The Fiery History Of Vindaloo

The Fiery History of Vindaloo

We have to confess something: your favorite Indian curry actually has Portuguese roots. The spicy, vinegar-based Vindaloo curry is a crowd-pleaser, but not everyone knows how this pungent plate found its way into Indian cuisine. Curries are a kitchen staple here at Tandur. The balance of heat, acid, and texture makes our chicken vindaloo one of the most popular dishes at our restaurant. The hot and sour jus meets with protein, a mix of vegetables, and a bed of rice to build a true explosion of flavor. 

A 5,000 Mile Journey

Vindaloo is a spicy Indian curry but its roots actually started thousands of miles away in Portugal. The dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat marinated in vinegar and garlic) migrated with Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, when sailors transported meat in wooden barrels, soaking it in wine and vinegar during their travels.

Eventually landing in India, this dish was adapted to use local cooking techniques and ingredients like tamarind and palm wine vinegar, transforming into what we now know as vindaloo. Portuguese chilis have remained a consistent staple in most recipes, a small nod to the curry’s European heritage.

Today’s variations 

Meats and vegetables are marinated in salt, sugar, and acid and then mixed with a zesty sauce. It is cooked quickly just before the curry is to be enjoyed. It can be easily prepared with different proteins depending on your preferences. 

Vinegar, garlic, paprika, ginger, and a heavy dose of chili flakes are essential to developing the complex profile of this curry. If you’re attempting vindaloo at home, we’d suggest marinating your protein in the fridge overnight so you get the full punch of flavor. Be sure to stock up on broth, onion, and baby potatoes as well!

Spice up your dinner routine and incorporate this Indian twist into your week. We’ve got plenty of seasonal lemonade to wash it down – unless you prefer a mango lassi! As with all of our entrees, you can enjoy a plate of vindaloo with your choice of protein, basmati or brown rice, and a side of our infamous naan.