Chicken Vindaloo is a popular Indian food curry dish from the western coast.
It’s a local adaptation of the Portuguese dish, carne de vinha d’alhos, which literally means, meat marinated in wine and garlic.
How can you go wrong with that!
Traditional, Authentic Vindaloo Recipe
Traditionally vindaloo is prepared with pork.
People from the Konkani region in Goa prepare a marinade by pureeing together pre-soaked dried red chillies, local Goan wine called Feni, tamarind paste, fresh garlic and ginger and toasted Indian garam masala.
They marinate the pork meat in this mix for a few hours. Then, they cook the pork in this marinade, till it forms a rich curry.
Variations of the Vindaloo Recipe
I adapted the traditional, authentic recipe to make Chicken Vindaloo, which my families adores. But you can just as easily make Lamb Vindaloo with this recipe.
With a few tweaks to the vindaloo recipe, I turned this into a weeknight-friendly recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Before finalizing this recipe, I tried a few batches where I browned the chicken pieces before adding in the sauce, but I didn’t notice any major difference in taste.
So, now I skip the browning process when making this dish with chicken.
But when I make Lamb Vindaloo using this recipe, I brown the lamb pieces for 3-4 minutes before pressure cooking them. It adds a depth of flavor to the vindaloo curry.
My Instant Pot Recipe for Chicken Vindaloo
This is my simplified take, an Instant Pot version of this slow-cooked classic.
I use red wine vinegar as a substitute for the local Goan “Feni” wine and tamarind paste.
Red wine vinegar has a nice sweet, tart and sharp flavor, which is a close match to the Goan wine, Feni.
It also provides a subtle tart flavor, which I would otherwise get from tamarind paste.
I use whole dried asian red chillies, rehydrate them and blend with sautéed onions, ginger, garlic and vinegar.
Towards the end of the cooking process, I add a pinch of sugar or a splash of coconut milk, which balances the flavors and elevates the flavors of this curry.
Common Misconceptions about Vindaloo Recipe
There are two common misconceptions about the Vindaloo recipe.
The first is that it’s a spicy curry. The recipe for a typical Vindaloo curry includes pureeing a handful of dried chilies, but these chilies are more for flavor and color rather than spice, kind of like paprika.
The end flavors are ‘earthy and aromatic spicy’, not ‘hot spicy’.
However, if you want to make it spicy, you can always increase the quantity of chilies, or, add a pinch or two of cayenne.
The second confusion is caused by many restaurants, by adding potato in this curry. The Hindi word for potato is “aloo”, which coincidentally rhymes with “Vindaloo”.
There is no connection between potatoes and a vindaloo curry.
But, when you order this dish at your local Indian restaurant, chances are, it’ll have potato cubes too 🙂
What to Have with Chicken Vindaloo
Traditionally a vindaloo curry is served with toasted dinner rolls called Pav, pronounced as Pa-aw, in Hindi.
I serve Chicken Vindaloo with Cumin Rice or with toasted french bread. We also enjoy a side of cooling Cucumber Raita
If you’re eating a low-Carb or a Keto diet, this Keto Version of Chicken Vindaloo will be a perfect dish for you.
I combine the delicious flavors of this recipe, add cauliflower and carrots, and make a stew-like meal out of it.
I don’t miss the rice or naan, and it tastes divine by itself!
★ Have you tried this recipe? Click on the stars ★ in the recipe card to let us know your feedback!
This Chicken Vindaloo recipe is a variation of the popular Indian curry dish from Goa on the west coast of India. I tweaked the traditional vindaloo recipe to make it a weeknight recipe that can be made in 30 minutes.
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 medium onion sliced thin
- 6 whole red dried chillies
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic crushed : 1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil or butter or ghee
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
Soak dry chillies in 1/2 cup hot water. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Turn ON Instant pot on sauté mode. Add oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes, till soft. Turn off the Instant Pot. Cool onions for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the onions in a blender, add re-hydrated red chillies with their liquid, ginger-garlic paste, red wine vinegar, all dry spices, salt and sugar. Purée into a smooth paste.
- Turn ON Instant pot. Add spice purée, 1/2 cup water, chicken thighs and mix well. Close the lid, turn the vent to sealing position. Cook on Manual (high-pressure) for 6 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally (NR). Serve with steamed rice or toasted french bread. Enjoy!
- Even though this recipe uses chilies as a base, the curry is not too spicy. It has the flavor from the chilies, not that much heat. If you prefer a milder flavor, de-seed the dry chilies before soaking them in water, OR, do half the chilies along with 1 tablespoon paprika powder.
- For chicken, I tried browning the meat before adding in the sauce, but didn't notice any major difference. So, I skip the browning process when making this dish with chicken. I do that when I'm making this with lamb though.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.