vindaloo paste – the secret ingredient in great restaurant vindaloo

Vindaloo paste is a great way to get restaurant results at home. You can make Indian restaurant vindaloo curry just like they do.

I cook a lot of curries. I cook in the restaurant style and I cook homestyle. But restaurant vindaloo has always been a difficult one for me. I can make a pretty good vindaloo but it always comes up a little short. Not quite what I taste when I hit my local Indian restaurant.

I’ve tried a bunch of different things. My restaurant vindaloo curry is the closest I’ve ever come. It’s good enough that I posted it. I don’t post recipes I can’t stand behind. People tell me it’s great. I fiddled with that recipe a lot. Still tinkering with it now.

But I want something more. I want it nailed. So I’ve started getting nosy. Pushing my way into Indian restaurant kitchens. Asking all sorts of questions.

Vindaloo paste is perfect for making restaurant style chicken vindaloo.

Vindaloo paste with scattered dry chilies from above.

Vindaloo paste is what they use in my favourite Indian restaurants

Restaurants will share if you are enthusiastic. And polite. If they recognize you. I think they are happy you care enough to ask.

It’s not like it used to be. Where Indian restaurants guarded how they do what they do. Wouldn’t share. Thankfully those days are over.

So I got them to tell me. What they do is make vindaloo paste. Big batches of it. Like the jars of vindaloo paste you can get in grocery stores. But better. Much better.

Spoonful of vindaloo paste.

Hydrated chilies make a great vindaloo paste

Problem with Indian restaurants is they won’t give you all their secrets. They’ll point you in the right direction. But it’s up to you to figure things out.

So I started researching. Experimenting. Things were moving in the right direction. But it wasn’t perfect. So I borrowed an idea from my laal maas recipe. Hydrating the chilies. That was it. I am happy.

This vindaloo paste is great for Indian restaurant style. Try it in this restaurant chicken vindaloo. It works for homestyle curries too. Either way it’s an easy way to great a great curry on the table at home.

Bowl of vindaloo paste from the front.
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4.89 from 17 votes

vindaloo paste

Hydrating chilies is the key to making great vindaloo paste at home. Use it for restaurant style or homestyle curries.
Course condiment
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Indian restaurant vindaloo, vindaloo curry, vindaloo paste
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 555kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 15 kashmiri chilies
  • 1/4 cup garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper coarse grind
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp jaggery sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 tsp malt vinegar
  • 3 tbsp oil


  • Seed the dried chilies. You will need to break them into pieces to do it. That's OK.
  • Pour really hot water over the chilies and leave to hydrate. You may need to drain and add a second batch of hot water. This takes up to an hour, depending on the chilies.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Then puree until smooth. 
  • If it won't go, add a splash of water. It takes a while to really puree. Be patient.


A simple homemade garlic ginger paste can be found here. Homemade is so much better than store bought. You won't believe the difference.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 483mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 4305IU | Vitamin C: 6.4mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 4.9mg

38 thoughts on “vindaloo paste – the secret ingredient in great restaurant vindaloo”

  1. Hi Romain,
    I batch cook your curry base and paste for ease, and I’ve just realised that i am using this ‘restaurant’ paste when cooking your vindaloo ‘hotel’ recipe. A complete oversight on my part, but i absolutely love the richness and depth of flavours this brings to the dish. Granted, i am a bit of a chilli head, and normally add approx 1/4 chilli pod for heat (habanero/scotch bonnet or naga’s when being brave!), and i find the enhanced flavours break through the heat perfectly. Have you ever tried this crossover at all or would it be a no-no to lose the authenticity of your recipe?
    Love your site btw, and your Achari chicken curry using Mr. Naga rivals the Naga achari dishes served up in the local UK restaurants, so a million thumbs up from me.

    • That will work just fine. The vindaloo paste in the hotel vindaloo is pretty much identical (no sugar) and scaled down.

      And I agree. Naga makes everything better:-).

    • Depends how much you are making. If you are cooking a restaurant style curry from glebekitchen then about 1/3 of a cup.

  2. Thanks for the recipe. I seem to remember that tamarind paste is an ingredient in vindaloo paste. I added some, I also used apple cider vinegar. Came out great thanks

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Romain.

    Great flavour to this paste. Mine ended up about the consistrncy of tomato paste. A good trick to help it keep longer in the fridge (also workson opened jars of of tomato paste) is to pour a thin layer of vegeta le oil on top of it so that no air can get to it. And keep topping the oil up every time you use a bit.

  4. Good Day Romain
    Love your curry recipes! Hooked on curry now! What are your thoughts on replacing the dried chili with green finger chilies? Our local indian grocer has very hot ones…

    • Nothing will be quite the same but I’ve read cider vinegar or wine vinegars will do in a pinch. Note that I’ve never tried this recipe with anything other than malt vinegar so I am not sure how it will turn out for you.

  5. Hello Romain
    I am writing to you from Switzerland / Europe and I am very enthusiastic about your recipes. What I would like to know, I can cook all your recipes with the curry base with the meat without pre-cooking it, so simmer slowly. With my best regards to you from Sonja Menzi

    • Thank you for saying. You can add raw chicken into a nearly finished curry and let it cook. That works OK. You may have to adjust the consistency at the end.

      For a long simmering dish based on lamb or beef I would either pre-cook for restaurant style or follow a more traditional approach starting with browned onions.

  6. Great recipe.. But soaking chilli is not a new idea. This method is in use for ages whether in restaurants or homes, whether in vindaloo or in other recipes.

    • Thanks. I never said it was a new idea though. In fact, I said I borrowed it from another recipe. The only thing I suggested was new to me was making a paste instead of trying to spice my way to a decent restaurant style vindaloo.

    • The secret is to soak the chillies garlic and ginger in red vinegar for a couple of hours before grinding. Not a drop of water to be used. That way it grinds and stores better

  7. Hi there, the chilies you show in the picture do not look like the kashmiri chills that I buy in my local Indian grocery. The ones I buy are much squatter. Your look more like hot Mexican chilies. Are there different kinds of Kashmiri chilies. Thanks

    • I don’t know if there are different types but the ones I buy come from my Indian grocer and the bag is labelled kashmiri chilies.

    • Thanks, after researching, it seems there are a lot of fake Kashmiri chilies out there. Will use them anyway since all chilies are good. Will shop around some more. Great stuff on your site. Recipes have a nice narrative and detailed instructions. I made your Kahari chicken recipe and it was delicious. The green chilies I used weren’t that hot. I will use green Thai chilies next time I added some cayenne after tasting and was still great.

  8. Hi Romain,
    thank you very much for your insights here at Glebekitchen :).
    Since I am from the european continent, I have some trouble with the units too. Wikipedia tells me there are several types of cups (
    – Imp. cup = 284,1 millilitres
    – US cup = 236,6 millilitres
    – …
    Would you reveal how manny millilitres fill “your” cup? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Helge,

      You are very welcome. On this blog one cup is 236.6 millilitres. 8 ounces to a cup. 454 grams to a pound. 15 ml for one tablespoon. It’s an imprecise system I agree…

  9. Hi, is it 1/4 teaspoon or tablespoon garlic/ginger paste please?.
    I too have tried almost of combinations to replicate my favourite vindaloo. I’ve started to add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic puree 5 minutes before end of cooking, enough time to remove the rawness. Ive found this adds to the taste I’m trying to find. I can’t wait to try your method now.
    Thank you for all the brilliant recipes.

    • I had a physical chemistry professor who would give you zero on a problem if your units were wrong. He would not have been happy the about the complete omission of units. It is 1/4 cup of garlic ginger paste. I’ve updated the recipe.

      The recipe makes about 3 restaurant style curries BTW. There’s a restaurant style chicken vindaloo recipe using this paste coming in the next couple weeks.

      I will most definitely try your garlic trick soon. Thanks very much for that tip.

    • About to try and make your vindaloo this weekend. Looks amazing. How long will the paste last for. Could I freeze it or not as it is a paste?

    • It should last at least a week or two in the fridge. I have personally never tried freezing it so I don’t know how that would work. If you try freezing it please come back and let everyone know how it worked out.

    • Maybe I’m a terrible person but I’ve left the garlic ginger paste for several weeks on a kitchen shelf with no obvious ill effects.

    • Haha. You are a terrible person. I sentence you to all the delicious food you can eat for a term no less than three years.

4.89 from 17 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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