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Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb Vindaloo, also known as Lamb Vindalho or Lamb Vindallo, is an Indian curry dish, particularly of the Goan cuisine. The dish is popular almost everywhere in the world in its traditional, Anglo-Indian form. It is a popular household preparation as well as a regular featre on menus of cafes, eateries and restaurants, especially those serving curry dishes. Vindaloo is almost always a very spicy preparation, with lots of green and red chilies and local spices. However, it is not among the hottest curries available.

History and Origin of Lamb Vindallo

Lamb Vindaloo is today popular as a Goan preparation but the roots of the dish are often traced back to Portugal. Vindaloo is essentially viewed as an Indian-ized version of Carne de Vinha d' Alhos, a popular Portuguese preparation made with pork, wine and garlic. When the Portuguese brought their traditional dish to Goa with them, it quickly took on a local form. Lots of local spices and herbs were added to it and pork was replaced with lamb (lamb meat being more popular and widely consumed in India).

Over the years, the dish has continued to evolve and there are various regional versions of it in today's times, within India as well as across the globe.

Ingredients Used in Preparation of Lamb Vindalho

Lamb, Goan spices, green chilies, red chilies, water/broth, mustard oil, wine, brown sugar, garlic and salt are the traditional ingredients used in the preparation of Lamb Vindaloo. At times, vinegar is replaced by wine and the choice of spices also depends on personal preferences. Traditionalists, however, strictly stick to the original ingredients.

There are various regional as well as global versions of Vindaloo and the ingredients differ in terms of meats and vegetables used as well the spices, herbs and seasoning and flavoring agents added. While lamb is most common, there are variations that call for the use of chicken, seafood, pork and even beef. Potatoes, carrots, cabbage, etc., are often added to make a fuller, richer dish and local spices, like the Kashmiri chili powder or the Punjabi garam masala (mix of common Punjabi spices), are added to give more color and taste to Vindalho.

Preparation Overview of the Traditional Lamb Vindaloo Recipe

To make the traditional Goan Lamb Vindaloo, the lamb pieces first need to be marinated for a minimum of 12 hours in the fridge or a cold, dark place. The marinated lamb is then fried, along with the other essential ingredients (vegetables, spices, ghee, water/broth, etc.) over medium-high heat. It is very important to ensure that the lamb is not cooked over high heat as that can lead to unnecessary toughening of the meat. Traditionally, the lamb was slow cooked but modern day chefs prefer to save time by making use of quick cooking kitchen equipment like gas stoves and hot plates.

A moderately-easy dish to prepare, Lamb Vindalho is often served with hot, cooked rice or Indian breads. It is a popular lunch or dinner meal. It takes about 40 to 50 minutes to make 2 to 3 servings of the dish.

Lamb Vindaloo Recipe Variations

The first known variation of the dish originated in Mumbai where wine was substituted with vinegar and Kashmir chilies were used instead of the much spicier Goan chilies. While this is probably the most popular variation of the traditional Lamb Vindaloo, there are other variations that use chicken instead of lamb and palm vinegar instead of red wine. In Orissa and West Bengal (states of East India), the dish is a common preparation in homes and on special occasions. Potatoes are added to the dish in these regions and chicken, being a cheaper option, is often used in combination with lamb.

Across Britain, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East and Germany, the dish has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It is a common feature on menus of Indian restaurants as well as local commercial establishments. The hotness is, however, often adjusted to suit the local tastes better. Also, pork and beef are more common meats in these regions and preferred over lamb. In America, the dish is often served as 'Indian Chicken with Potato'.

Lamb Vindallo Trivia

Potatoes are not traditionally a part of Lamb Vindallo but the vegetable is often found in variations prepared outside of India. Many believe that this is because potato in Hindi is known as 'aloo' leading people to infer that potatoes are an important ingredient.