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Chicken Vindaloo from 'Milk Street'

Daniel Hautzinger
Chicken Vindaloo from 'Milk Street.' Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Television airs Saturdays at 4:00 pm.

Vindaloo is probably one of the better-known dishes in America that originated from the Indian subcontinent. Popularized by Indian restaurant menus across the United States, it's a tangy, lightly spicy curry from the state of Goa. This recipe from Milk Street substitutes paprika and cayenne for Kashmiri chilies; all the other ingredients should be available at most grocery stores.

Chicken Vindaloo

Vindaloo, an Indian dish of Portuguese influence, typically is associated with the state of Goa on India’s southwestern coast, but the curry is popular the world over. Vindaloo, which often is made with lamb or chicken, is notable for tangy flavor from vinegar, a generous dose of garlic and the gentle spice of dried chilies. The Kashmiri chilies used in India are vibrantly colored with moderate heat; we found a mixture of sweet paprika and cayenne to be a good substitute. If you order Kashmiri chili powder online, substitute 4 teaspoons for the paprika and cayenne. Serve with basmati rice.

Don’t worry if the chicken sticks to the pot immediately after it is added. Allow it to cook undisturbed and it eventually will release with ease. And don’t be afraid to allow the chicken and puree to brown as they cook. This brings out the flavors in the spices and tames the pungency of the aromatics, yielding a sauce that tastes full and round.

Servings: 4


1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
12 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 whole cloves or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons neutral oil
Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings, to serve
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve


1. In a blender, combine 1/4 cup vinegar, garlic, ginger, paprika, sugar, cloves, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, 1 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons water. Puree until smooth, scraping the blender as needed. Pour into a medium bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and marinade in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the marinade has browned and the chicken releases easily from the pot, 5 to 9 minutes. Stir, then add 1/3 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes.

3. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, increase to medium and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick enough that a spoon drawn through leaves a trail, about 8 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sliced chilies and cilantro.