The Goan lamb vindaloo is a classic recipe of lamb curry which is an exemplary outcome of culinary amalgamation of two cultures – Indian and Portuguese! It is a must-have!
If you are looking for a delicious lamb curry recipe with all goodness of Indian flavors but at the same time has a global appeal, then this classic lamb vindaloo is the answer to your query! Lamb vindaloo is a fusion recipe originated in the state of Goa which was ruled Portuguese colonies since early sixteenth century and hence this recipe of lamb vindaloo turned out to be an outstanding union of Indo-Portuguese flavors. Wiki says that the Goan Vindaloo has been derived from the Portuguese carne de vinha d’alhos which literally means “meat (usually pork) in garlic wine marinade“. Eventually it was “Indianized” by the local Goan cooks by substituting red wine with wine or palm vinegar, and the addition of dried red chili peppers with other flavorful Indian spices. Finally, it evolved into the localized and easy-to-pronounce dish “vindaloo“. I must admit that this lamb vindaloo is one of the best lamb curries I have had which must be the result of culinary infusion mastered by enumerable experienced chefs since historical times!
Traditionally vindaloo is made with pork but since pork is not very popular in my household, I made lamb vindaloo which turned out really mind-blowing. Vindaloo is not a recipe for lean meat, so use meat with high fat content; if you are thinking about the calorie, then my note would be that this pork or lamb vindaloo is not a regular dish which you will eat frequently, so indulgence once in a while is not very harmful if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a regular basis. Lamb vindaloo is best enjoyed with plain white rice. I would not recommend pairing lamb vindaloo with biryani or polao as the flavorful gravy of the vindaloo tastes best with plain white rice which acts like a blank canvas and soaks up all the delicious flavors beautifully. Lamb vindaloo would be an ideal dish to serve to your guests if you are planning a house party and the party season is just about to start! What right timing!
Making lamb vindaloo requires planning, a lot of planning to be honest! But don’t get scared! Outcome of any well-planned activity is mostly good and, in this case, it would be very good and that’s a promise from me! So basically, you need to start prepping for lamb vindaloo two days earlier because firstly, it needs at least 10 hours of marination time and then you must serve it a day later after making it. Gasping? I agree I did it too! But I still followed these two guidelines and thanked myself for doing so. The ingredients used to make lamb vindaloo needs time to reach the best of their taste and hence such long waiting period; but trust me you won’t regret. The lamb is marinated in a vinegar-based spice mixture which helps soften the meat during overnight marination. Once the lamb vindaloo is cooked, the gravy needs time to mature which let the ingredients mingle with each other enhancing the final taste.
Vindaloo has a very strong flavor profile with a sour, sweet as well as a deep earthy undertone; it is almost like a pickle like preparation which is why its taste enhances as it matures. My lamb vindaloo is quite spicy too and definitely not for the faint-hearted! But you may add less number of dry red chilies to tone down the heat. An authentic lamb vindaloo calls for palm vinegar or white wine vinegar and I would urge you not to substitute it with regular white vinegar as you will not be able to achieve the similar depth of flavor in that case. This lamb vindaloo is a culinary luxury and I suggest you to take all the time & patience to prepare it with utmost love and care without rushing it; this one is not a weeknight meal. Ideally, make this lamb vindaloo on a Saturday; then serve this homemade Goan delicacy a day later and relish it relaxingly during your lazy Sunday lunch. Enjoy!
- Dry red chilies – 6
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Cloves – 10 to 12
- Poppy seeds – 1 tsp
- Whole peppercorns – ½ tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Ginger – 2-inch piece, roughly chopped into small pieces
- Garlic – 15 to 20 small cloves (or 10 large cloves)
- Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
- White wine vinegar – ½ cup
- Green chilli – 3, chopped
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Lamb – 1 kg, cut into medium-sized pieces
- Onion – 300 gms (about 4 large), thinly sliced
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Cinnamon stick – 4-inch piece
- Jaggery – 10 gm
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 2 tsp
- Mustard oil – 4 tbsp
- Curry leaves – 10 to 12
- Add all the spices listed under dry spice mix to a hot frying pan without any oil. Dry roast the spices on medium flame for 2-4 minutes or until they become fragrant.
- Transfer the toasted spices to a dry grinder and grind them to make a fine powder. You may wait for a while to let the spices cool down before grinding. Set it aside.
- Now take all the ingredients listed under tamarind slurry and add them to a blender. Blend everything to make a smooth tamarind slurry making sure that ginger, garlic and green chilies are all blended completely.
- Take the lamb pieces in a large bowl, add the dry powdered spice mix and the tamarind slurry. Massage the lamb cubes with hand so that all the aromatics and spices coat each piece thoroughly. Do not expedite this step and take time to marinate the lamb.
- Once the lamb pieces are nicely massaged, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the meat chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Heat the mustard oil in a large wok or skillet. Once the oil is hot, tip in the cinnamon stick & mustard seeds and sauté for a minute.
- Then add the sliced onion and stir fry on medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Once the onion is nicely browned, push it to one side of the wok and add the turmeric powder & red chilli powder to the wok and quickly fry them in the oil for 30 seconds. The mix them in with the sautéed onion.
- Now add the marinated lamb to the wok and sauté on high heat for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Then turn the heat to medium-low, cover the wok and continue cooking.
- Meat will start releasing its juices which will help to cook; don’t add any water at this stage. Cover the wok and cook the lamb for 20 minutes on medium-low flame stirring frequently in between.
- Grate the piece of jaggery and add to the lamb. Stir to mix it well. The meat would have browned by now and the oil should start releasing at the side of wok; if not, continue cooking on low for 5 to 10 more minutes.
- Once you are happy with the color, add half a liter of boiling water and give a good stir so that spices mix well with the water making a uniform gravy.
- Cover the wok and cook the lamb on low heat until completely cooked and tender. Time required to cook the lamb will depend on the quality of meat you are using; hence keep checking frequently for the doneness.
- When the lamb pieces are cooked through, add the curry leaves and mix them in into the gravy. Your delicious lamb vindaloo is done!
- Serve this scrumptious Indo-Portuguese lamb vindaloo with hot plain white basmati rice. Enjoy!