished.
Here’s a picture-illustrated recap:
Cook the aromatics.
Stir in tomato paste.
Add chopped tomatoes.
Add chicken and spices.
Add slurry and simmer.
Serve with rice.
You’ll find the ingredients list in the chicken vindaloo recipe card at the bottom of this article.
How to Store and Reheat Chicken Vindaloo
This curry will last one week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
You can store it either in airtight containers or sealable packs like Ziploc bags, but when it comes to freezing, the latter is more convenient. Divide the leftovers into individual bags, each containing a single serving. Stack them into your freezer and you can reheat exactly the portion you want without touching the others.
To reheat, add everything to a pot and simmer over low heat until everything bubbles. Alternatively, add it to a bowl and microwave for 2-4 minutes, depending on whether it was chilled or frozen.
What to Serve With Chicken Vindaloo
The curry needs a creamy side to mellow out its robust flavors, and we found scotch eggs to be the best accompaniment. They’re soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and make for fun additions to the meal.
|Chicken Vindaloo||Main Dish||478||1.9 g||552 mg|
|Scotch Eggs||Side Dish||206||4.2 g||205 mg|
|Cucumber And Lemon Juice||Beverage||71||0.1 g||5 mg|
|Total||755||6.2 g||762 mg|
To tone down the spices and the creaminess, we aimed for a simple and fresh beverage like this cucumber-lemon juice. When served with ice, it’s an ideal complement for many meals.
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp garlic about 3 cloves, minced
- 2 tsp ginger about 1 knob, finely chopped
- 2 oz onions about half a medium, chopped
- 1 tbsp Hunt’s tomato paste
- 1 oz tomatoes about half a medium, chopped
- 21 oz skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp Sriracha
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 2 tbsp coriander finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups cooked basmati rice from 1 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add 2 tbsp minced garlic and 2 tsp finely chopped ginger to cook for about 30 seconds. Add 2 oz chopped onions and stir to cook for 1 minute.
- Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and stir until it coats the aromatics nicely.
- Tip 1 oz chopped tomatoes in and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add 21 oz chicken thighs to the skillet along with 1 tbsp flour and the seasonings: 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Sriracha, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, and 1/4 tsp ground cardamom. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Turn off the heat. Top it with 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes for garnish, and serve with 4 cups cooked basmati rice.