Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry

Chicken vindaloo curry

The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Marinade: 40 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

The classic vindaloo curry in Indian cooking is often thought to be a super-hot dish, but this is not always true. In British food, the plate changed substantially from the traditional Goan roots of this curry as a tangy, sweetly spiced dish into more of a tongue-searing culinary experience.

A blend of spices works to create a deep, pungent, and warmly spiced dish. Don't be overwhelmed by the number of spices in the ingredient list; it looks a lot, but they all join together to make a superb curry paste very quickly and easily.

Make it easier to cook the curry by measuring out all your spices and other ingredients before you begin; the rest will come together more logically if you do. Make the paste ahead to save a little time.


  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cardamom pods (seeds only)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 free-range chicken breasts (cut into large bite-sized cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients.

  2. Heat a heavy skillet to hot but not smoking, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorn, cardamom seeds, and cloves. Toast the seeds for 30 to 45 seconds, constantly shaking the pan to prevent burning until the spices give off a delicious fragrance. 

  3. Tip the toasted seeds into a food processor or spice grinder and blitz to create a powder. Add the turmeric, sugar, ginger and garlic paste and whizz again. Finally, add the tomato puree, garam masala, and blitz again. You should now have a thick, pungent paste. 

  4. Place the paste into a glass bowl, add the vinegar, and stir thoroughly. Add the cubed chicken and stir to coat all the pieces evenly. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 to 45 minutes. 

  5. Heat a skillet large enough to hold all the ingredients over medium heat, add the oil and when hot, add the sliced onions and cook slowly to soften but not brown for 15 minutes. Add the chicken plus the marinade and the stock and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. If the vindaloo is too vinegary, add soft dark brown sugar a little at a time to your taste. 

  6. Serve immediately garnished with the cilantro, fluffy basmati rice, mango chutney, and plain yogurt on the side.

Alternatives to Chicken

  • This recipe calls for chicken, but there are alternatives that are just as delicious. In Goa, pork and fish vindaloo are both popular. For vegetarians, boiled eggs or vegetables are used.