Vindaloo is a dish that developed in Goa, where the Portuguese dish Carne de vinha d’alhos met with locally available ingredients and cooking traditions. Carne de vinha d’alhos is a dish where meat is marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic. Wine-vinegar was not readily available in 16th century Goa, so people started making it with palm wine instead. From there, the long and winding road started that led to the many versions of vindaloo that exist today – versions that incorporate local ingredients such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, black pepper and tamarind pulp. Through Portugal’s vast network of sailing vessels, chilli peppers began to reach Goa from the Americas, and they were added to the pot as well.
Vindaloo is usually made with pork but can be made with almost any kind of protein-rich food that can be cut into chunks.
The masala (spice mix) used for vindaloo is, fittingly, known as vindaloo masala. It is available in spice markets, in several different variations, but you can also make your own at home. It is typically a paste rather than a dry powder masala.
Recipe for pork vindaloo with homemade vindaloo masala
Ingredients for the vindaloo masala
- 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 6 red chillies, soaked in ½ cup vinegar for 2 hours
- 2 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoon garlic, peeled and chopped
- Vinegar, if needed
- 1 kg of pork
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 250 grams of peeled button onions
- Water, as necessary
- 2 tablespoons of jaggery (gur)
- Salt to taste
- Roast cumin and cloves together in a skillet over medium heat, until they start to gove off strong aromas. Ground them together with the other vindaloo masala ingredients, using a mortar and pestle, to make a paste. (Add more vinegar if needed to get the right consistency.) Set aside.
- Cube the pork and toss it into the vindaloo masala. Coat the pork well and leave to marinate for at least two hours in the fridge.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or similar. Add the marinated pork and all the vindaloo masala. Stir fry the marinated pork over high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the onions. Lower the heat, add enough water to prevent burning, and leave the dish to simmer until the meat is tender.
- Add jaggery and salt. Mix well.
- Serve hot.
The state Goa is located on India´s south-western coast, by the Arabian Sea. For roughly 450 years, Goa was a part of the vast Portuguese Empire, until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Back in the 14th century CE, Goa was part of the Delhi Sultanate, before falling into the hands of the Vijayanagara monarchs. In 1469 it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga, before ending up with the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who established the city we know as Velha Goa (Old Goa). The Portuguese defeated the Bijapur sultan in 1510 and picked Velha Goa as their centre of administration for Portuguese Goa. Velha Goa remained the capital until 1843, when the Portuguese made Panaji the new capital.