Chicken Vindaloo: A Goan-Portuguese Delicacy


Chicken Vindaloo is a classic Goan delicacy that originated from a Portuguese dish called “Carne de Vinha d’Alhos.” Over time, it has become an incredibly popular dish found on every restaurant menu in Goa. This spicy and flavorful curry is a must-try if you haven’t already experienced its unique blend of flavors.

In the past, Portuguese sailors would carry their favorite meats in a way that would preserve them for long sea journeys. To increase the longevity of these preparations, they used wine. Water-based gravies tend to have a shorter shelf-life, so adding wine became a common practice to ensure the food remained preserved throughout the voyage.

When the Portuguese landed on the Goan shores with their Vindaloo, the locals made it their own by infusing it with flavorful Indian spices and replacing wine with vinegar. This adaptation transformed Vindaloo into an iconic Goan dish, and the rest is history.

The name “Vindaloo” comes from the Portuguese language. “Vinha” means wine, and “Alhos” means garlic. The original name of the dish, “Carne de Vinha d’Alhos,” literally translates to “meat cooked with wine and garlic.” The recipe combines vinegar, garlic, red chilies, and other Goan spices, resulting in a tangy, hot, and finger-licking delicious gravy. The red chili is the star of this dish, making it quite spicy.

While Vindaloo can be made with chicken or prawns, the most popular version is Pork Vindaloo. However, in this article, we will focus on the recipe for Chicken Vindaloo.

Chicken Vindaloo Recipe:

Vindaloo Paste:

  • 10-12 whole dry Kashmiri red chilies (or any other dry chilies, with stalks removed)
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 whole green cardamoms
  • 8-10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 and ½ tbsp tamarind paste

For The Curry:

  • 7 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 750gms bone-in skinless chicken pieces (medium-sized)
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp white granulated sugar


  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with salt and turmeric, and set aside.
  2. Vindaloo Paste:
    • In a skillet, add red chilies, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds.
    • Dry roast the spices over medium heat until fragrant and slightly browned (around 3-4 minutes), stirring continuously.
    • Remove the skillet from heat and let the spices cool down completely.
    • Add the roasted spices to a high-speed blender along with ginger, garlic, white vinegar, tamarind paste, and ½ cup of water.
    • Blend until you achieve a smooth paste, scraping the sides of the blender as needed.
    • Set aside the Vindaloo masala paste.
  3. Vindaloo Curry:
    • Heat oil in a large curry pot over medium-high heat.
    • Saute onions until golden brown.
    • Add the ground Vindaloo masala to the pot and saute well.
    • Next, add the pureed tomatoes and turmeric powder, and mix thoroughly.
    • Add the marinated chicken pieces and saute for another 5 minutes, ensuring all the ingredients are well combined.
    • Pour 1 cup of water into the pot and stir gently.
    • Cover the pot with a lid and cook on low heat for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked well.
    • Add sugar and cook for a couple of minutes.
    • Chicken Vindaloo is now ready to be served.

Handy Tips:

  1. If you prefer a milder curry, deseed the chilies before soaking them as Vindaloo is known for its spiciness.
  2. Similar to pickles, this curry becomes tastier as it matures, so it’s recommended to prepare it a few days in advance.
  3. If you don’t have access to toddy (palm) vinegar, you can use synthetic vinegar and add 1/2 tsp of sugar to the gravy for a slightly sweet flavor.

Chicken Vindaloo is traditionally enjoyed with steamed rice or poee (Goan bread).

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