Chicken vindaloo

This is the signature Goan dish that everyone is familiar with. I got the recipe from ‘660 Curries’ by Raghavan Iyer. The uniqueness of the dish is that the pieces of chicken are first seared and then deglazed with vinegar, which tenderizes the meat and also adds tartness to the curry. When you deglaze the pan, it takes on a beautiful burgundy color…and then you add the coconut milk, which adds a great richness to it. The browning and deglazing are clearly western techniques, whereas the spices and the coconut milk are the Indian touch. A perfect blend of cultures and flavors..just like the place where the dish, originated – Goa. That said, there is no prize for guessing that this is my entry to the ‘Flavors of Goa’ an event hosted at my blog, a series by Nayna.

2 tbsp canola oil
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
3 lbs chicken(I used thighs and drumsticks), cut into medium sized chunks – bigger than bite sized
3 small potatoes, cubed
1/4 cup vinegar(distilled white or apple cider)
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 can coconut milk
salt to taste

In a wide mouthed wok or kadai over medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onion and saut until golden brown. Push the onion to the sides of the wok, making room for the chicken pieces. Working in batches, place the chicken in a single layer. Do not touch or move it around(this was the hardest part of this recipe for me). Flip it after about 4 minutes, when one side is browned. Let the other side brown. Drizzle more oil if required. Remove the browned chicken and repeat with the next batch. Some of the chicken will get stuck to the pan, this is expected.

When all the chicken has been browned and removed, pour the vinegar into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. This is where I saw magic happen…the vinegar turns this beautiful burgundy color. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, coriander, cumin, chilli powder, paprika and salt. Bring this to a simmer, until the oil seperates to the top, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken back in along with the potatoes. Remember, the chicken is browned only on the outside and not cooked through. Add the coconut milk and enough water to bring the curry to desired consistency. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked and potates are tender.

Verdict: Before trying this recipe, I was afraid the sauce would have a vinegary flavor, but no. The coconut milk adds a unique richness which is cut by the mild almost untraceable tartness from the vinegar. This curry involves no grinding, no tomatoes and is so easy that even a bachelor could make it.

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  1. Anand

    Hello, all my life I have been adding natural yogurt to my curries and vindaloo to make the gravy and never thought coconut milk would do the trick as well. Thank you, the receipe is great and yes I am a bachelor

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