Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Recipe: Chicken Vindaloo

Chopstick Cinema

Vindaloo was introduced to India by Portuguese traders, who stored their meat rations aboard their ships in barrels of wine with garlic. When the Portuguese traders arrived in India, they used the native spices to season the meat they had brought with them. They called it vin d'alho, which means garlic wine, and the word evolved into the Indian language as vindaloo.

Although delicious, this version of Vindaloo is atypical in that it calls for coconut milk and whole grain mustard. Many Vindaloo recipes use water for the liquid ingredient, and mustard seeds ground into the Vindaloo paste. But since most whole grain mustards contain only mustard seeds, vinegar, and turmeric, these are all ingredients that are used in a ‘from scratch’ vindaloo paste, so it’s a tasty and convenient shortcut.

Main Ingredients: 2 pounds boneless pork or chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes 3 tablespoons ghee (see recipe) 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1 can unsweetened coconut milk Salt to taste

1 package flatbread (naan, pita, etc.)

Vindaloo Paste: 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced 1 knob ginger root, finely shredded 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon dried red chilies (more or less to taste) 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Combine the garlic, ginger, mustard, spices and vinegar in a bowl and stir to form a thin paste. Add meat and marinate for two hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Heat the ghee in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onion and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add the pork or chicken with vindaloo paste and stir-fry quickly to mix with the onions. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently until thickened, about 40 minutes. Serve with Rice Pilao and warm flatbread.

NOTE: For a more intense Vindaloo experience, use water instead of coconut milk, and add more chilies.