Chicken Vindaloo is a popular Indian chicken 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 Vindaloo Recipe
Traditionally this recipe was prepared with pork. Locals 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 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
There are many variations of this dish like Lamb Vindaloo and Chicken Vindaloo. One can follow the same process and cook it with Lamb, Chicken or Beef. I have adapted this recipe to make Chicken Vindaloo, which my families adores. With a few tweaks in the recipe, I have 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. When I make Lamb Vindaloo using this recipe, I do brown the lamb pieces for 3-4 minutes before pressure cooking them. It adds a depth of flavor to the curry.
My Instant Pot Recipe for Chicken Vindaloo
This is my simplified take, an Instant Pot version of this slow-cooked classic. I substitute red wine vinegar for the local Goan 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 local dried asian 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 coincidently 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.
Serving Suggestion for Chicken Vindaloo
I serve Chicken Vindaloo with Cumin Rice or with toasted french bread. If you’re eating a low-Carb or a Keto diet, Keto Version 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!
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Chicken Vindaloo in Instant PotPrint Recipe
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken thighs
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 4-6 whole red dried chillies
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic crushed (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil/butter/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.