Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken Vindaloo
5 from 15 votes
Savour the vibrant and fiery flavours of our chicken vindaloo recipe, an authentic Indian dish with a tantalizing spice blend. This recipe not only tickles your taste buds but also takes you on a culinary journey of its rich history.
Chicken Vindaloo

As I dip my naan into a simmering pot of Chicken Vindaloo, I feel as if I’m embarking on a time machine, retracing the footsteps of spice traders who carried Indian flavours across the globe.  

The heady aroma, the vibrant red colour, the lingering spice on the palate – there’s an intricate tapestry of history behind this fiery dish, and I can’t help but feel a bit adventurous each time I prepare it. 

Our protagonist today, Chicken Vindaloo, has a rich backstory that dates back to the time of the Portuguese colonial rule in India. “Vindaloo” is derived from the Portuguese “vinha d’alhos,” translating to “wine and garlic.”  

The Portuguese mariners, voyaging the high seas, carried barrels of pork preserved in wine and garlic.  

When they landed on India’s shores, the dish underwent a culinary metamorphosis under the influence of local Goan chefs, who replaced wine with vinegar and added a host of Indian spices.  

The result was the creation of the celebrated Vindaloo, and over centuries, various meats including chicken have been used in its preparation. 

Moving away from history and diving into the heart of our Chicken Vindaloo, this recipe, I must admit, does require a bit of commitment. Rated as a moderate to challenging recipe, it’s not necessarily the complexity but the layering of flavours that make it a bit tricky.  

However, trust me, the challenge is definitely worth the result. As you work your way through each step, you’ll understand how the flavours build, layer upon layer, culminating in a dish that is both spicy and comforting. 

The Chicken Vindaloo journey begins with the creation of a rich vindaloo paste – a vibrant, fiery concoction of dried Kashmiri chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds that, when blended with garlic and ginger, lays the foundation of this classic recipe.  

After setting this aside, the next stage involves sautéing onions until lightly browned, adding in ripe tomatoes, and building the flavour profile further with an array of spices.  

The chicken pieces are then cooked until they change colour, and the vindaloo paste makes its grand entrance, followed by a patient simmer to allow the flavours to meld and marry. 

Now, every time I make this recipe, there is a certain anticipation as I lift the lid after the simmer, releasing a cloud of aromas – the tanginess of the vinegar, the heat of the chillies, and the earthiness of the cumin.

It’s at this moment, as I garnish the dish with a handful of freshly chopped coriander, that I truly appreciate the journey that Chicken Vindaloo has taken, from the trading ships of the Portuguese to the vibrant streets of Goa, to my kitchen. 

With this recipe, my aim is not just to help you master Chicken Vindaloo, but to appreciate the rich tapestry of culinary history that it represents. This dish, laden with flavours and spices, is a testament to cultural exchanges and the evolution of food.  

And as you tuck into your plate of Chicken Vindaloo, served over a bed of fluffy rice or scooped up with warm naan, remember, you’re not just enjoying a meal, but a journey across time and cultures. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Crafting the perfect Chicken Vindaloo is an art that requires a beautiful blend of spices and flavours. This authentic Goan dish is a celebration of the distinct flavours that form the heart of Indian cuisine.  

In this delectable curry, the combination of spices not only contributes to the taste but also introduces a variety of health benefits.  

Each ingredient, carefully chosen, comes together to offer a gastronomical experience that transcends the ordinary. Let’s dive into a comprehensive breakdown of these ingredients

Whole Kashmiri Chillies: Kashmiri chillies form the base for the vindaloo paste and are key to the dish’s signature red colour and balanced heat. They are mildly hot but impart a vibrant colour, which makes your vindaloo visually appetizing. If unavailable, you could substitute them with paprika for colour and cayenne pepper for heat. 

Cloves, Black Peppercorns, and Cumin Seeds: These three act as the trinity of warming spices. They each have their unique flavours, from the robustness of cumin to the sweet pungency of cloves, and the sharp heat from black peppercorns.  

These spices not only give the vindaloo its aromatic profile but also aid digestion. If needed, you can substitute them with their ground versions. 

Garlic and Ginger: These form the aromatic foundation of the vindaloo paste. Garlic imparts a savoury depth, while ginger adds a zesty freshness.  

Both possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, making them beneficial to health. If fresh ones are unavailable, garlic and ginger powders can be used, but they won’t provide the same freshness. 

Chicken: The star protein in this recipe is chicken. The vindaloo paste penetrates the chicken, ensuring every bite is infused with flavour. It’s a lean protein source, offering a good amount of essential vitamins and minerals.  

If you prefer, you could substitute chicken with lamb or beef, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. 

Oil: This is used to sauté the onions and is crucial in releasing the flavours of the spices. You could use any neutral oil, or even coconut oil for a distinct flavour profile. 

Onion and Tomatoes: These form the base of our curry, providing body and natural sweetness that balances the heat from the spices. They are a rich source of dietary fibre and essential vitamins. 

Vinegar: This adds a distinct tanginess that is characteristic of vindaloo. Besides flavour, vinegar also aids in marinating the chicken, tenderizing it. If unavailable, lemon juice can serve as a good alternative. 

Salt, Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Crushed Chilli: These are critical for seasoning. 

 Salt enhances other flavours, chilli powder adds heat, turmeric provides a beautiful colour and medicinal qualities, while cumin powder brings a warm, earthy flavour. You can adjust the quantity of these according to your taste preference. 

Tomato Puree: This lends a tangy sweetness and a deep, rich colour to the vindaloo. In its absence, you can use canned tomatoes or fresh tomato pulp. 

Coriander: Fresh coriander leaves offer a refreshing contrast to the rich, spicy vindaloo. Apart from its aromatic flavour, coriander is packed with antioxidants. If you are not a fan of coriander, fresh parsley can serve as a substitute. 

Chicken Vindaloo is a symphony of flavours, where every note played by each ingredient contributes to a harmonious melody.  

From the distinctive spices to the hearty chicken, all work in tandem to create a dish that isn’t merely nourishing, but an experience that transports your taste buds to a realm of culinary bliss. 

Chicken Vindaloo is not merely a dish; it is an opus, a culinary masterpiece that celebrates the artistry of Indian cuisine and invites you to savour every moment in its delectable journey. 

Unravelling the Intricacies of Chicken Vindaloo  

Chicken vindaloo holds a special place in my heart. As an iconic dish of Indian cuisine, it captivates the senses with a blend of tangy and fiery flavours. The name vindaloo stems from the Portuguese term “vinha d’alhos”, denoting meat marinated in wine vinegar and garlic.  

Over time, the dish evolved to include regional Indian spices and ingredients, becoming a staple in the western Indian region of Goa. 

This adaptation caters to diverse dietary preferences without compromising the signature vindaloo flavour profile.  

Key to this recipe is the vindaloo paste, made by blending dried Kashmiri chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger. This paste infuses the chicken with a deep, robust flavour that harmonizes with the tanginess of the vinegar and the fresh zest of coriander. 

To prepare this recipe, start by creating a smooth vindaloo paste. Then, sauté onions in hot oil until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, letting them soften before incorporating the spices: salt, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder, and chilli flakes.  

After these ingredients have melded together, the chicken pieces are added. Once the chicken has changed colour, the vindaloo paste and water are introduced. Let the dish simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes. The final touch, a sprinkle of finely chopped coriander, adds a burst of freshness. 

While the recipe might seem complex, each step unravels more layers of the vindaloo’s tantalizing flavour.  

Chicken vindaloo makes a versatile centrepiece for any meal, pairing excellently with sides like rice or naan bread. Once you’ve prepared this dish, the intricate melding of flavours will undoubtedly have you, and your loved ones, coming back for more. 

The Spice Spectrum of Chicken Vindaloo   

If there’s one thing that has defined my experiences with Chicken Vindaloo, it’s the spice. Indian cuisine is often renowned for its wide spectrum of spicy dishes, and Chicken Vindaloo is a shining example.  

This dish masterfully combines heat, tang, and an array of other flavours, making it an absolute treat for the palate. 

At its core, Chicken Vindaloo derives its heat from a blend of dried Kashmiri chillies, black peppercorns, and chilli powder. These spices confer a significant kick to the dish, marrying beautifully with the tanginess of the vinegar.  

To those unfamiliar, the spiciness might be surprising at first, but it’s this unique spiciness that makes Chicken Vindaloo such a beloved dish. 

However, it’s essential to note that the spice level can be adjusted to cater to different preferences. For example, the number of Kashmiri chillies and black peppercorns can be reduced for a milder version.  

On the other hand, heat-seekers can add extra chilli powder or even incorporate hotter varieties of chillies. 

Personally, I’ve found that the spice level of Chicken Vindaloo enhances rather than overwhelms its taste. The heat creates a pleasing contrast with the tangy and savoury elements of the dish, and together, they offer an unforgettable flavour profile. 

The spiciness of Chicken Vindaloo can vary based on personal preference. It can be customized to a heat level that best complements your palate. From my experience, whether it’s mild or fiery, the dish always delivers an explosion of flavour. 

Chicken Vindaloo and Kashmiri Chillies  

Having been an aficionado of Chicken Vindaloo for some time now, I understand that certain ingredients can be hard to find, especially Kashmiri chillies. While they lend a unique heat and colour to the dish, I believe that culinary exploration should not be restricted due to ingredient availability. 

In the absence of Kashmiri chillies, other varieties of dried red chillies can be employed. I have experimented with using dried guajillo or ancho chillies, which resulted in a flavour profile that was subtly different but delightful.  

Guajillo chillies offer a mild heat with sweet undertones, while ancho chillies contribute a rich, slightly smoky flavour. 

Another alternative could be using a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne pepper. Sweet paprika delivers the vibrant colour characteristic of Chicken Vindaloo, and cayenne pepper imparts the requisite heat.  

While the flavour will vary from the traditional version, this substitution can create a delicious interpretation of Chicken Vindaloo. 

Regardless of the chilli substitution, the core of Chicken Vindaloo remains the same – a harmonious interplay of tang, heat, and robust flavours. In the process of finding alternatives, I’ve discovered that each brings a unique twist to the dish, making the Chicken Vindaloo journey all the more exciting. 

Kashmiri chillies, while they add a distinctive touch to Chicken Vindaloo, are not the only route to a delightful dish. Remember, cooking is an art of innovation and flexibility, and substitutions can often lead to delightful surprises. 

Journey Through the Preparation Time of Chicken Vindaloo   

In my culinary adventures, one aspect that’s always of interest is the time it takes to prepare a dish. Chicken Vindaloo, in particular, can seem like a complex recipe, but with the right planning, it’s quite manageable. 

From start to finish, preparing Chicken Vindaloo can take about an hour. The process begins with the creation of the Vindaloo paste, which involves blending Kashmiri chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger.  

This takes about 10 minutes. Then, the cooking process begins. Sautéing the onion and tomatoes takes about 8-9 minutes. Adding the spices and chicken, then letting them cook, takes approximately another 9-10 minutes. Lastly, simmering the mixture with the vindaloo paste and water takes about 20 minutes.  

Finally, the garnishing step is done in a minute or two. So overall, you’re looking at approximately 50 minutes to an hour. 

However, the joy of cooking Chicken Vindaloo lies not in the rush, but in the process. Each step unravels the tantalizing flavour layers that define the dish. The fragrance that wafts through the kitchen during the preparation is an experience in itself. 

Exploring Meat Alternatives for Vindaloo  

As an advocate for versatile cooking, I often find myself experimenting with different ingredients for the dishes I love. Vindaloo, traditionally a pork-based dish, has seen several renditions, including the Chicken Vindaloo that we know and love. But what about other meats? 

Indeed, Vindaloo can be made with various proteins. Beef Vindaloo, for instance, is an incredibly hearty and flavourful alternative. The robustness of beef pairs well with the spice and tang of the vindaloo sauce, creating a comforting meal that’s perfect for a cosy night in. 

Lamb Vindaloo is another variant that’s worth exploring. Lamb’s distinct flavour melds beautifully with the Vindaloo spices, and the slow-cooked result is a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth dish that’s unforgettable. 

For seafood lovers, shrimp Vindaloo presents a lighter, yet equally flavourful, option. The shrimp absorbs the vindaloo spices well, offering a delightful contrast to its natural sweetness. The key with shrimp is to add them towards the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming rubbery. 

Each of these versions has its unique charm and flavour profile. It all boils down to personal preference and dietary needs. Whether it’s chicken, beef, lamb, or shrimp, the key to a good Vindaloo lies in the rich, tangy, and fiery sauce that holds it all together. 

Remember, cooking is an art, and art thrives on experimentation. Don’t hesitate to swap proteins and try out these variations. Who knows? You might just stumble upon your new favourite dish. 

Mastering a Vegetarian Version of Vindaloo  

As someone who constantly tinkers with recipes, I believe there’s no boundary to creating delicious meals, irrespective of dietary preferences. If you’re vegetarian or simply looking to explore plant-based options, a vegetarian vindaloo is a delightful experiment worth undertaking. 

In a vegetarian vindaloo, the chicken can be replaced with a variety of plant-based ingredients without sacrificing the dish’s robust flavour. Among my top picks are chickpeas, tofu, and hearty vegetables. 

Chickpeas, with their nutty taste and firm texture, stand out as a substantial alternative. They soak up the tangy, spicy vindaloo sauce while maintaining a satisfying bite. Simply substitute the chicken with canned or cooked chickpeas and follow the recipe as is. 

Tofu, another favourite of mine, works brilliantly in vindaloo. It absorbs the flavours of the sauce and gives a protein-packed dish. I recommend using firm tofu and adding it towards the end of the cooking process to maintain its structure. 

A vegetable vindaloo, featuring a mix of bell peppers, potatoes, and cauliflower, creates a colourful, nutrient-dense variant. Each vegetable adds its unique texture, making every bite a joy. 

Whichever route you choose, the secret to a flavourful vegetarian vindaloo lies in the paste—a blend of dried Kashmiri chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger—and the tang from the vinegar. This is what creates the vibrant, tongue-tingling sauce that Vindaloo is known for. 

Chicken Vindaloo: A Make-Ahead Delight  

One of the qualities I love about Chicken Vindaloo is how it lends itself beautifully to advance preparation. This flavourful dish is not only easy to make ahead of but also gets better with time, as the ingredients have more time to mingle and enhance each other. 

To make Chicken Vindaloo ahead of time, simply follow the recipe as written, then allow it to cool completely before storing it. I usually make the dish a day in advance, let it cool, and then refrigerate it in airtight containers.  

This process makes serving time stress-free and convenient, especially when hosting a gathering or planning meals for the week. 

An added bonus of preparing Chicken Vindaloo in advance is that it tends to taste even better the next day. The spices and flavours have extra time to infuse into the chicken, yielding a dish that’s rich, robust, and deeply satisfying. 

When you’re ready to serve the vindaloo, reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave. Ensure it’s heated through before serving, and be ready to wow your family or guests with a dish that tastes like you’ve been cooking all day.  

Garnish with some fresh coriander for a bright burst of flavour, and serve it alongside some steaming hot rice or naan bread for a complete, hearty meal. 

Chicken Vindaloo is a fantastic make-ahead dish that delivers convenience and flavour, making it an excellent choice for any occasion. 

Proper Storage and Shelf-Life of Leftover Chicken Vindaloo  

As an ardent lover of Chicken Vindaloo, I find that the dish’s magic doesn’t end with the meal. Leftovers of this flavourful curry can be safely stored and enjoyed later, proving that the dish can be a gift that keeps on giving. 

Once you have leftovers, allow the Vindaloo to cool down before transferring it into an airtight container. It’s important not to leave the dish at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.  

Once cooled and transferred, the Chicken Vindaloo can be refrigerated. In the fridge, it can last for about three to four days. I always look forward to these leftovers because the flavours continue to meld and intensify during this time 

When reheating, ensure that the Chicken Vindaloo is heated thoroughly, reaching an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). This can be done on the stovetop or in a microwave.  

I would recommend consuming the reheated dish immediately and not reheating it more than once to maintain food safety and quality. 

With proper storage and careful reheating, you can prolong the enjoyment of your Chicken Vindaloo. It’s not just a meal for a day, but a delight that can be savoured over multiple days, each time offering a burst of tangy, spicy, and utterly delicious flavours. 

Freezing and Reheating Chicken Vindaloo  

There are dishes that lend themselves beautifully to freezing, and Chicken Vindaloo is undoubtedly one of them. In my kitchen, preparing meals in bulk and freezing them for later use has been a game-changer, and Chicken Vindaloo fits perfectly into this routine 

After preparing the Chicken Vindaloo, allow it to cool completely before dividing it into freezer-safe containers or bags. Ensure you leave a bit of space at the top, as liquids expand when frozen.  

It’s also a good practice to label the containers or bags with the date of preparation. Properly stored, Chicken Vindaloo can last up to three months in the freezer without losing its flavour or texture. 

When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen Vindaloo, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Once it’s thawed, it can be reheated gently on the stovetop or in a microwave until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). Do remember to stir occasionally to ensure even heating. 

In my experience, Chicken Vindaloo retains its taste and texture pretty well after being frozen and reheated. The robust flavours continue to shine through, providing a comforting and delectable meal whenever you need it. 

Whether you want to prepare meals ahead of time or you just want to enjoy your favourite dish over a longer period, freezing Chicken Vindaloo is a fantastic option. It’s a testament to the dish’s versatility and enduring appeal, proving that great food can truly transcend boundaries and time. 

Complementing Your Meal with Sides for Chicken Vindaloo 

While Chicken Vindaloo is a star in its own right, I find that the accompaniments often serve to enhance the dining experience by providing contrast and complementing the robust flavours of the dish. Over time, I’ve discovered several sides that pair wonderfully with Chicken Vindaloo, each bringing its unique charm to the table. 

The classic side of Chicken Vindaloo, like many Indian curries, is rice. Steamed basmati rice is my go-to choice. Its delicate flavour and fluffy texture make it the perfect vehicle to soak up the vindaloo sauce, allowing the spices to truly shine. 

Naan bread is another excellent choice. This soft and slightly chewy Indian bread is ideal for scooping up the chicken and the flavourful sauce. You could also try other Indian bread like roti or paratha. They all bring a delightful textural contrast to the dish. 

If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your meal, a side of cucumber raita or a simple green salad works wonderfully. The cool and refreshing raita or salad provides a soothing contrast to the heat of the Vindaloo, creating a balanced meal. 

Roasted vegetables are another fantastic side option. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and beetroot, or even a mix of bell peppers, can withstand the robust flavours of the Vindaloo. Their natural sweetness offers a delicious contrast to the dish’s spiciness. 

In my view, the perfect sides for Chicken Vindaloo are ones that can complement the dish’s intense flavour profile. Whether you prefer rice, bread, or vegetables, these sides can elevate your Chicken Vindaloo experience, creating a meal that’s not just delicious but also satisfying and balanced. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Lured in by the tantalising tastes of Chicken Vindaloo? I’m telling you, your culinary adventure is far from over. The vibrant world of curry is vast, filled with savoury delights that will beckon your taste buds for more. 

Let’s start with the Chicken Dopiaza. It’s a dish that always has me reaching for seconds. It’s a medley of succulent chicken enveloped in a robust blend of spices and not just one, but double the onions! The duo of cooked and raw onions delivers a satisfying crunch and depth of flavour that’s truly unbeatable. 

Another palate pleaser that never fails to make an appearance at my dining table is the Chicken Chana. Here’s where protein-packed chickpeas get to shine alongside tender chicken chunks. All this is swimming in a luscious gravy that’s best mopped up with some steaming basmati rice. 

Then, there’s the Chicken Jalfrezi that I frequently lose myself in. This curry is a symphony of bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes, all serenading the chicken in a symphony of flavours. The symphony culminates in a fiery finish that’s sure to spark delight in your senses. 

Have you heard of the Chicken Tikka Masala? Now, that’s a global favourite I can’t resist. Its creamy tomato sauce, loaded with chunks of marinated chicken, is a divine concoction that holds a special place in my heart. Each bite is an invitation to revel in its hearty, creamy, and tantalizing taste. 

Lastly, if you’re into milder, creamy curries, the Chicken Korma is waiting for you. It’s an aromatic medley of chicken slow-cooked in a cashew-nut-based sauce, emanating soft flavours that always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. 

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Dive into these mouth-watering recipes and discover these taste yourself. And remember, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section. It’s always a joy to hear from fellow curry lovers. 

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

by Nabeela Kauser
Savour the vibrant and fiery flavours of our chicken vindaloo recipe, an authentic Indian dish with a tantalizing spice blend. This recipe not only tickles your taste buds but also takes you on a culinary journey of its rich history. 
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 342 kcal


Vindaloo Paste

  • 8-10 Whole Kashmiri Chillies Dried
  • 5 Cloves Laung
  • 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger


  • 600 g Chicken Whole chicken
  • 50 ml Oil
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Crushed Chilli
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 handful Coriander Fresh


  • Add the ingredients for the marinade into a blender with 100ml water and blend to make a smooth paste, set aside.
  • In a large pan, add the oil over medium heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  • Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder, and chilli flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook for 4-5 minutes, stir frequently.
  • Once the chicken has changed colour, add the vindaloo paste and 200ml water and mix well.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander.
  • Serve with homemade rice or naan bread and enjoy!


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 17gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 666mgPotassium: 739mgFibre: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1874IUVitamin C: 144mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 64mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chicken, Curry, Food, Hot, Recipe, Spicy, Vindaloo
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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