Beef vindaloo is a very popular Indian curry that is tangy and spicy. It has its own individual flavour unlike other Indian or Goan curries thanks to the use of vinegar in the marinade that both flavours the beef and tenderises it beautifully. This is the perfect curry to serve at a curry dinner as a spicy, tangy contrast to creamy, coconut or nut based curries. This restaurant quality beef vindaloo curry is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
Vindaloo is a particular type of curry that is tangy and spicy. The key to an authentic beef vindaloo is the use of vinegar unlike many other popular Indian curries. The reason for the use of vinegar is because of the origins of vindaloo which is actually based on a Portuguese dish called "carne de vinha d'alhos" which is meat marinated in wine and garlic. On the Madeira Islands people used to preserve meat and pork in a mixture of garlic, wine and vinegar. Originally vindaloo was made using pork but nowadays beef and other meats are popular. It travelled to Goa, India with Portuguese explorers in the 16th century who arrived on ships with meat preserved in barrels.
I always think that if you're doing a curry dinner or curry party, vindaloo is always good to serve as there are so many creamy curries like tikka masala or butter chicken. A real Goan vindaloo is not like the British vindaloo that is outrageously spicy and is often taken on as a dare. Goan vindaloo is a milder spiciness to it. If you're worried that your meat will taste too strong being marinated in vinegar I promise it won't. That's because in Goa they often use coconut vinegar which is a milder vinegar than white vinegar. You can find it at Indian stores or at Filipino stores. If you can't find it you can also use a mild white vinegar like rice vinegar.
Tips for Making Beef Vindaloo
1 - This recipe needs to be started the day before to marinate the beef.
2 - The best beef to use is beef chuck as it is tasty, inexpensive and marinating it tenderises and flavours the beef. Make sure to cut the beef into similar sized pieces around 1 inch in size.
3 - Use a mild vinegar for this like coconut or rice vinegar. I don't really recommend using white vinegar for this as it is quite strong. Coconut vinegar can be easily found at Indian and Filipino grocery stores while rice vinegar is at the supermarket.
4 - Can I use other meat? Yes this would work well with pork, lamb, chicken or even seafood. Although you won't have to marinate the pork, lamb or chicken as long, one hour will do and marinate prawns or seafood for 10 minutes.
Mr NQN loved this curry so much as did I. I served it with onion bhaji, paratha, biryani, raita and mango lassi (I'll share the recipes for the onion bhaji and mango lassi soon too because I've been busy working on those). Sometimes you don't need to go out to have a restaurant quality meal. I was thinking about that one night when we had gone out for an event. It was quite fun but the night had dragged on quite long and the food took so long to come out that we were at the restaurant for over four hours. Mr NQN was starting to get restless and couple that with the fact that one of my contact lenses was irritating me so I had to go to the bathroom and remove it and throw it away.
When I got back to the table Mr NQN was sipping his fourth cocktail, "You're driving right?" he asked.
"Um what? I just chucked out one of my contacts," I replied, slightly worried. I top out at a quarter of a cocktail because of Asian flush so I'm usually the designated driver.
Usually I don't mind driving but I don't like driving at night and this restaurant was quite a drive away on unfamiliar roads but he was in no condition to drive so I was the driver that evening. It was a Thursday night so there were a lot of cars on the road. And with just one contact lens in my sight wasn't great. I tried winking to cover up the contact lens-less eye which gave me perfect vision but there's only so long you can hold a wink.
"Do you want me to help steer?" he asked and I nodded eagerly. I hate the drive across the Harbour bridge because the lanes are so narrow so Mr NQN sat in the passenger seat helping me steer.
"You've got to look after the acceleration, braking and changing lanes," he said and I nodded yes periodically winking.
"Ok we need to change lanes now," he said. I indicated right. Mr NQN turned left. The people behind us must have been thinking I had either been drinking or was very uncoordinated.
I started bargaining with the universe and telling it that we can't die driving home because who will look after Teddy and Milo? Mr NQN's mum Tuulikki is elderly and recovering from eye surgery and his father is off living in Thailand. My parents and sister live in Singapore and besides they wouldn't walk them and they'd end up unhappy house dogs. By the time all of these scenarios played out in my head we were home. And I can confirm that yes, sometimes it's better to eat at home, especially if you're one eyed and driving!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like beef vindaloo curry? Have you ever tried the Goan version? Are you nervous driving at night?
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Authentic Beef Vindaloo
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 6 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus overnight marinating time
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people with rice and bread
- 1kg/2.2lbs beef chuck, cut into inch sized pieces
- 4 cups/1litre/2 pints coconut (or rice) vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fine salt
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 7 cardamom pods, bashed up (or 2 teaspoons ground cardamom)
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 cup/60ml/2flozs oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons ginger paste
- 100g/3.5ozs. tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 6-12 dried red chillies (I prefer very hot curries so I go for 12 but go according to your taste) or 3 small red fresh chillies
- 3 cups/750ml/8.8flozs beef stock
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Marinating the beef with the vinegar, salt and garlic
Step 1 - First marinate the beef. Mix the vinegar with the salt and garlic in a very large ceramic or glass bowl and add the beef cubes and allow to marinate overnight. The beef will change colour to a light grey-that is fine. The salted vinegar tenderises and flavours the beef. Drain the vinegar (don't worry about discarding the garlic).
After marinating it turns colour
*Step 2 - *Mix the cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, mustard seeds, paprika, turmeric, cloves, black pepper and cinnamon sticks in a small bowl. Heat a large pot on medium heat and add the spices and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then add a couple of tablespoons of oil and fry the onions adding more oil when needed. Add the garlic, ginger and tomato paste and fry for a minute. Then add the drained beef and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the bay leaf, chillies and 1.5 cups of beef stock and place the lid on. Cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent it catching and then remove the lid and add the rest of the stock and and cook for 20 minutes with the lid off until the beef is very tender. Taste for seasoning and add the sugar if it needs it. Serve with paratha or naan and raita to cool palates.