Skip to Content

Chicken Vindaloo From Scratch

Sharing is caring!

 Make chicken vindaloo from scratch! No base sauce required.

Many people want to make British Indian restaurant (BIR) style curries but can’t be fussed with preparing the ‘essential’ base sauce. That smooth onion based sauce or gravy is used at curry houses around the UK to prepare everything from the mildest korma to the spiciest phaal.

Here I would like to show you how you can make top quality, curry house style chicken vindaloo from scratch without the need to make a base sauce first.

No base sauce needed! Make this delicious vindaloo from scratch today.

What do you serve chicken vindaloo with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans.

Want to start your chicken vindaloo meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

Which cut of meat?

You could use chicken thighs or breasts for this vindaloo recipe. I prefer thigh meat as it has more flavour. Breast meat is more popular at restaurants because it’s white meat and perhaps a bit nicer in appearance.

Breast meat is usually more expensive and has less flavour.

Do I have to use chicken in this recipe?

Nope! You can use the protein of your choice.

I used pre-cooked tandoori chicken tikka this time which I cooked up on my barbecue, froze and defrosted for this curry.

You could cook the chicken from raw but you will need to add a little more stock or water and simmer it until it cooks through. Personally, I prefer using tandoori chicken tikka though as the marinated and grilled chicken adds another layer of delicious flavour.

You could also try beef, lamb or game. In my recipe rogan josh from scratch, I show how to cook tougher cuts of meat first until tender and then use the cooking stock in your curry. You could also go veggie and just add paneer or more potatoes and veggetables.

Want to try this chicken vindaloo curry exactly as it’s made at curry houses?

No problem. Here’s a good and authentic British Indian restaurant (BIR) vindaloo recipe for you.

A version of the above linked recipe for vindaloo with base sauce and many other popular curry house recipes are in my cookbook “The Curry Guy Bible’.

Step by step photographs of this chicken vindaloo from scratch recipe…

Ingredients for chicken vindaloo from scratch

get all your ingredients together before starting cooking. It’s easier.

Frying onions, garlic and ginger

Fry the onions until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 30 seconds.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Pour in the ground spices and stir into the onion mixture.

Adding chopped tomatoes and stock to the pan

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and about 125ml (1/2 cup) stock or water. Bring to a simmer and then allow to cool some.

Blending vindaloo sauce

Blend this sauce until very smooth.

Infusing spices in oil.

Wipe you pan clean and add the remaining oil. Stir in the whole spices and infuse for about 40 seconds.

Adding blended sauce to the pan

Add the chopped chillies and fry for about 30 seconds.

Simmering sauce

Bring to a simmer. If the sauce is looking too thick, add more water or stock. If too thin, cook it down.

Adding chicken tikka to pan

Add the chicken to the sauce. If using raw chicken, you will need to cook it through and perhaps add more water or stock to do so.

Adding potatoes to the sauce.

Add the potatoes, if using.

Finishing the chicken vindaloo from scratch

Season with salt to taste and stir in the kasoori methi, vinegar and sugar to taste.

Chicken vindaloo from scratch

Dig in!

If you like this chicken vindaloo from scratch recipe, you might like to try some of these ‘no base’ curries…

Chicken Chasni from Scratch
Rogan Josh from Scratch
Chicken Chilli Garlic from Scratch

Yield: 4

Chicken Vindaloo From Scratch

Chicken Vindaloo From Scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp picante paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 200g (chopped tomatoes) tinned (canned) fine
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 Asian bay leaf
  • 2 green bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 scotch bonnet chillies, finely chopped
  • 800g Pre-cooked tandoori chicken tikka or raw chicken
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces and boiled until cooked through (optional)
  • 2 tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 quartered limes to serve
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or karahi over medium high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, stir in the chopped onions and fry for about 7 minutes or until soft and light golden brown in colour.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for about 30 seconds and then add the ground spices. Move the spices around in the pan until the onions are nicely coated and then add the sugar and chopped tomatoes.
  3. Bring to a bubbling simmer and then add 125ml (1/2 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water. Allow to cool a little and then blend until smooth.
  4. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. No need to make it sparkly clean. Pour in the oil and place over a medium high heat.
  5. Add the cardamom pods, star anise and Asian bay leaf, if using and allow these spices to infuse into the oil for about 40 seconds. Then stir in the chopped chillies and fry for another 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in the blended sauce. At this stage, it will be a bit too thick. Pour in about 250ml unsalted chicken stock or water and bring to a simmer only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan.
  7. Around the edges of the pan, the sauce will begin to caramelise. When this happens, scrape it back into the sauce for additional flavour.
  8. Stir in the chicken and potato, if using and continue simmering until the chicken and potato are heated through and the sauce is as you like it. If too runny, cook it down. If too thick, add more water or stock.
  9. When you are happy with how your vindaloo is looking, stir in the vinegar and add the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers.
  10. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste. You can also add more sugar, chilli powder and/or chilli powder at this stage, again to taste. Serve hot topped with chopped coriander (cilantro) and the quartered limes for additional sour flavour.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 79gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 50gCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 8gSugar: 14gProtein: 108g

Did you like this recipe?

Please join me on Facebook where I share all my latest recipes and videos. Just click that Facebook icon on the left and let's get to know each other!

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


Monday 4th of March 2024

Thank you Dan for putting all these recipes online they've been indispensable in helping me learn to cook BIR style. Should the cardamom pods, star anise and bay leaf be left in the sauce or can they be taken out? If they're left in is it okay to grind them or used powdered versions instead?

Dan Toombs

Saturday 9th of March 2024

It’s fine to leave them in, you could try and get them out at the end or just warn guests about them. No need to grind them. You could also put them in a tied muslin cloth if you’re worried about them. Thanks very much. Dan


Tuesday 11th of April 2023

I used beef instead of chicken, and cooked the beef the way you instruct in the Beef Madras recipe. I have to say that this is the best vindaloo that I have ever tasted!! Every flavour just pops and leaves an amazing aftertaste. This recipe has gone to the top of my favourites.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 11th of April 2023

Great to hear, thank you for letting me know. Dan

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!