Sometimes I get a craving for Indian food. Warm, thick, spicy, creamy… and vindaloo–a tangy, spicy curry from Goa, India that was originally brought to the region by Portuguese colonists–is a particular favorite of mine. There are plenty of great Indian restaurants in San Francisco, but the only way I really know I’m eating clean these days is to make it at home. Luckily, this recipe is huge fun and can be made in a series of steps.
I prefer starting with whole spices and grinding them myself for a richer flavor. If you’re like me, however, you have zero patience for spice grinders. So I adapted this to make it blender-friendly! Purée long enough that the whole cloves, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds are totally broken down (approximately five minutes or until the paste steams).
One last note: this recipe has a bit of spice. The starchy sweetness of the Japanese sweet potatoes helps to alleviate some of the heat, but see recipe notes for suggestions on how to make a milder vindaloo. As for the meat, I made this recipe with chicken but lamb or goat meat is also a great choice.
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 head garlic
- 1 3-inch piece ginger
- 1/2 serrano pepper
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 large yellow onions
- 2 lbs Japanese sweet potato
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Using the flat of a large knife and the heel of your hand, smash the garlic cloves, then peel.
- Core and roughly chop the half serrano (wear gloves or wash your hand thoroughly after handling, being careful not to touch your face). Peel and roughly chop the ginger.
- Combine the peppercorns, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, serrano and 1/2 cup water in a blender. Puree until smooth.
- Roughly chop the chicken thighs, then combine with the spice paste (careful, may be hot) in a glass storage container. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Finely chop the onions and cook in the oil until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the marinated chicken and any leftover paste to the onions, then peel and chop the sweet potatoes and add to the pot.
- Cover the contents with the broth, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, then boil covered for a half hour. Then uncover the pot and boil until thickened to your preference, approximately an hour and a half.
- Serve hot over cauliflower rice (optional) with decorative serrano peppers.
- If you prefer a milder vindaloo, substitute jalapeño for the serrano or omit entirely.
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