indian restaurant vindaloo curry

Indian restaurant vindaloo curry doesn’t have to be blow your head off spicy. It can be. Maybe it should be. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be a flavourful, hot, sour and tomato flavour bomb that lets you taste your dinner. Or it can be palate searing napalm. It’s your call and this recipe lets you do what you want.

Vindaloo is a Goan dish. Goa, if you haven’t heard of it, is a city on the west coast of India. Interesting thing about Goa. That’s where the Portuguese landed when the came. Who cares you ask? I do. You should too if you like Indian food.

Indian restaurant vindaloo curry is a hot and sour curry that can be as fiery as you want.

The Portuguese brought chili to India. They brought potatoes as well but chili was the big one. Before the Portuguese the Indian’s had pepper. Don’t get me wrong. I like pepper. But I like chili better. Imagine a vindaloo without chili. Imagine an Indian restaurant that spiced everything with nothing but pepper. See my point? Here’s to the Portuguese!

This is a master Indian restaurant vindaloo curry recipe. You can make it with pre-cooked chicken, lamb, beef or use paneer, pre-cooked potatoes, lentils, mixed vegetables or fried eggplant for vegan options.

Before you start do your prep. That’s important. Make your curry base and have some heated and ready to go. Pre-cook your meat. Measure out your ingredients. Have everything ready. Put on an apron – a bit of splatter is part of the fun.

If you have not read the guide to Indian restaurant technique yet, do it now. It has pictures to help you understand the recipe. There’s also a guide to Indian ingredients in that post.

Indian restaurant vindaloo curry is a hot and sour curry that can be as fiery as you want.

Indian restaurant vindaloo curry is a hot and sour curry that can be as fiery as you want.
Print Pin
4.88 from 8 votes

indian restaurant vindaloo curry

Indian restaurant vindaloo curry can be as hot as you like it. Just up the amount of chili powder for a little hotter. Or use hot chili powder to really crank up the heat.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 417kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


Spice mix

  • 2 tsp madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or 1/4 tsp cayenne plus 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi dried fenugreek leaf
  • 1/3 tsp cardamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp hot Indian chili powder (optional) - 1 tsp is burning. 2 tsp is screaming. Your call.


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp double concentrate tomato paste mixed with 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 green chili seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro stems and stalks minced
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind sauce (optional)
  • 15 oz curry base - recipe link below
  • 10-12 oz pre-cooked chicken or lamb


  • Make the spice mix.
  • Dilute the tomato paste with enough water to get to the consistency of passata.
  • Heat your frying pan (don't use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the garlic ginger paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Add the cilantro and green chili and cook for 15-20 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Turn down the heat and add the spice mix. This is the critical step. Stir it constantly for 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. This is important. The heat is what caramelizes the onion in the curry base and gives the curry it's Indian restaurant flavour. As you become more comfortable with this technique try pushing it. Add the diluted tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Think lively boil. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here. Sticking is OK. Just scrape it back into the base. Burning is bad.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form.
  • Mix in the malt vinegar, sugar and optional tamarind sauce.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the pre-cooked lamb, beef or chicken.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don't add water.
  • Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh cilantro and serve.


The recipe for curry base is here.
If you don't have madras curry powder the recipe for indian restaurant spice mix is here. It works too.
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
If you haven't read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are making multiple curries, have your curry base warming in a pot on the stove. If you are just making one, microwave it to warm it up right before you start cooking.
Indian restaurants pre-cook their meat so it's ready for service. This recipe assumes the same. To pre-cook chicken, simply simmer it with a bit of curry powder and salt in chicken stock for about 10-15 minutes - until it's barely cooked.
To pre-cook lamb or beef, do the same but plan for 1 to 1/2 hours for lamb and 2 hours or more for beef. You are making stew meat so you are braising until tender. You will need to keep an eye on the level of the stock. For beef use beef stock.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1138mg | Potassium: 859mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1025IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1.9mg


24 thoughts on “indian restaurant vindaloo curry”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night with keema and spinach,having pre cooked my keema in base gravy for 10 minutes or so. Reduced it right down to almost bhuna consistency. The result was excellent, not too hot and very flavoursome (might pop an extra chilli in next time 😆😆 – more for me then!)

  2. 5 stars
    Romain, I like a bit of spice but have never cooked a vindaloo as the restaurant one I tried years ago was outrageous with just a hint of impending doom.
    As I have cooked most of your curry recipes a few times, and knowing that you are not all about firey hot I have just made and eaten this basic restaurant vindaloo curry and I have to say, you have done it again.
    Reasonably spicey and full of flavour. Wife loved it too.
    I will make a batch of your paste for next time and do another of your vindaloos.
    Thanks again.

    • Delighted to hear you enjoyed it! This one took me the longest time to figure out. Had to charm my way into a restaurant kitchen to discover it.

  3. Can we do it with fish? Our favorite Indian restaurant has a fish vindaloo that is to die for. Although I suspect I wouldn’t precook the fish, since it cooks so fast.

    • Yes and it would be amazing. Just take it to the point where you would add the pre-cooked protein and add the fish raw. Cook until just done. Sounds so good…

  4. 5 stars
    Not sure why my original comment didn’t post. Maybe I forgot the star rating.
    Anyway I have to say this was delicious! Once the mix powder and vindaloo paste is prepped it is simplicity itself. And enough paste left for 3 or 4 more double portions. As per normal i precooked the chicken in the base gravy whilst getting the other stuff ready. The only other change I made was to double the salt as I use Himalayan which I find usually needs more.
    A very tasty curry with great depth of flavour.
    Another one to be repeated.

    • Delighted to hear you enjoyed it. You posted your review on the older chicken vindaloo recipe BTW. It’s there…

  5. Tried this recipe with both chicken and lamb. Best curry ever. Can you use duck breast, if so do you still need to cook it in stock, and for how long.

    • Delighted to hear that! Glad you enjoyed it.

      I haven’t ever done a restaurant style curry with duck. I’m getting asked this question pretty frequently so clearly I need to try.

  6. Hi, this is the most authentic curry I have ever made. Can you tell me how to thin it down if you’ve used all the base, as you said not to add water.
    Thank you.

    • A little more base is what I use. Water will work in a pinch if you don’t need too much. You just have to be really careful to make sure it gets worked into the sauce.

  7. Hello Romain,

    thanks for all the info here. I am new to BRI but excited!! 🙂
    I noticed that the onions are listed in the ingredients, but not in the method. I assume they go in the pan first, correct?

    cheers, Helge

    • It’s lots of fun to cook restaurant style for sure! I am a bit confused though. There are no onions in this recipe. Are you perhaps looking at a different recipe?

  8. 5 stars
    I made the curry base and garlic ginger paste yesterday, and then tackled this today. It was my second attempt at from scratch Indian food and this was easily the best Indian dish I have ever eaten. Your instructions were fantastic and easy to follow. The extra effort involved in making the curry base and garlic ginger paste is well worth it if I am going to get that kind of flavor out of every dish. Thank you so much for the excellent recipe.

    • Awesome! It’s so much fun when you get the hang of Indian restaurant style cooking and I agree – the results definitely reflect the work you put into your prep.

  9. 4 stars
    I’ve cooked a few of your curries &
    All have been delicious
    Ive noticed a lot of the recipes are only for 2 people i am planning to cook for 4 so should i simply double all ingredients & curry base ?

    • Unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way. The flavours rely on the ability to get the pan hot enough to caramelize the curry base. Doubling the recipe puts too much base in the pan. What I do is make the curry twice. The first batch holds well in a small saucepan over low heat.

  10. PS: I made pork vindaloo, as that was the best curry I had in my 6 months in india. I wasnt sure how long to boil the pork for, I did 20 mins but I think it might need 45-60 mins. I also think that frozen king prawns would work nicely in this dish.

    • Depends on the pork. If you were using pork shoulder you would need to simmer it until tender which might take up to an hour. I don’t think a leaner cut like loin would be great no matter how long or short you cooked it. Prawns (or shrimp) work but you have to be super careful not to overcook them. Into the sauce raw and simmer until just done.

  11. I made your curry base and this vindaloo for the first time today. It was excellent. My only comment is that the tamarind sauce I used was a bit strong (quite sweet like ketchup) and I think I would prefer to use tamarind juice (made from a block of tamarind pulp) instead next time, unless that would water it down too much?

    • Tamarind paste from pulp would be good I bet. It’s more work but I am going to try it next time!

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.