My first Lamb Vindaloo, will not be my last. Yes, it’s spicy.
In Indian cooking a vindaloo is akin to a spicy stew and is a favourite in most curry houses, where you’ll often find it mixed with potatoes. No potatoes here my friend, just tangy, spiced lamb marinaded and cooked to perfection.
I love a good vindaloo, having eaten my fair share in Indian restaurants all over North America, I know a good one when I smell it. (It’s a ginger/tamarind thing.) The twist on this particular vindaloo is the tomato, which balances the heat of the ginger, cayenne and chilis, and complement the richness of the tamarind; an idea I borrowed from a restaurant in Surrey, BC Canada who stubbornly refused to disclose a recipe.
Fine… I’ll wing it. See if I care. No mention for you. Ha, take that. Who do you think you are, the Colonel?
I’m kidding of course, they are perfectly entitled to keeping their secrets. Who doesn’t have a ‘secret family recipe’? The Lower Mainland of Canada’s most western province has a large, dynamic Eurasian population and an equally large number of (amazing) Indian restaurants.
Reasons to keep secrets. Best dam vindaoo I ever had. Brought tears to my eyes.
What made the difference was that layer of tomato flavour in the dish that was my inspiration when making this, my first Vindaloo, which according to to my official taster I “knocked it out of the park.”
“Best lamb vindaloo I’ve ever had Darling!” He didn’t just have seconds… he had thirds. Then he complained that he ate too much.
I’ll take that as a compliment.
It was later raved over by my gals when I took it along to a little Detox/Physic afternoon soiree hosted by the lovely Laura Mainella. Because nothing says ‘afternoon fun’ quite like a vindaloo (OK, so I many have made to much… it still rocked, am I right ladies?!)
Here’s my recipe, it’s not a secret.
Lamb Vindaloo Recipe
Ease of Preparation: Easy
Time: 90 minutes (+ 24 hours to marinade)
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
1 Big white onion
6 Garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger root, chopped fine
1/4 Cup vegetable oil or ghee
2 Cups onions, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
1 Teaspoon coriander powder
3 Teaspoons turmeric
1 Bay leaf
4 Green cardamon pods
1 1/2 Teaspoons red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 Teaspoon chili flakes (or more)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
Hot water (to cover)
- Cut lamb into 3/4″ cubes. Place lamb in a non-metallic bowl (or zip lock bag) with the oil, vinegar, tamarind and salt. Marinade at room temperature for 8 hours, or refrigerated for at least 24 hours.
Put two tablespoons oil, onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and puree.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil/ghee in large skillet (or oven-safe pot) over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and saute until brown, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the puree.
- Reduce heat; add cumin, coriander, cloves, bay leaf, turmeric, red pepper, and cinnamon. When the spices begin to sizzle and turn dark (about 15 seconds), add the lamb, reserving the marinade.
- Cook until slightly seared (about 10 minutes).
- Add tomato paste and cook slightly, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
- Add (hot) water to the marinade to make 2 1/2 cups liquid; add to pan and bring to a boil, add tomatoes, then lower the heat and simmer, covered (about 45 minutes) or place, covered in preheated 350* oven for (30 – 45 minutes), until meat is very tender and vegetables are dissolved into the sauce.
- Remove from heat. Allow to stand 10 – 15 minutes
For this recipe I used meat from a half leg of lamb. As a dryer (read less fatty) cut, it holds together well in a braised stew like this one. Serve with rice and naan for a great Eurasian meal along with our Mango Curry Chicken (click for recipe), or alone. In the top photo we finished with a little plain yogurt and chives to cut the heat as we were serving it ‘dip’ style with naan.
For our “Sultan’s Rice” seen above, add a handful of slivered almonds, sultana raisins, flaked unsweetened coconut and dried figs to 2 cups of rice. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, salt to taste, about a dozen whole cardamom seeds and the same amount of whole cloves. Stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover and immediately reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until tender and fluffy.
This spicy, fragrant rice has both texture and flavour, plus a hint of sweetness to counterbalance the heat of tangy vindaloo – a true delight on your lover’s tongue.