“Boasting complex flavors, this recipe for The Best Chicken Vindaloo shows you the best and easiest way to put it all together”.
The making of The Best Chicken Vindaloo
Vindaloo, Vindaloo. Just the name is fun to say.
I've had Vindaloo in Indian restaurants before. A combination of meat cubes in a spicy sauce with chunks of potatoes generally served with a side of steamed basmati rice. But I never made it myself.
The other morning as I was doing my "homework" going through my Google+ communities to see what the other 250 gazillion food bloggers are cooking, photographing, and writing up, I came across a recipe for Chicken Vindaloo that sounded pretty darn tasty.
Tonight's dinner is planned.
But, as always, I must find more recipes for Chicken Vindaloo. I must investigate various techniques. Because, as is with music, there are many ways to put the same notes together to come up with something uniquely different. And my job, as I see it, is to come up with the best, and simplest, preparation for any recipe I share with you, whether it's my own, or someone else's.
If you go on the internet, you will find many recipes for Chicken Vindaloo; from YAWN, boring, to YIKES, difficult. Some have you marinate the chicken, some don't. Make a paste with the spices, or don't. Add sliced onions, or pulverize them. It can be very confusing to find just the right recipe.
Until you found me 🙂 And this recipe for The BEST Chicken Vindaloo.
Vindaloo is the Indian offspring of a Portuguese dish, "Carne de Vinha d'alhos" that was introduced when the Portuguese colonized India. The original Portuguese dish was made with pork, red wine, and garlic. The Indian people started adding more spice and peppers transforming this dish into something more curry-like. They replaced the wine with vinegar to give the sauce a sweet and sour taste. Potatoes were added at one point, probably to make the dish more cost-effective, less meat, more food, but many curries of India contain potato so it may be a cultural thing. As time went on different meats were used including lamb and chicken. A Vindaloo is traditionally served with Naan or rice. And once you taste this delish sauce, you will know why you want something to sop it up!
As I read, I jotted down the major elements of any recipe I liked. I liked the marinating of the meat. Marinating adds flavor. I like flavor. And since the marinade uses vinegar in it, it also changes the texture of the chicken, just like the buttermilk brine does for Simply the Best Fried Chicken. Instead of adding the spices at varying times throughout the cooking process, I put them all in the marinade, right at the beginning.
Done. Wipe hands on a towel. Put spices away.
My favorite way to marinate anything. In a zip-top bag.
I also prepared the onions two ways, one is pulverized and included in the marinade, the second way is to dice and lightly brown them. I think this adds a great depth of flavor and natural sweetness allowing me to omit the need to add sugar.
Boasting Complex Flavors
There are a lot of spices in this dish, and you can use them to varying degrees to achieve your personal level of taste. The finished dish, as written, was spicy, but not overly hot. While we were eating I mentioned to Brian that I just wanted to keep on eating and tasting. The complex flavors jumped to all the taste buds on my tongue. It was so good, I couldn't wait to have it again for lunch. And the great part about spices, they add flavor, but not calories!
Really, it was the best Chicken Vindaloo or Vindaloo I've ever had.
So try it soon. And as always, let me know what you thought of it. Comments and shares are appreciated.
The Best Chicken Vindaloo
- Please don't let the list of ingredients put you off it's all flavor. And if you cook from my site regularly, then you will find other places to use those spices again.
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into about 1-inch pieces (yes, you could use breast if you wanted, but I think the thighs cook up better)
- 1 large onion half in a rough chop, half diced, separated
- 4 large cloves garlic rough chop
- 1- inch knob of fresh ginger peeled and sliced
- 4 - 5 dried red chilies stemmed (seeds removed if you don't want too much heat) or 1 - 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam marsala
- ½ teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
- 1 ½ to 2 cups cubed potato size of cube is up to you, I did about 1 inch Any type of potato will work, but I like a waxy potato such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss or combo
- 1 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup diced tomatoes with juice, blended, or 1 cup tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro if desired
- Prepare the Marinade: In your blender or food processor, combine the rough chopped onion, along with the garlic, ginger, and red chilies. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the spices along with the vinegar; process until it is a fairly smooth paste, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Place the chicken pieces in a zip-top bag and add the marinade, smooching it around so that all the chicken is coated. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, better for more. (I did 4 hours).
- When ready to cook, in a sauté pan, heat the oil and ghee together over medium heat, when hot add the diced onions, along with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently until they just begin to brown around the edges, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the chicken, along with the marinade and cook for 5 minutes, stirring it around, then add the chicken stock and tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and lower the heat slightly, cook for ½ hour (if using thighs; if using breast, add the potato now so the breast doesn't get overcooked). Uncover the pan and add the potatoes; simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper, and heat (add a little more cayenne if you desire hotter). Garnish with cilantro, if using and serve with some steamed basmati rice (or other rice of your choice).