Lamb Vindaloo

  • Serves: 4-6
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1½ hours
  • Total time: 1¾ hours


  • 1.3kg/3lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into large chunks
  • 125ml/4½fl oz. sunflower oil
  • 4 onions, 3 finely sliced, and 1 chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt flakes
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
Lamb Vindaloo

Vindaloo is an Indian curry dish popular in the region of Goa. It is known globally in its Anglo-Indian form as a staple of curry house menus. Vindaloo is regarded as a fiery spicy dish, but as with all curries that can be tailored to your own tastes by adjusting the type and amount of chillies used.

It’s very important to use fresh chillies, I personally think the heat of fresh chillies is hotter, but it’s a more enjoyable taste and sensation. Although potatoes are a common inclusion in Vindaloo, they have been omitted in favour of a more traditional recipe which doesn't include them.

Lamb was used, partly because its seems to be able to support the stronger spices better, and the longer cooking time in the oven makes the lamb beautifully tender.

This dish would work well with chicken or even King Prawns, but I find other curries like a Massala, Dopiaza or Bhuna more suitable for those.


The lamb should be left overnight to marinade; you can do it by adding half the chopped spices to a quarter cup of white vinegar, rubbing it into the lamb, before refrigerating the mixture in a sealed container for a couple of hours before cooking


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Trim the lamb, discarding any lumps of fat and sinew.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottomed pan (I use and recommend a cast-iron shallow casserole dish), and brown the lamb.
  4. Once browned, remove the lamb, and set aside it for later.
  5. For the sauce, add three tablespoons of the oil to the same pan and cook the sliced onions over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes – or until softened and lightly browned.
  6. While the sliced onions are cooking, put the remaining chopped onion, garlic, chillies (With seeds), cumin, coriander, fenugreek, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a food processor and blend to a purée.
  7. Stir the purée into the fried onions, and add another two tablespoons of oil and cook together for five minutes, or until thickened and beginning to colour.
  8. If your pan isn’t suitable, you will need to move the mixture from the pan into a casserole dish.
  9. Pour 500ml/17fl oz. water into the casserole dish, then add the salt and bay leaves and bring it to a simmer.
  10. Cover the surface of the curry with a piece of greaseproof paper, then cover with a lid, and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  11. If serving with rice, or a last minute homemade raita, then it should be prepared now, ready for when the lamb has is cooked.
  12. Once ready season to taste with salt (Other spices won’t have a chance to impart flavour now!).
  13. Serve hot over a bed of rice, top with a little more chopped coriander. As the dish is ¬– intentionally – hot, you can serve it with a cooling onion raita, and some naan bread – this helps reduce the heat for those with palettes that are more delicate!
The name Vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese dish “Carne de Vinha d' Alhos”, which is a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic.

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