Pork Vindaloo

The name vindaloo comes from two Portuguese words: vin, meaning “vinegar,” and alho, meaning “garlic.”  When the Portuguese traveled to India, they took pork preserved in vinegar, garlic, and pepper, which was spiced up to suit Indian tastes!

Serves 4.


  • 2-6 dried red chiles (long slim variety), torn into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 5 cloves
  • 1-inch/2.5-cm piece cinnamon stick, broken up
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 mace blade
  • 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons frnugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 3 tbs cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs tamarind juice or juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 lb 9 oz/700g boneless leg of pork, cut into -inch/2.5 cm cubes
  • 4 tbs sunflower or olive oil, plus 2 tbs
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • Generous 1 cup warm water, plus 4 tbs
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 8-10 fresh or dried curry leaves
  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve
Grind the first 10 ingredients to a fine powder in a coffee grinder.  Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and add the garlic and ginger pastes, vinegar, and tamarind juice.  Mix to form a paste.
Put the pork in a large nonmetallic bowl and rub about one quarter of the spice paste into the meat.  Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.
Heat the 4 tbs oil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, until slightly browned.  Add the remaining spice paste and cook, stirring continuously, for 5-6 minutes.  Add 2 tbs warm water and cook until it evaporates.  Repeat with remaining 2 tbs water.  Add the pork and cook over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, until the meat changes color.  Add salt, sugar, and 1 cup warm water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50-55 minutes, until the meat is tender.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a very small saucepan over low heat.  Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown.  Add the curry leaves and let sizzle 15-20 seconds.  Stir in the garlic mixture into the vindaloo  Remove from heat and serve immediately with cooked basmati rice.

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