This easy Chicken Vindaloo skips some of the time consuming parts of classic Vindaloo, but still delivers lots of flavour. Perfect weeknight meal!
We have a very good Indian restaurant locally, so when I’m looking for classic, authentic Chicken Vindaloo, that’s where I’ll head. When I’m craving those flavours but not looking to go out, this is my easy, weeknight, make at home version.
This Chicken Vindaloo comes together quickly and easily in one pot, without the need to pre-marinate the chicken. Once combined, it simply simmers for 30 minutes or so to develop the flavours. Serve with basmati rice and some Naan bread for a great weeknight meal.
Vindaloo is a popular Indian curry, that can be made with a variety of meats, such as pork, lamb and chicken. Vindaloo is typically quite a spicy dish, though when you make it at home, you can easily control the spiciness level. You will sometimes see Vindaloo with cubed potatoes added in to the mix.
Check out my Herb and Garlic Naan Bread Recipe shown in the photos here. The perfect side for Indian food!
Cook’s Notes for Easy Chicken Vindaloo
While this dish has a long list of spices, most are quite common in the average spice rack. If you find you’re missing one, it’s not a deal breaker. You will still have a lovely, fragrant curry.
I almost always use chicken broth for the sauce, as I find it makes for a fuller flavour sauce, but water will work if you don’t have broth on hand.
While Vindaloo is typically a spicy Indian dish (one of the spiciest!), when you are making it at home you are in complete control of the spice level. The heat here comes from the red pepper flakes. I have specified 1/2 tsp here, which will give you mild-moderate heat. Use more if you like it hot or none if you don’t want any heat at all.
I enjoy this Chicken Vindaloo with basmati rice, but as noted above, you can also add cubed potatoes to this dish and skip the need for rice. Simmer the uncooked, small cubed potatoes right along with the chicken. You may find you need to add a bit more liquid (water or stock) to the pot.
If you’d like a smoother sauce (better for dipping!) and you don’t mind an extra step, place your chopped onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor and process into a paste. Use in the recipe the same as the chopped onions, except cook for a bit less time.
Easy Weeknight Chicken Vindaloo
- 1 1/2 lb. chicken breast boneless, skinless, cut into 3/4" cubes
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil divided
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1 1/2 tsp white or brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes plus more, to taste, for more heat or omit for no heat
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 6 Tbsp vinegar white, white wine or red wine vinegar
- 2 cups water or chicken broth or a mixture of both
- Chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leafed parsley
- Prepare the spice mix by combining all the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan with a lid, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add cubed chicken and cook until you don't see any raw spots, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pot to a plate.
- Add 1 Tbsp more oil to the pot. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until quite soft and starting to brown lightly, about 4-5 minutes. (I like to add a splash of water to the pot about half way through cooking onions, which loosens any brown bits on the bottom of the pan and flavours the onions). Add the garlic and ginger to the pot and cook, stirring, another 30-45 seconds. Add the prepared spice mix to the pot and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds - 1 minute. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine. Add the vinegar and water or chicken stock to the pot and stir. Return the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Allow the curry to simmer covered for about 20 minutes, for the flavours to blend and the chicken to cook through. Remove the lid and simmer another further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken the sauce.
- Taste sauce and add salt as needed (it probably will need some to bring out all the flavours).
- Serve garnished with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, with basmati rice and Naan bread, if you like.