Saturday, May 20, 2006

Chicken Vindaloo


3 chicken breast fillets
2-3 large onions
2 fresh chilli peppers (I use 1 red and 1 green)
6 cloves of garlic
2cm cube of root ginger (if you dont have fresh ginger use 8 cloves garlic + 1 tsp dried root ginger powder)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp cinnamon powder
1.5 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
0.5 tsp rock salt
1 tbl chopped fresh coriander leaves
half a cup of water


  1. Take a thick based frying pan, and pour into it enough vegetable oil to cover the base, with a little excess.
  2. Now take the raw onions, and slice them into fairly thin slivers.
  3. Heat the oil on a hot stove. When the oil is very hot, add the onions.
  4. Turn the stove down to a low heat, so the onions are just gently frying.
  5. After around 3 minutes they should be starting to caramelize.
  6. Gradually turn up the heat and keep stirring the onions. You want them to brown quite heavily without burning them.
  7. Add the white wine vinegar, it will sizzle, and after a while will evaporate, just keep stirring them.
  8. Keep frying them for several more minutes, until they are very brown, but not burnt.
  9. Now remove the onions from the pan into a bowl, taking care to let as much oil as possible drip back into the pan.
  10. We should now have a bowl of nicely crisped fried onions.
  11. Add the onions to a food blender. Add around 1 tablespoon of oil, and zap for around a minute until you have a fairly thick, dark brown sauce. This is the basic onion sauce from which vindaloo is made. Its also the onion sauce that gives the vindaloo the majority of its 'heat' taste, as it builds up as you eat the dish.
  12. Coarsely chop the garlic cloves (and root ginger if you're using it).
  13. De-seed the chilli peppers and chop in the same way.
  14. Add the chopped garlic and chillies to the food processer.
  15. Blend the garlic and chillis until you have a fairly grainy (but liquid) sauce. For this I used an attachment on my blender which is intended to grind coffee beans. It has a much smaller container and so there's less waste.
  16. Add the turmeric, coriander powder and cinnamon to the sauce.
  17. Stir it until it's well mixed, and set aside.
  18. Gently crush the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Once coarse, add the mustard seed and rock salt.
  19. Bash the pestle and mortar, until all the spices form a nice coarse powder.
  20. Pour a little oil into a saucepan.
  21. Add the spiced garlic and chilli paste to the pan. It needs to be ever so slightly floating on oil, not touching the bottom of the pan.
  22. When the sauce is bubbling quite hot, add the chopped chicken.
  23. Keep stirring so the chicken absorbs the spice mix, until it is browned and mostly cooked.
  24. Now add the onion sauce to the pan.
  25. After stirring for 1 minutes, add a little water and stir for another 2 minutes.
  26. Now turn the heat to quite low.
  27. The sauce at this stage should be quite runny, and orange/tan in color. Remember a lot is going to evaporate off as it cooks.
  28. At this stage you can add some vegetables. Personally I just like half a cup of frozen peas.
  29. Place a lid over the pan, and cook for around 30-40 minutes. Keep checking and stirring the pan every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure it doesn't stick, or burn.
  30. Towards the last 5 minutes of cooking time, boil 2 cups of pilau, or basmati rice in a pan.
  31. The sauce will darken in color as it cooks. It should look something like this.
  32. Now its ready to serve. Add the rice, and spoon the curry over the top.
  33. Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves over the curry, and serve immediately.


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