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Goan Chicken Vindaloo

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This is an authentic Goan chicken vindaloo that you can easily prepare at home.

No need to go to Goa! Well, actually there is as it’s amazing there, but you can make this traditional Goan chicken vindaloo at home and that’s almost as good. Goan vindaloo is normally prepared with pork but chicken, beef, buffalo and duck are also popular proteins used in the curry.

Goan chicken vindaloo, like the others is delicious served simply over plain white Basmati rice.

Goan chicken vindaloo curry

What is Goan chicken vindaloo curry?

Goan Chicken Vindaloo Curry is a fiery and flavoursome dish that originates from the sunny coastal state of Goa in India. You might already know that the curry has Portuguese roots. 

In fact, you might like to try the original Portuguese version of vindaloo called pork vinho d’alhos.  

This Goan adaption combines tender chicken with a tangy and robust blend of spices, making it a favourite among spice enthusiasts and curry lovers alike.

About this recipe Goan chicken vindaloo recipe

Travelling around Goa, I was introduced to so many amazing curries and grilled meats and fish. You are going to get the perfect vindaloo experience with this recipe because that’s where I learned it.

When you toast and grind the spices and marinate the chicken in the special Goan marinade, you can know that you are making a Goan chicken vindaloo just as they do in Goa.

In fact, your chicken vindaloo might even be better. It’s a lot easier to cook a chicken vindaloo for 4 than it is for a restaurant full of hungry tourists! In addition, you can adjust the spicing so that your vindaloo tastes exactly as you like it.

Which cuts of chicken are best?

This is really down to you and your personal preference. That said, you will achieve a more authentic tasting and looking Goan chicken vindaloo if you use chicken on the bone. The bones add to the flavour of the sauce.

Many people do not like chicken on the bone in a curry so feel free to use boneless pieces if you prefer.

For flavour reasons, you should consider using thigh meat but chicken breast is also a good option. 

Can you work ahead?

You sure can! This Goan chicken vindaloo, like so many popular curries can be prepared a few days ahead of serving. Then all you need to do is heat it up and serve.

If making the whole curry ahead of time doesn’t appeal to you, you could prepare the spice blend a couple of days ahead of cooking.

Can you marinate the chicken overnight?

I don’t recommend marinating the chicken for longer than 3 hours. This is an acid based marinade without any yoghurt. Acidic marinades have a tendency to break down and tenderise the meat a little too much if left on it too long.

How long will Goan chicken vindaloo keep in the fridge?

You can store this curry in the fridge for at least 3 days before serving. In fact, as it sits, covered in the fridge, the flavours will develop even more and your Goan chicken vindaloo will be even better when you serve it.

Can you freeze this curry?

That isn’t a problem at all. In fact some people think it tastes better when frozen up to six months. Go for it!

How do you reheat this curry?

You could place it in your microwave but for best results, heat it up slowly in a saucepan until the sauce is hot and your chicken is heated through.

If you are reheating from frozen, be sure to defrost it completely before reheating.

What is the secret to the perfect Goan chicken vindaloo?

The secret to a delicious Goan Chicken Vindaloo Curry lies in the slow and careful cooking process. After marination, the chicken is cooked with a base of onions, tomatoes, and additional spices.

The combination of spices, along with the tanginess from vinegar, creates a tantalizing and well-balanced flavour that’s to die for. The dish is simmered gently until the chicken becomes tender and the flavours meld together, creating a mouthwatering curry that is perfect for spice enthusiasts.

Does this vindaloo have to be really spicy?

Nope! If you are not a spicy food fan, don’t just pass this vindaloo recipe by because you think it will be too spicy!

There are so many other delicious ingredients that go into a proper vindaloo. In fact, you could make this curry with far less chilli powder and chillies or even omit them completely.

Remember, you’re making this to your taste preferences so feel free to taste and adjust as you go.

Step by step photos of Goan chicken vindaloo

Ingredients for chicken vindaloo

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. There are a lot of them and it will be much easier.

Toasting the spices for chicken vindaloo marinade.

Toast your spices over a medium heat until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking.

The ground vindaloo spice blend.

Allow the spices to cool some and then grind into a fine paste in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.

Blended marinade ingredients.

Add the remaining marinade ingredients to the spice powder and blend to a thick paste.

Chicken marinating in the vindaloo marinade.

Pour the marinade all over the chicken and rub it deep into the flesh

Frying slivered garlic.

Now add the oil to your pan and fry the slivered garlic until crispy and light brown. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

Fried garlic slivers

Your garlic should look something like this. Be careful not to burn it.

Frying mustard seeds and curry leaves in oil.

Add more oil if needed and stir in the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, stir in the curry leaves.

Adding chopped onions to the pan.

Stir in the chopped onions and fry until they begin to turn a golden brown.

Adding chopped tomatoes to the pan

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir them in to the onions and add the bay leaf (cassia leaf) . Stir in some chilli powder too if you want your vindaloo really spicy.

Adding the chicken and its marinade along with enough water to cover.

Add the chicken and all the marinade. Swish some water in so that you get all the marinade and add it to the pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Simmering the curry in a covered pan.

Cover the pan and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

The finished Goan chicken vindaloo

To finish, continue simmering uncovered until you are happy with the consistency. Add curry leaves to garnish if you like. Adjust the spicing and add salt to taste.

Goan chicken vindaloo

Dig in!

Pro Tips for making Goan chicken vindaloo

  1. Marinate the chicken:  Marination is a crucial step in preparing Goan Chicken Vindaloo. To achieve maximum flavor, marinate the chicken pieces in the marinade for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours. This will infuse the meat with the tangy and aromatic flavors, resulting in a rich and well-seasoned dish.
  2. Balance the Spices: Goan Chicken Vindaloo is known for its spicy kick, but it’s important to balance the heat with other flavors. You want to taste as you go. Feel free to adjust the spicing to taste. With this in mind, be sure that you don’t add too much chilli powder unless you love spicy curries. Stir it in to taste at the end of cooking if uncertain.
  3. Slow Cooking for Tender Meat: To achieve tender and succulent chicken in your Goan Chicken Vindaloo, you need to cook it gently and slowly. After marination, cook the chicken on low to medium heat to allow the flavours to develop and the meat to become tender. The slow simmering process allows the spices and marinade to infuse into the chicken, resulting in a flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth texture. 

Yield: 4 - 6

Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Goan chicken vindaloo curry


  • 1kg (2 ¼ lbs) chicken thighs on the bone, skinned and chopped in half
  • 2 - 3 tbsp coconut or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves cut into slivers
  • 1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 onions – finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes – finely chopped (about 400g)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • Juice of one lime or to taste
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 inch cassia bark stick
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 green chillies – finely chopped
  • 75ml red wine vinegar (plus more if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (or another two tablespoon of vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste


  1. Start by preparing the marinade. Place all the spices except the turmeric in a dry frying pan over medium heat and roast until they become fragrant and warm to the touch but are not yet smoking. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly and then pour the spices in a food processor with the turmeric and grind to a fine powder. You could also use a pestle and mortar but that's a lot more work.
  2. Add the chillies, vinegar, tamarind concentrate, brown sugar, garlic and ginger and blend to a smooth vindaloo marinade paste. Put the chicken in a large bowl with the marinade and stir well to combine. Leave the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, heat the oil in a saucepan, large frying pan or wok over low heat.
  4. Add the garlic slivers and allow to cook gently for about 10 minutes. It is important not to burn the garlic so watch it carefully. Transfer the garlic with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
  5. Using the same oil, heat your pan over medium high heat until the oil is beginning to shimmer. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, stir in the curry leaves. Fry for about 30 seconds until the curry leaves are very fragrant and then toss in the chopped onions.
  6. Fry for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions. This will help release moisture from them.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, bay leaves and the chicken with its marinade to the pan and then pour in just enough water to cover.
  8. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Give it all a good stir and then cover the pan to continue simmering over a medium heat for a further 8 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue simmering to reduce the sauce and thicken it some.
  9. To serve, stir in the fried garlic. Try the curry and add salt to taste. You can also adjust other spicing at this time such as additional chilli powder. Just be sure to simmer it in the sauce for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flavour. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1002mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 15gProtein: 14g

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I hope you enjoy this authentic Goan chicken vindaloo recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’m also happy to answer any recipe questions you might have.


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

One of the best Vindaloo’s ever!! It took a bit to prepare with the marinade, but it is really worth it!!

I need to make an effort and write more reviews. I promise Dan, I will 😍x

Dan Toombs

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Thanks very much, great to hear and obviously more good reviews would be great! Dan

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