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सभी को सुप्रभात
“sabhee ko suprabhaat!”
Welcome. The above is Hindi for “Good morning all”.
I speak abso-fucking-lutely zero Hindi but it felt appropriate.
That is a rather tantalizing plate of food up there is it not? Maybe familiar to some probably unfamiliar to more than a few of you.
You are looking at my version of a popular Indian – by way of Portugal – dish known as vindaloo. That’s a chicken vindaloo but basically all of the proteins can be used in its preparation. I would probably “steer” away from using beef however.
Know what protein works great in vindaloo? Lamb. Dear God, lamb vindaloo is incredible. Know what else? Shrimp!
Pork was the original version of the Portuguese variety that found its way to India via Portuguese sailing ships.
As with many other dishes of Indian cuisine, the Brits fucking love this stuff. It’s one of the more popular items on your standard Indian menu and its heat level can be adjusted from fairly mild to “melt your goddamn face off” hot. I’m a medium-hot person for this dish.
As the dish evolved vindaloo’s primary ingredients settled on vinegar, ginger, spices, chili peppers and sugar. I kind of like a little citrus in there to cut the sheer volume of spices. Again we ain’t talking about “spices” as heat here. We are talking about the sheer insane number of spices used.
How many spices?
All. All of the goddamn spices.
What we are doing here is basically making a version of garam masala from scratch. Garam masala is a spice blend that consists of primarily cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Want to save some cabinet space? Just get a jar of garam masala.
You can find it in most grocery stores now and definitely online.
Ready for the insane part? I actually HAVE a jar of garam masala in my spice cabinet. But where’s the fucking fun in that? Wouldn’t you rather spend a shitload of cash on a bunch of spices that you will probably never find another use for and which will then clutter up your spice collection?
I’ve got a collection of spices, man.
Remember when we made Doro Wot and Misir Wot?
The spice blend we made for this lovely product of Ethiopia was called “berbere” and it also called for a vast selection of spices with similar flavor profiles as garam masala. I was able to use up some of those offbeat spices in today’s dish so “win win.”
Also related to the Ethiopian link, I bought the naan and that lovely looking samosa in the picture from the Indian restaurant across the street from me. I learned my lesson from the injera attempt.
You regular readers should remember that we’ve dabbled in Indian cuisine before when I made Chicken Tikka Masala.
That ALSO explains why there’s a jar of garam masala in my spice cabinet.
While slightly similar in profile, vindaloo differs with the more defining presence of heat, ginger and vinegar while the tikka masala is more curry forward and also uses heavy cream in the sauce.
In case you haven’t gotten the memo by now, I fucking LOVE Indian food.
A couple of years ago during one of our DFO SoCal Atwater Village Pub Crawls (patent pending) we stopped at this incredible Indian market that sits right in between a couple of our regular pub stops. We stopped in to browse, grab some snacks etc. This store has a hot food kitchen and our own Rikki Tikki Deadly purchased some hot and freshly made samosas for us. Fucking hell they were delicious.
That lovely looking “Hot Pocket” looking thing in the banner image is a samosa.
Samosas are stuffed pastry filled with vegetarian things like chickpeas and potato and some savory spices. Meat versions with lamb and pork can be found as well. Those two sauces are a sweet tamarind based sauce and a pesto chutney with cilantro and some mint.
Please note: I did NOT make samosas today but thought they would go well with what we actually DID make today. Chicken vindaloo and turmeric rice.
Let’s fire this up shall we?
inspired by but pretty well self adapted
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves – I bought whole cloves and ground my own
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper – divided – I bought whole peppercorns and ground my own
1/2 tablespoon of salt – divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika – hot Hungarian for me
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper – this is where the heat can be adjusted up or down
Juice of one lime
1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into cubes.
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion chopped
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger – minced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste – I adapted this and instead opted for adding in a tablespoon of my own chili tepin
(1) 14 1/2 oz can of crushed tomatoes
15 ounces of chicken stock
1 potato peeled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf.
Here are our spices, measured out and ready to party.
Now let’s juice that lime up and add the brown sugar to it. I should check with Sharkbait and see if he can concoct a cocktail of the week out of this.
Then we’re gonna cut up that chicken and season it with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Now, quick little interlude on the subtle differences between the prep work for Indian food and the prep work for Ethiopian food. Check out that link up there for the Doro Wot and Misir Wot. In that link you will find a recipe for “Niter Kibbeh” or spiced ghee.
The prep for basically all savory dishes from Ethiopia begins with this stuff. Some of the recipes I investigated for the vindaloo suggested using plain ghee to brown the chicken but many more used…
Some motherfuckin’ butta!
Yeah, we can handle that shit.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then brown that chicken.
By the way, that trick with putting the chicken in a bowl prior to cooking and tossing with the salt and pepper is pretty badass and insures even seasoning of the chicken.
Brown both sides of the chicken – about 5 minutes per side and set aside.
Be sure your potato has been peeled and cubed while you’re at it.
Now it’s time to get funky.
Grab yourself a Dutch oven and get a burner on medium-low heat. When the pan is hot we’re going to add in all of our spices from earlier.
Yep. Those spices. Get yourself a wooden spoon and stir constantly for 2 minutes. We’re going to toast these fuckers right up.
We will stir constantly so the spices don’t burn. If you enlarge that picture right there you will notice that the spices have started to gently smoke. I ain’t going to lie to you, while doing this I thought I felt myself getting high. For real. It is quite the heady hit of aromatics.
Want some more fun?
Now add in the olive oil, chopped onion and ginger and give a good stir. Increase the heat to medium.
Yowza! Shit, at this point your eyes are watering, you’re salivating, your nose may be runny, you feel slightly stoned and you are ready to fucking PARTY!
Cook the onion mixture down for about 5 minutes then add in the minced garlic for just a few seconds until it gets aromatic.
Next is where you would add in the tomato paste. I used my chili tepin because I fucking love it and I also wanted to start increasing the heat ratio of this thing. Stir until everything incorporates.
Next add in the browned chicken and the cubes of potato and give that a stir.
There we go. Get the chicken and potatoes nice and coated with the onion/spice blend.
Next add in the tomatoes, chicken stock, vinegar, the remaining salt and pepper and the bay leaf.
Give everything a good stir, reduce the heat to low, partially cover the top of the pot and simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir every few minutes.
When everything has cooked and smells fucking amazing you should have something like this.
Give a taste and feel free to add some more salt, pepper or even cayenne to adjust to your liking.
Now you’ve probably already guessed the side dish for this, besides the purchased samosas and naan.
That’s right the ever-popular turmeric rice.
One last time for posterity!
1 cup of jasmine rice
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of minced onion
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Add the oil to a cooking pot over a medium heat then add in the onion and the rice.
We’re going to toast the rice and onion for about five minutes.
Next add in the garlic for about 30 seconds or so then add in the turmeric.
When the rice is fully fragrant and a vibrant yellow add in the chicken stock and give a good stir. Next reduce the burner heat to LOW, fully cover with a lid and let cook undisturbed for 20 minutes or until the liquid has fully evaporated.
And that’s probably the last time I’ll write that recipe out.
Grab a plate. Rice goes on the plate. Vindaloo goes on the rice. Our vindaloo. Grab a samosa, get some naan, grab some beverages and a fork and sit the fuck down.
It ain’t fair to offer descriptors for the naan and the samosas, just go out and get some on your own to try. You’ll love ’em.
Now about that chicken.
First bite is almost sensory overload. Where to begin? Heat! Sweet! Savory! Heavenly aroma, exotic hits of cinnamon, clove, cardamom and coriander, subtle familiar notes from the cumin and the paprika all covering this ultra juicy, tender chicken and the perfectly cooked potato. An all-encompassing curry-like dish of flat out fucking deliciousness.
By the way did you know that “aloo” in Hindi means potato?
Hell yes people. Hell yes.
It’s honestly pretty damn easy to make this bad boy as long as you’ve got a well stocked spice cabinet and holy shit is it worth the effort.
If you haven’t sampled the cuisine of India, what are you waiting for? Shit, man check out your local food delivery service, they probably have some listed.
Don’t be intimidated. Be food educated!
Glad to see you good folks again.
Been an honor.
Until next week.