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Lamb Vindaloo

Often known in this country as the hottest curry, vindaloo is a hot and pungent curry originally from Goa (on the southwestern coast of India), a Portuguese Christian settlement. It was there that the Portuguese introduced hot peppers to India, and they also brought along their red-wine vinegar. Both are used in the dish, along with mustard oil. Vindaloo (sometimes spelled vindalho) is still served in Goa, where it is most often prepared for festive occasions -- weddings, birthdays, and Christmas. Serve with steamed basmati rice. Serves 4

SKU 850-Recipe

  • 4 Serves


  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fine-quality hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar
  • 5 to 10 dried hot red chilies, broken up
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 pounds lean boneless lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • pinch of asafetida
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • steamed rice as an accompaniment, if desired


  1. Make the marinade: Whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the mustard oil, ginger, paprika, garlic, tamarind, turmeric, and jaggery in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb until combined well. Grind the chilies, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns in a coffee/spice grinder to a fine powder, and stir into the vinegar mixture. Prick the meat all over with the tines of a fork and add it to the spice paste. Let the lamb marinate, covered, for at least 4 hours at room temperature and up to 24 hours, chilled.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a Dutch oven over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is a dark golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the asafetida and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the lamb and the marinade. Reduce the heat, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, at a bare simmer for 2 hours, or until the lamb is very tender. Remove the cover, taste and adjust seasonings (especially the salt), increase the heat, and boil, stirring and watching carefully, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. (You will need to stir more often as the liquid evaporates. The dish should have a thick sauce clinging to the meat, but no excess sauce.) Garnish with the fresh cilantro and serve with rice.