The Big Boys Curry Book

Pork Vindalho

Extracting sugar cane liquor, a typical market scene

There has been a serious amount of rubbish written about the Vindalho, so let us set some records straight.

  1. The Vindaloo that you get in most high street curry houses has got as much to do with Indian cooking as fish and chips has.
  2. Vindalho comes from Goa, India; not the Punjab Balti Hut, anywhere.
  3. The stuff you get in restaurants is not Vindalho, (usually.) Vindalho (or Vindaloo, whichever,) is a word derived from language of Portuguese Goa, Vin for Vinegar, Alho for Garlic. The idea was to create a dish that could keep and so vinegar was used as a preserver. Vinegar also acts to intensify chilli heat,(anyone who has tried chillies pickled in vinegar will know what I mean.)

The dish actually is better if cooked a day or 2 (max) before eating and kept in the fridge. This allows the meat to tenderise and for the flavour to become more rounded and full. I have tried a variety of vindalho recipes, some have used wine, some use a lot of vinegar, some require you to marinade the meat for days before hand, some throw in the chilli powder pot. Having tried this recipe, I hope you will agree that you need no other. The overall effect is hot, sour but also slightly sweet. I like this with plain rice and a fresh plain yoghurt.

Warning. This dish is chilli hot and is intended to be so.

The recipe is for 4 persons


Spice Paste

  • 10 whole red dried chillies (kashmiri if you can get them). Deseed them if you wish. Soak in hot water for 10 mins.
  • 2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. cummin
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp. poppy seed
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger puree
  • 1 tsp. garlic puree
  • 1/2 tbsp. tamarind puree (Tamicon)
  • 3 tsp. malt vinegar. (If you can get Goan or Parsee vinegar use that instead)


Spice Paste

  1. Grind all spice paste ingredients together to form a paste. You can make the paste in batches and freeze it for later use.

The Rest

  1. Rub a little spice paste into meat and marinade for about an hour.
  2. Fry onion in oil until browned
  3. Reduce heat and add spice paste and fry for 5 minutes adding a little water as necessary to stop it sticking to pan, (keep stirring.)
  4. Add meat and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add 2 cups of water, salt and jaggery (or sugar) and simmer until meat is tender.
  6. Add curry leaves and char masala and cook for another 5 minutes.

The dish can now be eaten but to get the best from it, allow it to cool in the pan, transfer to a covered bowl and leave in the fridge for a day or two.

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