THE Vindaloo | A Fiery BIR Style Curry Recipe

The vindaloo has to be it when it comes to naming the hottest thing on any Indian menu. There’s a serious amount of firepower packed into this curry. If you are a serious heat lover and want your curry hot, then you are in the right place. Today I will show you how to make the vindaloo curry just like authentic Indian takeaways do, and talk a little about its origins

How Does Vindaloo Taste?

In one word? Hot.

The predominant flavour in Vindaloo is chilli and lots of it! The dish does contain other elements, including tangy tomato puree and fragrant garlic and ginger. But the truth is, you aren’t going to notice, as your mouth, provided you’ve cooked it correctly, will be on fire.

There are two types of people who order vindaloo: -

  • Those who can handle spice exceptionally well.
  • Those who are trying to win a bet or as a dare.

Want to see what happens when people try hot curries? Check this out… You were warned!

If you want to learn more about how hot the vindaloo is, I’ve got a great article dedicated to it here.

The vindaloo also tastes slightly tangy. The dish does include a squeeze of lemon juice, giving it a sharp, acidic taste and sour edge (that I always think makes it taste even hotter).

What Should Vindaloo Look Like?

Vindaloo has two things as its main base. Tomato and chilli.

As a result, you’ll find that a good vindaloo is a deep red to brown colour. It is a fairly oily curry with plenty of sauce (even more for you to leave when you decide when it is too hot). The sauce is neither too thick nor too thin.

You’ll occasionally find authentic Indian chefs sprinkle the top of the vindaloo with chopped coriander. It is also occasionally served with chunks of potato.

Which Meat is Best with Vindaloo?

If you are cooking the vindaloo using a BIR cooking style, you can use any meat you choose. The usual choice for meat in a vindaloo is chicken.

Traditionally it was served with pork, and occasionally you will encounter vindaloo recipes that reflect this. You are unlikely to get pork in your curry in your local takeaway curry. Most proprietors of Indian takeaways follow the Islamic faith; therefore, pork is most definitely off the menu!

Is the Vindaloo a Portuguese or an English Dish?

Vindaloo shares a historical heritage between several countries. You could very much consider it fusion food. It was exported to Goa, India, by the Portuguese around 1510. From there, it was adapted to use local ingredients.

Following their colonial rule, the dish was again exported to UK shores when the first curry houses arrived in the 1960s and has since evolved into the fiery dish we know and love today.

Vindaloo is actually an evolution of the Portuguese “vinho de alho”, literally translating as ‘wine and garlic’. We don’t see the wine in the present-day dish, but you might still taste the garlic.

Many of the curry dishes you try in the UK today are exported from other regions. It is worth bearing in mind that the vindaloo you’ll try in your local Indian is actually pretty far removed from its origins.

Is Vindaloo the Hottest Curry

Vindaloo is a very hot curry. It sits at the top of the list with some other big hitters. If you are looking for something super spicy, you might also want to consider trying the following curries, all of which will compete with a fiery vindaloo: -

  • Naga curry
  • Phaal
  • Bhut Jolokia Curry

If you want to learn more about making curry spicier, be sure to swing by my guide.

The Vindaloo Recipe | 5 Easy Steps to a Volcanic Hot Curry

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 550 per serving

The Vindaloo | Ingredients


  1. Take a large frying pan and add your oil. Place over high heat. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and ginger paste and sizzle and stir for 30 seconds until pale golden in colour.
  2. Add the methi, mix powder, chilli powder, black pepper, salt and garam masala. Stir well until you have a thick paste. Feel free to add a small splash of water to stop the spices from burning. Cook for around 1 minute.
  3. Add your tomato puree along with the lemon juice and cook until it begins to thicken. Then, add one cup of base gravy and the pre-cooked chicken. Stir to combine and coat the chicken chunks. Bubble and fry for around 2 minutes
  4. Add a final cup of base gravy and cook your curry down to the desired thickness, finish with a sprinkling of chopped coriander.
  5. Serve and enjoy (if you can)

Cooking the Vindaloo | Tips and Hints

  • If you want to make the vindaloo slightly less spicy, there is a solution. Try using Kashmiri chilli powder instead of hot chilli. It will give you the same dark red appearance to the dish but is much milder. You can find out more about Kashmiri chilli powder here.
  • When cooking vindaloo, you are going to be toasting the chilli powder. This will make it even more intense in flavour. You may also find that the vapours released are a little irritating, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated with the extractor fan on full.
  • If you don’t have lemon juice, no problem. Some of the chefs I worked with used malt vinegar or white wine vinegar to produce the hot acidic element. Use the same amount of vinegar or white wine vinegar in the quantity given above.
  • If you’ve made the vindaloo, had a try and decided it is too much, don’t worry too much. Here’s a great article on how to cool down a hot curry.
  • Don’t feel limited to only including chicken in your recipe. Pre-cooked lamb vindaloo is also a possibility. Here’s an article on how to precook lamb for curry.

The Vindaloo | Final Thoughts

The vindaloo is a legendary curry, famed for its fiery heat and is considered the epitome of BIR cuisine. It is a fusion between Indian taste and the strange love of British people eating food that is far too hot for their palate. Have you given it a go? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. If you are looking for a similar taste profile but slightly milder, why not check out my BIR madras recipe?

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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