Beef Vindaloo

Beef VindalooThis Beef Vindaloo is not like the smack-you-in-the-face vindaloos you get from the local take-away. It is really authentic as the vindaloos in Goa are much milder. There is heat there, for sure, and if what you want is the searingly hot version, just double the chillies. The dish actually came from Portugal in its earliest form literally meaning “meat cooked in wine and garlic.” The Goans adapted it using vinegar instead and adding dried chillies to the mix and, presumably, never looked back.

I know that there is a lot of marinating and a long time cooking but this is still a really easy dish. Just blitz some ingredients together to make the marinade. While the beef is marinading you needn’t do anything. I literally spend most of that time asleep. Then some slow cooking with three more fresh ingredients, giving you loads of time to make the rice!

While the beef was marinating, the kitchen was filled with a familiar smell that I couldn’t place. It eventually dawned on me that it smelled like brown sauce. After a quick look online for the ingredients I saw that they were very similar. Tamarind, vinegar and cinnamon are found in both which makes sense when you realise that brown sauce, along with Worcestershire sauce, piccalilli and chutneys are all Indian influences.

After all that tenderising in the acidic marinade and the 2 hours of slow cooking, the cheap and usually tough shin meat was incredibly tender, you could eat this with a spoon.

Beef Vindaloo


    For the marinade:
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried Kashmiri chillies
  • seeds from 15 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp of cloves
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 red onion
  • half a tsp of turmeric
  • 5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind liquid
  • 1 and a half tsp sea salt flakes
  • half a tsp of sugar
  • For the Curry:
  • 750g shin beef, cut into 3cm medallions
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 3 green chillies, halved and deseeded
  • 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter or vegetable oil
  • 100 ml water


    For the Marinade:
  1. Grind the cinnamon, Kashmiri chillies, cardamom seeds, cloves, cumin and peppercorns to a fine powder. I use an electric coffee grinder.
  2. Add the spice powder plus all the other marinade ingredients to a food processor and blitz until you are left with a smooth paste.
  3. For the Curry:
  4. Add the marinade to the beef and mix well to coat the beef. Cover with tin foil and put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
  5. Heat the ghee or butter in a heavy based pan and add the diced onion. Allow to fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium/high and add the beef and all the marinade. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes, chillies and water. Mix well, bring the heat down to medium, clamp the lid on and allow to cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve.
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