Pork vindalho

The Portuguese-Indian colony of Goa was the birthplace of the vindaloo or vindahlo curry. It has a slightly bad rep in this country where dishes bearing this name are all about super-spicy chilli heat but the real thing is finer, full of sweet and hot flavour from wine vinegar (vinho) and lots of garlic, alhos. I like to make mine with a good quality cider vinegar (although wine, rice or coconut vinegar are also good) and a couple of pinches of chilli flakes. The spice paste takes a little effort to make from scratch but it’s so worth it – the final sauce has a complex flavour and works beautifully with pork and I have also made it with skinned duck legs and breast meat. I usually make a big batch and freeze half. Like most curry dishes, it’s best made ahead and reheated as the flavours really develop then. I serve it with basmati rice and a green vegetable like wilted spinach or steamed green beans.


  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 mustards seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 5cm stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of light vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into half rings
  • 8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 300g tin of tomatoes
  • 800g boneless pork shoulder, chopped into rough chunks

To make…

  1. First, make the vindahlo spice paste. Grind the cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, peppercorns, mustard seeds and cinnamon in a coffee/spice grinder. Add the spices to a bowl with the coriander, chilli flakes, turmeric, salt, sugar and vinegar. Mix and set aside.
  2. Heat half the oil in a frying pan, add the onions to the pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes until soft, brown and caramelised. Add the fried onions, garlic and ginger paste in an electric blender with 4 tablespoons of water and whizz into a smooth paste. Mix into the spice and vinegar paste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Dry off the meat cubes with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a cooking pot (I use a Le Creuset casserole), brown the meat in batches and set aside on a plate.
  5. Add the spice paste to the pot and stir for a few minutes. Add the meat and any accumulated meat juices. Stir, add the stock and tomatoes.
  6. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about an hour until the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
  7. Serve with fluffy mounds of basmati rice and a green vegetable like spinach or green beans.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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