Quick Chicken Vindaloo

You can tell my meal planning was hurried last week because I have back-to-back posts with recipes from the same section of Fine Cooking (30 minutes or less – isn’t that what we all want!?) We loved the lamb & sweet onion pitas, but we might have loved this one even more! Both are quick meals that still deliver layers of bold flavors.

Allow me to reminisce again about Japan for a second, home of the best Indian food we’ve ever eaten (who would have thought!) I remember it was a quick walk from the Ibaraki train station to a little Indian place that had just opened. As we walked down a stairway to the entrance that was below street level, we could smell exotic spices and freshly baked naan, beckoning us inside. Once we entered, we were greeted with huge smiles from the two Indian men who stood in the open-kitchen, and we instantly felt that special “foreigner bond” that you feel when you see another foreigner in Japan, whether they’re of the same ethnicity as you or not. They understand how I feel, you think. And it’s true. they do. Soon we’d be sitting in a comfortable little booth decorated with colorfully adorned pillows, indulging in curries, tandoori chicken, naan, and mango lassis.  For a while we’d almost forget what country we were in, until we opened the door to leave and the Japanese sounds and sights came flooding back into our ears and eyes.

Okay, thanks for letting me take that little trip down memory lane. This blog was first inspired in Japan after all! Back to the recipe at hand, Vindaloo is a popular Indian curry dish that usually includes some kind of meat, vinegar, garlic and spicy chiles. Fine Cooking’s version isn’t very hot (which actually worked out well for us because Levi was able to eat more of it that way, and with gusto!) and only takes 30 minutes to make. We made one slight change. We couldn’t find hot paprika at the grocery store, so we used regular paprika and added an 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Serve the chicken vindaloo with steamed jasmine rice and store-bought naan. A tasty tip for the naan: Heat in a 400 degree oven for a couple minutes until hot. Brush with melted butter before serving. Yum.

Chicken Vindaloo

(From the Feb/Mar 2011 issue of Fine Cooking)

1-1/2 TBS. curry powder
2 tsp. hot paprika (or 2 tsp. paprika + 1/8 tsp. cayenne)
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 TBS. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
2 TBS. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 TBS. grated fresh ginger
1 (14-1/2-oz). can diced tomatoes, drained, 1/3 cup juice reserved
3 TBS. chopped fresh cilantro

  • In a small bowl, stir together the curry powder, paprika, and 3/4 tsp. black pepper.
  • Place the chicken in a medium nonreactive bowl (I used a glass pie pan), sprinkle with 1 TBS. of the curry powder mixture, about half of the garlic, 2 TBS. of the vinegar, and 3/4 tsp. salt; toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature.
  • Heat the oil in a 10- to 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it softens and begins to brown around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium high. Add the ginger, the rest of the garlic, and the remaining curry powder mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant and well combined, about 45 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes to the pan and mix to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with the spoon. Stir in the chicken, reserved tomato juice, remaining 2 TBS. vinegar, and 2/3 cup water.
  • Bring to a boil, cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle some cilantro over the top.

3 thoughts on “Quick Chicken Vindaloo

  1. Ooh what a great easy recipe. I only had lamb vindaloo once but it was amazing. I have to imagine it’s pretty tasty with chicken as well.

    I do find it funny that the best Indian you had was while in Japan 😉

  2. Another tasty journey…….will you be compiling these delightfully delicious destinations into a tour book ???? Sign me up….Have fork will travel 🙂

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