Homemade Vindaloo Curry Paste ~ keep this easy recipe in the fridge so you can whip up authentic Indian curries in no time!
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.
Homemade Vindaloo Curry 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 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!
Questions and Reviews
Wow, I love vindaloo but I’ve never been able to quite replicate it. Didn’t realize the need for cinnamon,, cloves or the mustards! I love making my own spice blends, but most of my spices are already powered. Have you made this from already ground spice added to tomato paste or do you think using pre-ground spices would ruin the flavour? I’m curious as there is limited shopping options in my area, so I’ve gotten what I can and have almost everything on your list but unfortunately mostly ground (coriander seeds are available but no cumin seeds at all, or the darker mustard, and fresh hot chili only occasionally). Thanks for any tips you can give me, and thanks for your wonderful recipes ?
I think curries are a wonderful example of recipes that can be tinkered with, every Indian household has a different recipe, so I suggest using what you’ve got. This is an older recipe and it’s been a while since I’ve made it, so I’ll be curious how it goes for you!
OMG. I am eating this by the spoon full! Ha. I even have spread it on my toast in the am. Yes, I did! I doubled your recipe and used a whole can of tomato paste. The only thing I think I would add next time is a bit of turmeric. Thank you for this amazing recipe!
Wow, on your morning toast? I love it!
How much paste does this make?
I next-to-never ‘comment’, but I just HAD to let yo know how amazing this was… Although, as I am prone to do, I mucked about with the recipe somewhat… But I started out with the best intentions. I picked corriander seeds fom my herb garden, and gathered all ingedients except fennel and mustard seed – so a hasty note to my husband to pick some up on the way home. ‘No problem,’ i think… ‘I’ll just get started on everything else.’
I begin to pan-toast the ingrediens I had… Then it went like this: no red chili’s? I’ll use these small Asian ones instead… Hmmm, they’re a little mall, so i’ll add a dried ancho (mild Mexican pepper)… It’s ‘Indo-fusian’ vinaloo now, right? Then ingredients are blending up nice in th food processor – except no tomato puree, so another trip to the garden for a tomato to rinse the juice from and add to other ingtedients… Hmmmm, no Tamarind either, so a little extra vinegar with some brown sugar… & a teaspoon of grated lemon rind… There we go, substitution complete… Still no husband, so my chicken is cubed and sauted… Time to add the vindaloo sauce… I must stop here to expain that my daughter (9), her friend and his dog, and our dog are in and out, music going, working around the pickling jars (my current project), and NOW my husband coms in… I quickly scrape every lovely bit of sauce from the food processor (i had also added a small red bell pepper, in leiu of fresh chilis)… My basmati rice is almost done… ‘oh, well’ the mstard seed and fennel won’t be roasted, as I quickly grind the eyeballed amounts in my now VERY fragrant coffee grinder. I can really smell the fennel at this point, so I only add half of what I ground. My pan muxture is quickly getting thick… I add 1/4 . water, then (what the heck) the rest of the ice wine… Wait… Too much sugar? Another splash of vinegar. Okay… Nice consistency, but thickening quickly… I add my diced par-boiled potatoes and a partially drained can of diced tomatoes. In a few minutes it smelled heavenly… Looked marvelous… Served over the rice… I was in heaven. It wasn’t until my husband and daughter said it was delicious, but just – ah – too spicy (they were tearing up), that I realized I had used ALL the ‘paste/sauce’ on this dish, instead of what I re-read was to be 4 tablespoons. We ad a good laugh, & I finally made something that asted authentic, and was spicy enough for me! I will continue to play with this recipe… Despite uninteded mishaps, it was a delicious meal, and I am soooo glad I found your recipe 😉 Thank you for sharing it.
We are making this RIGHT NOW. 🙂
Let me know how it goes, April!
Hot mama! I like spicy food but hate smelling like an Indian restaurant (much to the dismay of my fella, who adores Indian). I can’t imagine how happy he’d be if I surprised him with this.
I can think of a lot of uses for this one, Sue! Congratulations on surviving the move. I totally know what you mean about your inner hoarder. Since we retired and moved into our forever home we’ve had three garage sales and about to have the 4th this spring! Remember to keep replacing that box cutter blade – things will go a lot faster :>)
Thanks Candace 🙂
Thanks for the grinder cleaning tip! We have a similar one and I always put off grinding my cinnamon because I don’t feel like cleaning out the spices that my husband last used! We were just talking about making our own Indian food from scratch, so we’ll have to give this a shot.
Cinnamon is the one spice I have trouble grinding — it’s so hard! Hope you enjoy the recipe Katie!