Chicken vindaloo step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Vindaloo is a traditional Goan curry made using meat marinated and cooked in aromatics and spices. This signature taste of this popular dish comes from the addition of vinegar to the masala base. The flavor of the curry base is very unique - pleasantly spicy, tangy, and mildly sweet.
Making chicken vindaloo is super easy - make the masala base, marinate the meat, and cook it. In fact, you can use any protein instead of chicken and follow this recipe albeit the cooking times will vary. Or make the vegetarian version of vindaloo using paneer.
Traditionally, it is made spicy but you can alter the heat as per your preference. While it does use lots of spices, the heat (from chilies) can be adjusted. My tried and tested recipe will give you perfectly balanced flavors - heat and strong flavors from spices that are balanced by a slight tang from vinegar - but neither of them is overpowering.
I love to make vindaloo in the instant pot as it takes less time and does not need monitoring. I am also including stovetop instructions if you do not have access to an Instant Pot.
Vindalu was first introduced by the Portuguese to India and was called "carene de vinha d'alhos", which meant meat preserved in garlic and wine. It was Indianized by the locals by replacing wine with vinegar and adding spices to it.
Vindaloo is gluten-free, dairy-free, and suitable for the keto diet. It is a very popular curry similar just like butter chicken. Serve it with pav bread (dinner rolls) for a delicious meal. It can also be served with naan or rice.
Read on for ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and useful tips to make chicken vindaloo at home that is better than any takeaway.
Chicken: Use boneless, skinless thigh pieces.
Spices: The spices that go into making the masala base are dried chili, whole coriander, whole cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. Ground turmeric is used when making the curry.
Souring agents: Both vinegar and tamarind paste are used in the masala paste.
Aromatics: Ginger and garlic are used in the masala paste. Onion is used when making the curry.
Sugar: A small amount of sugar is used which helps balance the tang and heat. It cannot be skipped.
To a blender, add the vindaloo paste ingredients - dried red chili, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and tamarind paste. Add ¾ cup of water and grind into a smooth paste (steps 1,2).
In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces. Pour the ground paste and mix well. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can also marinate it overnight in the refrigerator (steps 3,4).
Heat oil and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add ground turmeric. sugar, and salt (steps 5,6).
Add the marinated chicken and saute for 3 minutes (steps 7,8).
Add ½ cup of water. Mix well and deglaze the pot. Cancel saute mode and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 5 minutes (steps 9,10).
Do a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes, then do a quick release. Top with cilantro and serve (steps 11,12).
To make vindaloo chicken on a stovetop:
- Grind together dried red chili, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and tamarind paste.
- Add it to the chicken and mix well. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Take a thick bottom pan and heat oil.
- Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the ground turmeric, sugar, and salt. Saute for one minute.
- Add the marinated meat. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
- Add one cup of water and mix well.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 12-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
- Top with cilantro.
Marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes. You can also plan ahead and marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
Use Kashmiri red chili (or any dried chili that is mild). It gives a nice and bright color to the curry yet does not make it too hot.
You can store this curry in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It also freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
This dish works best with boneless and skinless chicken thigh pieces, that are cut into medium-sized pieces. If you want to use chicken breast, then pressure cook it for 4 minutes (instead of 5) and do a quick release of pressure.
If the curry is too thin after pressure cooking, set the Instant Pot back to saute mode for 4-5 minutes so that it can thicken. However, it usually thickens when cooled down so this step is purely optional.
Check out my collection of Instant Pot chicken recipes.
Traditionally, it is made spicy. While there are lots of spices used in making it, the heat from chilies can be adjusted as per your preference.
You can use any protein of your choice. The masala base remains the same while the cooking time varies. Making it with chicken is very popular but any other red meat like lamb, goat, pork, etc. can be used. Make a vegetarian version of vindaloo by using paneer.
This dish is:
- bursting with flavors,
- easy to make,
- adjustable as per liking,
- better than your takeaway vindaloo
For vindaloo paste:
- 8 dried red chili (Kashmiri or any mild version)
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5 cloves
- 4 cardamom
- 1 inch cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- ¾ cup water
For the curry:
- 2 lb chicken thigh boneless, skinless
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon cilantro
Make vindaloo paste and marinate:
- To a blender, add the vindaloo paste ingredients - dried red chili, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and tamarind paste.
- Add ¾ cup of water and grind into a smooth paste.
- In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces. Pour the ground paste and mix well.
- Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can also marinate it overnight in the refrigerator.
Making the curry:
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil.
- Once it heats, add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.
- Add ground turmeric. sugar, and salt.
- Add the marinated chicken and saute for 4-5 minutes.
- Add ½ cup of water. Mix well and deglaze the pot.
- Cancel saute mode and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 5 minutes.
- Do a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes, then do a quick release.
- If the curry is too thin, set the Instant Pot back to saute mode for 4-5 minutes.
- Top with cilantro and serve.