Vindaloo…the name conjures up fiery Indian curries, the kind that make your brow sweat and your tongue hurt. If that’s your thing and you want to make an authentic Indian Vindaloo you’re going to need to start with a good curry paste. Of course you can buy it in a jar, but if you make your own you’ll have control over the quality of the ingredients and the level of heat, This recipe will make enough paste for several curries, and it will keep well in the fridge.
When it comes to curries and curry pastes, there are a millions variations, this is just one. It’s fun to make and not very involved. It begins with toasting some classic Indian spices for a few minutes in a dry pan to bring out their flavor. The mustard seeds will start to pop and the aroma will be amazing. A small coffee grinder is the perfect tool for grinding the toasted spices into a powder, it takes just seconds. I’ve had my inexpensive Krups grinder forever and it’s one of my most important kitchen tools.
I know, you don’t want your next batch of coffee to taste like vindaloo curry, and it won’t if you follow this easy tip for cleaning it: empty any remaining powder from the grinder and wipe it out with a paper towel. Then pour a few tablespoons of white rice into the grinder and pulverize it into a powder. That will clean it out and remove any lingering scent. You can also do what I do and just keep one grinder for coffee and the other for spices. Freshly ground spices are a real luxury and are well worth the little bit of extra cupboard space. Once you have your dry spices ground, you will use a small food processor and a few extra ingredients to make the wet paste.
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp white peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 4 dried red chillies
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp plain vinegar
- 2 Tbsp tomato puree
- 1 Tbsp Tamarind paste (if you can find it)
- 2 fresh hot red chilli peppers
- Toast the spices in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mustard seeds start to pop and everything becomes fragrant.
- Put the spices into a spice grinder and process until finely ground.
- Transfer the spices to the bowl of a small food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Process until it becomes a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary.
- Store the curry paste in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a month.
You will use approximately 4 tablespoons of the paste to make a curry for 4.
This recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver
You usually see Vindaloos made with meat or chicken, but I used my paste to make a quick vegetable curry. I used eggplant, potato, cauliflower, squash, bell peppers and chickpeas, and I just threw this one together so I don’t have a recipe. That’s the nice thing about having the paste around, it becomes an instant curry sauce when you mix it with stock or water, and some crushed tomatoes. . Serve it with rice, yogurt and chutney and you have a quick meal.
I found this recipe buried deep in my drafts folder, which was lucky since I’m still buried in moving boxes here with no end in sight. Moving really makes you face your inner-hoarder. It’s not pretty. Like…five loaf pans…what was I thinking? But I need to get back to work, I have a date with a box cutter — see you again soon, I hope!