two potato vindaloo

July 27, 2011

You probably know that vindaloo is an Indian curry dish. But you probably didn’t know that 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. Crazy, no? The dish was originally modified in Mumbai by the substitution of vinegar for the wine, and the addition of red Kashmir chillies. It then evolved into the vindaloo curry dish in Goa, with the addition of plentiful amounts of traditional spice. The following recipe is plentiful, indeed, on the spice front so if you don’t have all of them, go out and get some. They are worth the time and effort – for all sorts of recipes, not just this one. I’ve adapted this recipe from Ottolenghi to streamline it a bit and modify the balance of texture and flavour! It’s sweet. It’s spicy. It’s hot. It’s satisfying. It’s great on a heap of freshly cooked plain rice.

8 cardamom pods, seeds extracted and crushed

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsps olive or safflower oil

12 shallots, sliced

1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

25 curry leaves

2 tbsps chopped fresh ginger

pinch red pepper chili flakes, in line with your tolerance for heat

6 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or a can of whole tomatoes

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 3/4 cups water or stock

1 tbsp sugar

sea salt

3 cups baby potatoes, quartered

2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped

2 – 3 cups sweet potato, cut into chunks

cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the shallots with the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Saute on medium-low heat until shallots are brown. Stir in all the spices, curry leaves, ginger, chili flakes and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Next, add the tomatos, vinegar, water, sugar and some sea salt. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes. For the last stage, add the sweet potato and bell peppers. Make sure all the vegetables are just immersed in the sauce (add more water if necessary) and continue cooking, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the lid and leave to bubble away while sauce thickens a bit. Add a healthy portion of chopped cilantro. Serve on plain rice and garnish with a bit more cilantro or some mint.

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