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Vindaloo Curry Sauce

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Make this vindaloo curry sauce and add your main ingredient/s of your choice

I featured a lamb vindaloo curry sauce recipe in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’. Although in the book it is made with lamb, you can use the same sauce with other ingredients too.

In the book, the recipe serves four but here I’m giving you the downscaled version that serves 1 – 2 people just as they do at Indian restaurants.

Vindaloo Curry Sauce with chicken

The secret is in the sauce. You can add whatever main ingredient you like.

The curry house style vindaloo.

The vindaloo curries we get when we go out for a curry at a curry house are different to the original Goan pork vindaloo. This recipe is like those you get at the curry house.

Although quite spicy like the original vindaloo, the British vindaloo curry sauce is different. It is also a lot easier to make.

There was a time when ordering a vindaloo curry meant getting the same as a plain curry or Madras but with more curry powder in it.

Luckily, that is not longer the case. The British vindaloo curry sauce has its own unique flavour to the others.


Working ahead.

If you are planning a curry feast, large or small, it is often a good idea to do as much forward preparation as possible.

You could actually make this sauce a day or two before serving. It will even get better as the flavours develop.

If you are just making the sauce, you could ask people which meat or even paneer they would like in their vindaloo curry sauce.

The base sauce (gravy)

One of the secrets behind getting the curry house style curry right is the base sauce.

A prepared base sauce is used in all BIR curries. It’s mild and it needs to be. The base sauce is used in every curry from the mildest
korma to the spiciest phal. My ‘go to’ recipe for the sauce is here.

Although it does take some time to make, it is the best way to get that famous vindaloo flavour and texture. The base gravy can be made a day or two ahead of time and also freezes well.

I suggest making a big batch and freezing what you don’t need. Do that and you can whip up your favourite Indian restaurant curries on a whim whenever you want.

How long with this vindaloo curry sauce last?

You can keep it in the fridge for a few days before serving. It also freezes well. 

Vindaloo Flavour tip!

You will get an amazing tasting vindaloo sauce with this recipe just as it is.

There are things you can do to get even more delicious flavour into the sauce. Try adding pre-cooked tandoori meat and some of the meat juices for example.

You could also add a little stock from pre-cooked chicken or spice stock.

This is not essential but very nice.

vindaloo curry

Vindaloo is the perfect spicy curry for one to two people.

Vindaloo curry

Here I added chicken and cooked potato to the curry. You can add whatever you like.

If you like this vindaloo sauce recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house favourites too…

Tikka masala sauce Recipe
Korma sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chasni sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Ceylon sauce
Pathia sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Madras sauce
Phaal sauce 


Yield: 1 - 2

Vindaloo Curry Sauce Recipe - BIR Curry House Style

Vindaloo Curry Sauce with chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 3 green cardamom pods - bruised
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 Indian bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli - finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder 
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) base sauce
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 1 pre-cooked potato - peeled
  • 1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) - finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and then throw in the cardamom pods, star anise and bay leaf. Allow these ingredients to infuse into the oil for about 30 seconds and then add the garlic ginger paste.
  2. Stir the garlic ginger paste into the spice infused oil and then add all the chopped chillies. Fry these for about 30 seconds and then add the ground spices and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Your pan might be looking a bit dry at this point. Add the tomato puree and about half of the base sauce and bring to a simmer. Only stir if it looks like the sauce is sticking to the pan.
  4. At this point, you could add the main ingredient of your choice such as chicken, lamb or paneer. You could also just carry on making the sauce and add a main ingredient when you heat it up to serve.
  5. Add the vinegar and then the fenugreek leaves by rubbing them between your fingers. Add the pre-cooked potato and garnish with coriander (cilantro).
  6. Season with salt to taste.

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I hope you enjoy this vindaloo curry sauce recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Wednesday 1st of March 2023

Good evening, I was born in 1961, and remember a very distinctive taste and smell in a lot of the resterants, you could sell the taste as it was the same, as soon as you walked into the room. It also was with different dishes, I've had it with Beef curry, Madras, even a Dansak, I have brought a lot of spices, in the hope to find it. I wondered if it could be a fat or oil, as the whole restaurant smelt of it. Just wondered if you have any ideas, it's not any spice that you would normally use in a Indian dish, I have looked at hundreds of recipes, and haven't found anything I haven't used before. I look forward to your reply many thanks Jacqueline.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

I think the overpowering aroma is Kasoori Methi which is used in a lot of Indian restaurants and has a very distinct aroma. It is used in quite a few of my recipes too. Thanks Dan


Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Dear Dan, thank you so very much for this lovely, delightful site!!!

I have a question, please:

In your recipe "Vindaloo Curry Sauce" – the recipe asks for: "300ml (1¼ c) base sauce" – does this mean the "Curry Gravy Recipe" (the ENTIRE recipe)? Because there is garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika & ground turmeric listed in both recipes.

"Curry Gravy Recipe" 900 (2 lbs) (about 7) Spanish onions, roughly chopped 250 (1 c) canola oil 1 t salt 110g (¼ lb) carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 60g (2⅛ oz) cabbage, roughly chopped 85g (3 oz) red pepper (bell pepper), deseeded and diced 85g (3 oz) green pepper (bell pepper), deseeded and diced 200g (1 c) about 4 chopped tomatoes 5 T garlic and ginger paste 1½ T garam masala (see page 00) 1½ T ground cumin 1½ T ground coriander 1½ T paprika 1 T ground fenugreek (optional) ½ T ground turmeric

Thank you so very much! Very kind greetings – Uschi

Dan Toombs

Monday 15th of August 2022

Thanks for your message. Yes, use 300 ml of the base sauce, it gives another layer of flavour. You can always play with the recipe a bit and omit any ingredients you may find overpowering. Dan


Sunday 6th of February 2022

I have a copy of your Curry Bible, amazing book, I’m using up some masalas and powders I’ve created before but they ran out. For this recipe and for your curry powder recipe from the book how big are the Indian bay leaves you’re using please, they ones I have are about 7 inches long, is that normal for these leaves?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

Yes, Indian bay leaves can be quite large. They sound right. I am glad you are enjoying my book. Thanks Dan


Monday 27th of December 2021

Hi Dan, I love this Vindaloo. I've mostly used your pre-cooked lamb for this. Will be trying with chicken & maybe prawn next. Can I just ask, it seems quite unusual for one of your recipes to have no Garam Masala added at the end. Is this deliberate or an omission in this recipe?

Dan Toombs

Monday 27th of December 2021

I tend to vary the recipes but go ahead and sprinkle garam masala on at the end. Thanks very much. Dan

Chris H

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Hi Dan, Every year my 2 best friends and I focus on one food to perfect - Year Of The (insert food here).

2020 - Year Of The Pizza - perfected over 73 homemade pizzas 2019 - Year Of The Burger - 86x Meals of burger, predominantly homemade. 2018 - Year Of The Sausage - didn't keep count but it was an awful lot of homemade sausages and sausage related meals. 80-90 I expect.

2021 is Year Of The Curry and I bought your Curry Guy book at Christmas in preparation. As of 20th May I'm on 27x homemade curries, predominantly but not exclusively recipes from your book. I just wanted to say:

A. I have had such a good time with my 4yr old son so far this year making your curries - he loves the pictures in your book and getting involved in measuring out the spices, stick-blending the gravy and barbecuing the tandoori chicken in bulk etc. B. We have saved hundreds of pounds so far this year through using your book. Curry is my wife's takeaway of choice and we might spend about £55 per month on a couple of meals. We have literally not had a single takeaway curry in 2021 and its unlikely we will again. Your book has allowed me to cook multiple curries at once, in a short space of time with minimal prep which are just as good as our local curry house. C. In a few weeks we will be having our second child and the most important bit of prep (that we have agreed on) is to ensure the freezer is well stocked with Curry Guy ingredients.

To anybody else reading this note who has not bought the book - I cannot recommend it enough. Dan's recipes are simple and straightforward, and whilst you might initially look at a recipe and think "I don't have any of that stuff" , once you've spent a few quid on stocking up on spices and invested a few hours in prepping large batches of meat, sauce, purees and fried things, you can whack together pretty much anything in about 15mins. This book knocks the spots off Jamie's 15/30 Minute Meals or anything like long as you like curry!!

Thanks, Chris.

Gail Dowling

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

@Dan Toombs, Hi there Dan Toombs can you please send me a bbq vindaloo sauce recipe or even asian style, i do lots of cooking we never eat rubbish food takeaways etc, I have a thai recipe for homemade patties for orderves and i want a lovely sauce to have with it.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Hi Chris Thank you very much for your message. I am so pleased you are loving my recipes and that your son is being introduced to them too. A huge bonus that you are saving money! Very good luck with the birth of your second child and I hope that he/she gets the curry bug too! Cheers Dan

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