Hotel style chicken tikka vindaloo. It had to happen. Every huge flavour I could come up with. Thrown together in one crazy tasty curry.
Naga chicken tikka. Homemade vindaloo paste. And hotel gravy. Completely over the top.
This one has it all going on. A little spicy. A little sour. Real depth of flavour. I know I’m hyping it up. But I’m not worried. This is serious business. Master class time.
Homemade vindaloo paste
I used to wonder why my vindaloos weren’t awesome. Tried all sorts of things. Just could not get it. Truth be told – it made me a bit crazy.
Took me talking my way into one of the better Indian restaurant kitchens in town to figure it out. The chef said four words. Four simple words. Four magic words.
We use a paste.
There it was. A little insert pan on the line. A light came on in my head. The clouds parted. The sun shone down. Angels sang. Problem solved.
It isn’t hard to make. You can make batches of vindaloo paste and freeze it. Store it right next to your hotel gravy. So you’re ready to go any time.
The one tricky thing to find might be kashmiri chilies. But they are important. Don’t just randomly substitute another dried red chili.
Kashmiri chilies are big on flavour. Without the crazy heat. So you can use lots of them without blowing a hole in the back of your head.
Your Indian grocer will have them. Or get them online. Try hard. Did I mention it’s important?
There’s a lesson here as well. Restaurants respond to enthusiasm. If you are genuinely interested in something – just ask. It works.
Naga chicken tikka
I have a full on tandoori marinade recipe. It’s based on a lesson I got in a tikka restaurant in Bangalore. See? Enthusiasm works everywhere.
This is a simpler version. But one that works well for spicy curries. Naga pickle adds some fire. And some magic.
It’s fast. Easy. You can cook it in the oven. I still like it better over charcoal. No surprise. I like everything over charcoal. But it’s not critical. The naga adds enough flavour. Even for me.
The idea of making this dish with the naga tikka came from a long-time reader and very talented cook. He made it part of his curries. A lot of his curries. I’m just spreading the word. Andy and Hellen – thank you.
There’s a party appetizer here too
I’ve put in a little extra chicken in this recipe. Because I know you’ll want to snack. I do it. Can’t help myself. So I built buffer right into this recipe. Why fight it? Enjoy.
When you do try a piece or two think about how it could be an appetizer. With beer. Or drinks. Just take that chicken tikka. Drizzle the pan juices overtop. Put out some toothpicks or little skewers.
And let people graze. It’s a tasty little spice bomb. If your guests need something to cool things down again think about a dip to go with it.
Something creamy. Yoghurt based. I have some ideas. A little glebekitchen twist. Will do a post on this before long.
Hotel gravy – for the win
There are two popular approaches to cooking Indian at home. Traditional is the one you know. Pretty much every recipe on the internet is traditional.
Restaurant style is the other. It’s a little more esoteric. But it’s how they make curries in a restaurant environment. There are lots of those recipes here. Look for anything labelled restaurant on glebekitchen.
That’s how Indian restaurants cook. Not sort of. Not almost. For real. If you want what they are making in restaurants where you live this is how they do it.
And then there’s hotel style. That’s how they do it at the really posh restaurants. Bigger. Bolder. Deeper flavours.
If you cook traditional style there are things that will seem familiar. If you cook restaurant style you’ll feel at home too. This is somewhere in between.
It’s more work than regular restaurant style. Up front anyway. Which is why you don’t see it everywhere. More work means more labour. More labour means higher costs.
Restaurants work to price point. That’s business. But I don’t. And probably you don’t either. So go for it.
I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it. Hotel style chicken vindaloo is probably the most demanding curry on the blog to date. Not complicated.
But it will take real effort. Remember. Good things come to those that do. Really good things.
Chicken tikka vindaloo
If you want to make a great vindaloo use a homemade vindaloo paste. It makes a big difference. Do it restaurant style or hotel style or homestyle.
Doesn’t really matter. That paste is going to make a big difference. That is secret number one.
If you want to go the distance though. If you want to make the a truly memorable vindaloo. One that people talk about. For months. Try this one. Hotel style is secret number two.
Naga chicken tikka? That’s just icing on the cake.
chicken tikka vindaloo
Quick naga chicken tikka
- 4 chicken thighs – boneless, skinless. Cut each thigh into 3 even pieces.
- 2 tbsp tandoori masala – available from any Indian grocer. Look for a brand that isn't all salt.
- 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled between your fingers
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp naga pickle – available from most Indian grocers. You can push this bit if you like the heat. Naga pickle is incredibly tasty and incredibly hot. Fine line to walk…
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 8 kashmiri chilies
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp malt vinegar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- water to get it to puree if needed. Add a little bit at a time.
The spice mix
- 1 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix – recipe link below
- 1-2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika for colour more than anything else
- 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
tikka vindaloo curry
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil – any neutral oil is fine
- 2-3 kashmiri chilies – dried red chilies
- all the vindaloo paste from above
- 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy – recipe link below. Dilute it with 3-4 tbsp of chicken stock. If you only have powder or cubes use water. That stuff is not stock.
- the naga chicken tikka or whatever tikka you feel like using
- 1 tsp tamarind paste – paste is not concentrate. They are very different. Don't use concentrate.
- 1/2 tsp sugar – jaggery or brown sugar
Do your prep
- Make your spice mix. Make your vindaloo paste. Make your naga chicken tikka.
- Note that the ingredients said dIlute your curry gravy with 3-4 tablespoons of water or chicken stock. You need to dilute it because the chicken is going in pre-cooked.
Make your quick naga chicken tikka
- Combine the tandoori masala, kasoor methi, salt, naga pickle and oil in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken.
- Add the chicken and combine with the marinade. Use tongs. This stuff will stain your fingers. Nobody wants that.
- Marinate for about an hour if you have time. Pre-heat your oven to 400F while this is going on. Place a sturdy baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat. No skewers, aluminium foil or mess required here. Easy.
- Transfer the chicken (again, use tongs) to that pre-heated, sturdy baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 6 minutes. Flip all the pieces and return to the oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. This should take another 4-8 minutes or so. Really depends on how big your chicken thigh pieces are. Set aside.
Make your vindaloo paste
- Stem and seed the kashmiri chilies (the ones for the paste – not the ones you will put in your curry).
- Soak the stemmed and seeded chilies in really hot water for a few minutes. Drain and do it again. You may need to do it a third time. At the end you want the chilies hydrated. That means soft. Take the time to get this right. It's important.
- Combine all the paste ingredients in your blender. Add a bit of water and see if you can get it to puree. It will fight you. Add a little more water. Try again. You'll probably need to scrape down the sides and fight back. Eventually you'll get a paste. Keep going. You want the paste to be smooth. This is a good reason to make big batches. There's a link in the notes below.
Make the tikka chicken vindaloo curry
- Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium heat until the oil just starts to shimmer.
- Add the remaining 2-3 kashmiri chilies. You should see little bubbles forming around them. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. This is why you added 3 tablespoons of oil. You want to fry your spices in the oil. If you skimp on the oil you risk your spices sticking or burning. If your spices burn here you are starting over. Or eating terrible curry. Your choice. Personally, I would start over and try never to make the same mistake again.
- Cook the spices for about 30-45 seconds.
- Stir in the vindaloo paste. Fry, stirring constantly, until it starts to darken. This should take 2-3 minutes. Watch your heat. You don't want it too hot.
- Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir it really well. Get get the oil to combine with the curry gravy. You want everything mixed together at this point. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain that simmer.
- Add the tamarind paste and stir.
- Cover loosely and keep simmering for about 5 minutes.
- At this point you need to decide whether you want the sugar or not. A little sweetness is a nice touch. I like it. And I don't really like sugar in general. Notice there are exactly zero desserts on this blog. Should tell you something…
- You will also need to adjust the consistency of the sauce. It will be thick. The paste makes a difference. I like about 3 tablespoons of additional liquid at this point, maybe even a little more. This is personal preference. Go for what you like.
- Add the naga chicken tikka. Continue to cook for about 1 minute to warm the chicken through. When the chicken is warmed through dinner is ready.
- Serve with rice or parathas and a nice dal if you like. That's an aloo keema in the pictures if you're wondering. That was good too.
33 thoughts on “chicken tikka vindaloo – indian hotel style”
Hi, have tried some of your other recipes and really enjoyed them and would like to try tackle my first hotel style dish, however I have a couple of questions. I don’t have an oven, how much of a difference would browning the chicken in a saucepan and then adding the chicken earlier into the sauce to cook the internal temp make, since at that point I’m not sure it’s really tikka. And secondly I can only find tamarind paste that uses 40% tamarind concentrate, the rest being a combination of vinegars, or just Maggi tamarind sauce?
Sorry for the barrage of questions, hope you’re keeping well, cheers.
Always happy to answer questions. I have never tried to make tikka in a saucepan. I would probably try just cooking the chicken in the gravy as with other hotel style recipes (so you get the juices) and omit the chicken stock to keep the consistency right. For that little bit of tikka/tandoori flavour maybe try 1/4-1/2 tsp of tandoori masala in the spice mix.
The tamarind sauce sounds like it has already been diluted so that’s probably fine. Maggi tamarina has sugar in it so I would leave that aside for this recipe.
Going to make this tomorrow, have always wanted to try vindaloo but have never been brave enough to go hotter than a jalfrezi.
On the tamarind, a lot of your recipes call for tamarind sauce as opposed to tamarind paste. This one says paste but not concentrate. I have tamarind paste but I’m not sure if it’s concentrate. I usually use it to marinade chicken wings. If it’s concentrate will tamarind sauce do?
Tamarind sauce is used in a couple recipes but actually most of them call for tamarind paste. Tamarind paste is about 1/3 the concentration of tamarind concentrate (plus it should say concentrate on the container). Taste it. If it is tart but pleasant it is likely paste. If it is really tart it is likely concentrate.
This vindaloo is about flavour not fire so I think you will be just fine.
I am lost for words really this Vindaloo is amazing off the scale tasty. I was a bit hesitant to use the naga pickle as I didn’t want to turn it in to an inferno but it turned out just perfect for my taste not to hot. I had to get the Mr naga on line and like a miracle just as I thought I would have to do without it the doorbell rang and the naga had landed I couldn’t believe it so in it went. I know now why they sell cashmiri chilies in such a large amount . ITS FOR YOUR VINDALOO RECIPE. Thank you once again for the recipes.
Paul H Manchester UK
A Mr. Naga miracle! Love it.
I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed it.
My wife and I have enjoyed Indian food since we first tasted it in University over 40 years ago. We’ve attempted making it many times with moderate success but mostly resort to bottles of stuff from the grocery store now. I bumped into your site last week and had the feeling from how you write that I had found something good. I made your lamb vindaloo last night and couldn’t believe that I had finally done it. I’m hooked, thank you!
One question regarding something I saw in one of your other recipes. Isn’t Naga pickle just ghost pepper sauce? So couldn’t you substitute any ghost pepper sauce? The Mr Naga brand seems impossible to find where we live.
I have a bottle of ghost pepper hot sauce (naga jolokia). I just tasted it against naga pickle. They are not similar. Could be the sauce I have though. Naga morich is like habanero in that it has a really distinctive (and I think magical) taste.
It doesn’t have to be Mr. Naga though. I have a jar of Pran naga pickle that is pretty close to Mr. Naga. Certainly much, much closer than the naga jolokia sauce I have.
FWIW it is really, really hard to get Mr. Naga where I am. I’ve had people send me jars from the UK (thank you). Once, I saw seven jars on a shelf in an Indian grocer here. I bought them all…
I see now why it’s the king of curry now, turns out I’d never actually had a good vindaloo! I never thought I’d ever say that I make better curry than the half assed local takeaways but here I am two months later with my Canadian guru haha. All joking aside this is serious stuff, had to substitute the naga for regular hot chilli pickle so upped the amount but the result was still the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth! I worked in an award winning gourmet kitchen for years and this is by a long way the best dish I’ve ever made. Can’t wait to get my hands on some naga to see what all the fuss is about. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge friend
Awesome to hear. Absolutely delighted you enjoyed it and are kicking the locals! The naga pickle is definitely special. Naga has a distinctive taste. Doesn’t taste like habanero but it is in the same class. You know the taste as soon as it hits your mouth.
Great recipe to add to the collection, thanks for sharing your hobby with us all.
Naga pickle, you mention it several times throughout various recipes however i’m still on a scouting mission to find it here in Sydney (Aust). Like you, i’m not keen on throwing heat in a dish without reason. Can you suggest a tasty-heat alternative if naga pickle is out of my reach?
That’s a tough one. There is nothing I have ever tasted that comes close to naga pickle. I’d just leave it out if you can’t get it. There’s more than enough flavour in this one without it.
That said, don’t give up the hunt. Naga pickle is so tasty…
Hi Romain, if ever there was a reason to inflate the scale by awarding six stars for a recipe, this would be it!! Vindaloo has long been one of my favorites. In fact, it was the first indian dish I ever attempted, following Madhur Jeffrey’s recipe. But just as you write, I could never quite get it right. But this was spot on incredibly good! I can’t thank you enough!
I’m going to try a lamb version next. Any advice? (Obviously precook the lamb in curry broth, but any other suggestions?)
Delighted to hear that. I’ll take six stars:-)
Lamb will be wonderful. Maybe keep a bit of the leftover broth to thin the final curry and add a little more lamb flavour?
This recipe looks so good! (I’m going to try a vegetarian version.)
I read in the Glebe Report, a couple years ago, that you are in Ottawa’s Glebe. If this is correct, would you mind sharing your source for Kashmiri chilies, in the case you find them in or around Ottawa?
Thanks so much for the recipes!
Hope you like it! Just about any Indian grocer stocks kashmiri chilies. I usually just walk to Thana on Bank. Just north of where James Street Feed Company used to be on the west side of the street.
which is the best brand of naga pickle to order?
If you can get Mr. Naga it really is special. If not Pran is pretty good but really, really hot.
Hi Romain, loved the sound of this recipe and had the gravy in the freezer ready to go – so I made up the vindaloo paste in the link…but I just realised the recipe for the paste in the link is a larger quantity than in the tikka recipe. So it may be a silly question but could you give me a quantity of how much paste to use in the tikka vindaloo?
Fair question. This recipe uses half a batch of the vindaloo paste recipe.
Fiercy and bold, as I like it.
Your recipes have been a game changer since I discovered your website. Defo as good as the local curry house down the street.
Keep up the good work.
Many many thanks from UK/France,
Delighted you are enjoying the recipes! You are very welcome.
After making lots of curries the ‘other’ way, I’m just cooking this now. I have high hopes..
I hope you love it as much as I do. I like the ‘other’ way too, mind you. This is just upping the game…
Nice! You surely love to bring the heat. I love it.
Thanks. It’s a little complicated but it’s worth the effort. And it’s not that crazy hot…
Just wanted to say I really appreciate your curry recipes. I have tried several of your recipes, and I have tried multiple from other websites and I can definitively say this website is the best, most restaurant-like I have found on the web. I don’t even mind the prep – I find it quite enjoyable actually. Don’t stop!
Glad you are enjoying the recipes. I won’t stop. Don’t worry about that!
Hello Romain, have enjoyed many of your recipes with great results, so thank you for that, my query is for this chicken vindaloo, you have 8 kashmiri chiles, but I cannot find any where I live, so what would be a good chili to substitute or should I use kashmiri powder with some cayenne and what ratio would that be. Thanks again, keep turning out these fantastic recipes.
I haven’t tried this so no guarantees but you could try a couple teaspoons of kashmiri chili powder (plus the one tsp that is there for a total of a tablespoon) and maybe an extra half shallot (to give you some of the bulk that the rehydrated chilies bring). I don’t think I would try substituting a different chili pod because that could change the flavour profile a lot. If you want hotter maybe swap out some of the kashmiri chili powder for cayenne or a hot Indian chili powder.
Thanks for the prompt reply, I will give it a go
I have your hotel base in stock and will be cooking this over the weekend, I know this will be an awesome Vindaloo. WICKED, EXCITED, I just popped a semi!
Greg – you always put a smile on my face! Hope you enjoy!