When people think of vindaloo curry, it’s recipes like this restaurant style vindaloo that come to mind. Make it… you’ll love it!
I had a few friends from my hometown of Turlock, California visit me in the UK recently and they couldn’t wait to dig into a real vindaloo curry. So I decided to make them this!
They had tried authentic Goan vindaloo curry a few times at restaurants in the US but were finding it hard to find anything like the vindaloos we get here in the UK.
When I first came to the UK, I was here on a student work visa. I worked in a pub near Croydon and was taken out for to a British curry house after my first shift. I was told to order the vindaloo curry. Like my friends from home, I was hooked!
Growing up in California where Mexican food is very popular, I loved spicy food but I was not expecting the extreme heat that was introduced to me that evening. The flavours were new and exciting – like nothing I’d eaten before.
So what exactly is vindaloo curry?
Before moving on the the vindaloo curry recipe, here’s a bit of vindaloo trivia for you.
Authentic vindaloo curry owes its origins to Portuguese controlled Goa in the fifteenth century where the dish was served with pork meat.
The name vindaloo was most likely a mispronounciation of the similar Portuguese dish carne de vinho e albos or meat with wine and garlic.
So the Goan cooks called this new and much loved vinho e albos ‘vindaloo’ and the name stuck. Notice the ‘aloo’ at the end of ‘vindaloo’. This caused one of many changes in the recipe when it was served hundreds of years later at British curry houses.
One thing the Goans changed when making vinho e albos or vindaloo was that they add a lot of chillies. They loved chillies which had only recently made their way to the Indian subcontinent from the new world.
So what’s the difference between British Indian restaurant (BIR) vindaloo curry and the more authentic versions?
Many UK Indian restaurant chefs add potatoes to their vindaloo curries. ‘Aloo’ means ‘potato’ in Hindi and Urdu so a lot of the original self-taught Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrant chefs mistakenly added potatoes to this fiery curry and it stuck.
British Indian restaurant vindaloo is not very similar to the authentic Goan version other than in name and that it is quite spicy. If you would like to read my authentic pork vindaloo recipe, please click here.
As most curry houses are muslim run, the use of pork was a big no no. When dining out you are much more likely to order vindaloo with a range of main ingredients from chicken to lamb to paneer.
How did this curry house vindaloo recipe come about?
This recipe is the result of trial and error and of course watching many great curry house chefs do their work. I have been luck to have been invited into hundreds of curry house kitchens to see the chefs work their magic.
I use both green chillies and also super hot scotch bonnet chillies just like many of the chefs I learned from do.
It is spicy but not over the top so. You can still taste and enjoy all the flavours. If you want yours even hotter, just add more chillies or chilli powder. That tends to do the job.
By the way, I don’t add potatoes to my vindaloo curries but if you would like to, I recommend cooking them in the curry base sauce until very tender. Then just scoop them out and add them to your vindaloo curry.
You might also like to cook your potatoes ahead of time as many curry house chefs do. Here is a good recipe for doing this.
All of the authentic Indian restaurant style recipes on my blog call for a base curry sauce. The base sauce is one of the uniquely British ingredients that makes the BIR vindaloo curry what it is today.
I have used pre-cooked lamb for this recipe. Pre-cooking the meat not only makes cooking faster but also adds another delicious layer of flavour. Here is my recipe for this method.
You may also like to try a more tandoori style lamb. Here’s my tandoori lamb tikka recipe which tastes amazing in a vindaloo.
Do I have to pre-cook the meat?
That is how you will get curry house style results. I am asked often if you have to pre-cook the meat. It does add another layer of flavour so it is worth doing.
That said, you could add the meat raw and just cook it longer. Do that and your lamb vindaloo will take about an hour to cook until the meat is tender. That said, the vindaloo sauce will be gorgeous!
You will of course need to add more liquid during the cooking process.
I prefer to do it the curry house way and have lots of pre-cooked meat on hand. It’s faster. It tastes better. It freezes well. Do that and you can whip up this curry house stylamb vindaloo in minutes.
International & UK Orders
Here are some more curry house favourites you might like to try!