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In Mumbai, sweet chilies and vinegar pack bold, easy flavor into a one-pan meal
Milk Street Bowtie Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

Appears in May-June 2020

1 hour 20 minutes

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Chicken Vindaloo

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Vindaloo, an Indian dish of Portuguese influence, typically is associated with the state of Goa on India’s southwestern coast, but the curry is popular in other areas of the country and the world over. Vindaloo, which often is made with lamb or chicken, is notable for tangy flavor from vinegar, a generous dose of garlic and a hit of spice from dried chilies. The Kashmiri chilies used in India are vibrantly colored with moderate heat; we found a mixture of sweet paprika and cayenne to be a good substitute. Serve with basmati rice. If you can find Kashmiri chili powder online, substitute 4 teaspoons for the paprika and cayenne.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t worry if the chicken sticks to the pot immediately after it is added. Allow it to cook undisturbed and it eventually will release with ease. And don’t be afraid to allow the chicken and puree to brown as they cook. This brings out the flavors in the spices and tames the pungency of the aromatics, yielding a sauce that tastes full and round.

1 hour 20 minutes

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
12 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 whole cloves or ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
2½ teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons neutral oil
Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings, to serve
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve
Ingredients
  • ¼

    cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 2

    tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 4

    whole cloves or ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

  • teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 2

    teaspoons cumin seeds

  • ½-1

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved

  • 2

    tablespoons neutral oil

  • Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings, to serve

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve

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Reviews
Suzanne L.
July 11, 2022
Better than take out
My daughter made this and her roommate said it was better than he had had in a restaurant, lol. It’s always reliably delicious for me. Love to make it with the Dal Tarka.
Tricia S.
July 3, 2022
Meets all expectations of YUM
I made this just as written, and it was so delectable. We like heat, so I did slice a jalapeño over my side of sautéed vegetables and scooped them up with the chicken and a side of basmati rice. The extra vinegar at the end rounded out the flavors of the chicken; don't be afraid to add it in.
Dennis D.
June 9, 2022
Wonderful take on Vindaloo
Delicious! Despite the number of ingredients, not too complicated to make.
Tom C.
July 7, 2022
Delicious
I’ve made this several times following recipe as written. It’s delicious.
Sandra M.
June 12, 2022
Amazing flavors
This is a regular in our household. The flavors are astonishingly good. Over time I have changed the technique though and am happier with the result. I use skinless bone-in thighs, which I sear first. Remove. Gently saute micro-planed ginger and garlic. Add all spices except paprika, sugar and salt. Bloom (paprika gets gritty when cooked in oil). Then add back chicken. Add water, vinegar, paprika, sugar and salt. Cook as directed from there.
Janine W.

This was reallllly delicious. The whole family ate it up. My only feedback was that it personally was a tad too spicy for me. I did use the 1/2 tsp of cayenne, which was the recipe's minimum amount. Next time, I will cut it to 1/4 tsp. Will definitely make it again and saving it on my recipe box :)

Ann S.

I made the chicken Vindaloo, only with lamb instead. My husband and I both loved it. I was fortunate to have the Kashmiri chili powder on hand (I ordered it online earlier this year). We had the Vindaloo with rice, cucumbers and yogurt, which tamed the heat a bit. I was thrilled that it came out looking just like the picture, complete with chopped cilantro and jalapeños.

Cathryn E.

Very tasty and not difficult to make. 1/4 tsp. of cayenne left a warmth at the end of a bite. We will be making this again. Cucumber and cilantro were pleasant contrasts. Careful, the spices stain!

Alexis H.

We made it last night and loved the flavor. We found that even 30 minutes on medium-low in our Dutch oven was too much. We lost a lot of the sauce to the bottom of the pan! I might consider making extra sauce or perhaps cooking at an even lower temp.

Barbara L.

I made this dish last night served with naan bread and basmati rice. So easy, simple yet incredibly delicious, its a keeper.

Stephanie W.

This was incredible. It does take longer than 1 hour 20 minutes. That’s cook and Marinade time. You need to add time to trim and cut your chicken and make sauce. Well worth it. About 1 hour 45 minutes total for me. I used 3/4 teaspoon cayenne ( called for 1/2-1 tsp). It had a good bit of kick. Taste it before you chomp into a jalapeño with it. I also did not use the cinnamon, mom can’t have it and it’s only 1/8 teaspoon. This is going in my regular rotation. I’m thinking of premeasuring and make a mix of the dry ingredients it is so good. Enjoy! Happy cooking....

Tom C.

Really enjoyed this. As Stephanie said taste it before you add the jalapeños. Don’t have a blender so used a food processor so lots of scraping. This is definitely going in the rotation. Has anyone tried this with pork tenderloin?

Lynne J.

I made this a couple nights ago exactly as written with 2 small exceptions: I have Kashmiri chili powder, but know that it is really hot. I knew that 4 tsp would be way too much, so I used 2 tsp Kashmiri and 2 tsp paprika, no cayenne. The only other change I made was to use diced pickled jalapenos to garnish instead of the fresh peppers. It worked really well, as the little extra vinegar pop was tasty. The whole dish was really delicious. I served it over some basmati rice with lots of cilantro(can't get enough). I will definitely make this again!

Scott P.

This was exceptionally tasty. To my liking, I used the full teaspoon of cayenne, but the desired fieriness was perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the brown sugar. I'm not sure why London curry houses add potatoes to theirs. This dish is perfect on its own.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EYBoOAsWoAAzs6s.jpg

Walter P.

Truly delicious. And for me, even as a frequent curry maker, this is a novel flavor, a new taste. We made it for two, halving only the chicken so there would be plenty of sauce left over. The second night, we browned and braised a pound of beef chuck cubes, and then simmered them in the sauce. Toward the end, we added 1/4 cup of half and half to add liquid and take the intensity down a notch.

Tricia S.

Great recipe; I cut up three large chicken breasts into large chunks and was a bit worried the white meat would dry out in the dish, but it came out perfectly. I added a little chicken stock to the simmering sauce, then removed the cooked chicken to reduce the sauce to the recommended thickness. We like heat and used a full tsp cayenne. I served it with a butternut squash recipe from another Indian cookbook, and Milk Street's Cumin-Coriander Potatoes with Cilantro. A feast!

Susan T.

Excellent! I like to serve over steamed broccoli (1 minute in the instant pot). Healthy and the broccoli really picks up the spice.

Jennifer R.

I've made this three times now, and it manages to surprise me each time with how beautifully delicious it is. I've used 1/2 tsp and 3/4 tsp cayenne. The 1/2 was for my mom who doesn't like as much heat but I prefer the 3/4 tsp and intend to try the full 1 tsp. Often heat can override the complex flavors but the use here seems to draw them out and amplify them. A very big hit with my family and I've been contracted to make more already! I've also made this for meal prep and it tastes no less delicious re-heated in portions for days after. Looking to try with the Kashmiri chili next time as well!

John B.

I don't normally bother to comment on recipes but this was so delicious and easy I have to. I made it using 2 lbs of pork shoulder cut into big cubes (2") and it was fantastic. Next time I'm using 3 lbs of meat because it got gobbled up so fast there are no leftovers for my lunch. My kids only handle mildly spicy so I used just 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. The sauce is so well-spiced and flavorful that I didn't miss the extra heat. I also didn't put in the vinegar at the end -- the sauce tasted so good I didn't want to change a thing.

Lori O.

I have made this at least a dozen times in the past few months. It is absolutely delicious and not complicated at all to make. Recommend it to all! A real treat!!

Chuck C.

This is a keeper. The flavor was great. However braising the chicken thigh meat for 35 minutes at medium-low was too long -- it came out dry and chewy. I will make this again but cook it for less time. I also would have preferred more sauce, so I will adjust accordingly.

William D.

outstanding flavour. I incresased my cook time by 15 minutes, but wow, so good

Jonathan L.

This is great. A variation that possibly affected the outcome -- I needed to do something with a lb. of mushrooms before they started going mushy so I browned them off and dumped them in the pot for the long simmer. This may be responsible for my comments: a TINY bit too sweet overall and not quite hot enough. I added a bit more cayenne and vinegar. Because of the mushrooms? Maybe. Or just personal taste. I'll find out next time I make this because, for sure, I will. BTW, I really liked the mushrooms in this.

Emily B.

I serve this over Milk Street’s Cilantro Rice. This has come into my main rotation because it’s incredibly delicious and super easy to prepare. And - word to the wise - this is not meant to be a taco filling, far from it. But I accidentally discovered it’s absolutely delicious that way: wrapped in a corn tortilla, with some diced avocado and whole milk yogurt on top. Do it - you won’t regret it.

Jessica G.

This is soooo good! The flavor is so delicious! Like others, I also lost a lot of sauce during my cook time even though my chicken texture was still great. Next time I will try cooking at a lower temperature and for a shorter time along with increasing the amount of sauce. I will definitely be making this again!

Gary S.

We made this last night after seeing the episode on TV and just Loved it! Most definitely will make this again. And reading the comments (all of which are so positive!) makes me think I want to try both lamb and pork for the protein. Thanks for this recipe.

Sona E.

Very Flavorful! I ended up adding more water during the simmer process as I didn't have enough sauce at the end. Will definitely make again!!

Carla F.

Has anyone tried cooking this in an electric pressure cooker?

Ramona W.

Made with pork tenderloin last night. It was delicious and much easier than another recipe that I have typically use. We had it on rice with the peppers and cilantro topper. Also made some quick pickled red onions to put on top, made for a nice contrasting crunch and vinegary bite.

Peter Chris S.

On my first attempt this burned badly-- the moisture evaporated from the pot, and I trusted that the recipe would work out without close attention. The second time I made some changes: used the mini-bowl of my food processor instead of the blender, which did a better job on the whole garlic cloves; switched from an All-Clad to a Le Cruset dutch oven, which had a tighter seal on the lid; lowered the heat from medium-low to low. Even so, the spices still scorched a little on the bottom of the pot, and after removing the lid at 35 minutes there was no need to cook any further-- the sauce was already fully reduced. All that said, the flavor is terrific, but you may want to watch it carefully as it nears the end of that initial 35 minute cook time. Even better may be to double all the spices and liquid to yield more sauce (which would be very welcome) and provide greater insurance against scorching.

Dawn L.

I have every ingredient to make this dish expect cumin seeds. My local grocery store doesn't have seeds so all I have is ground cumin. How much ground cumin should I use in place of the cumin seeds?

Lynn C.

Hi Dawn -

We generally recommend about half as much ground spice as whole. So, for this recipe, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Terry G.

I have looked and looked but I can't see Kashmiri chili powder as an ingredient in the recipe - are cooks substituting it for other spices?

Lynn C.

Hi Terry -

Kashmiri chili powder is traditionally used in this dish but somewhat hard to find in an average grocery store here in the U.S. so we used a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne in the recipe to substitute. However, if you have it you can substitute by adding 4 teaspoons of Kashmiri chili powder in place of the paprika and cayenne.

Best,
The Milk Street Team


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Chicken Vindaloo

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour 20 minutes

Tip

Don’t worry if the chicken sticks to the pot immediately after it is added. Allow it to cook undisturbed and it eventually will release with ease. And don’t be afraid to allow the chicken and puree to brown as they cook. This brings out the flavors in the spices and tames the pungency of the aromatics, yielding a sauce that tastes full and round.

Ingredients
  • ¼

    cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 2

    tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 4

    whole cloves or ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

  • teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 2

    teaspoons cumin seeds

  • ½-1

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved

  • 2

    tablespoons neutral oil

  • Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings, to serve

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve

Step 1 of 3

Combine Ingredients

¼
cup white vinegar
12
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1
inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2
tablespoons sweet paprika
2
tablespoons packed brown sugar
4
whole cloves or ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoons ground turmeric
2
teaspoons cumin seeds
½-1
teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼
teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved

In a blender, combine ¼ cup vinegar, garlic, ginger, paprika, sugar, cloves, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons water.


Puree until smooth, scraping the blender as needed. Pour into a medium bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Step 2 of 3

Cook Chicken

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and marinade, distributing in an even layer, then cook without stirring until the marinade has browned and the chicken releases easily from the pot, 5 to 9 minutes.


Stir, then add ⅓ cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Finish and Serve

2
tablespoons white vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings, to serve
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, increase to medium and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick enough that a spoon drawn through leaves a trail, about 8 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sliced chilies and cilantro.

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