I remember in grade 2 doing a special unit in school about Indian culture. We learned all about Indian music, dance, clothing and food. Although I loved the bright colours and gorgeous embroidery in Indian dress, as well as their interesting music and lyrical dances, I have to admit, I wasn't too fond of Indian cuisine. Being only a child, I found the spices to be a little overwhelming for my young palate. It wasn't until last summer when I visited my friend Lee-Anne from out of town, and was cooked a spectacular Indian Chicken Vindaloo, that I learned how much I love the exotic and spicy flavours of Indian Cuisine.
Since that fantastic dinner with Lee-Anne, I haven't stopped dreaming about her Chicken Vindaloo. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have messaged her more than a few times requesting her to please oh please come back to Toronto and make it for me again! This has become a little tricky, seeing as how shortly after the summer ended, Lee-Anne moved to British Columbia.
When I got word that Lee-Anne had plans of coming back to Toronto for a visit, my mind was immediately filled with thoughts of all of our incredible memories together, her infectious laugh, warm heart, and beautiful soul...oh...and of course Chicken Vindaloo. Once again I was stuck with this Indian dish on my mind. Although the thought of trying to make this dish scared me, I couldn't stand the thought of waiting another day before tasting it again!
Because I'm not yet familiar with many Indian dishes, spices, and cooking methods, I decided to take a shortcut on my first attempt at making Chicken Vindaloo. So here we have it, my Cheaters Handbook Chicken Vindaloo. The trick here is to pay attention to little details, because when it comes down to it, its all in the details!
I started off with a jar of Chicken Vindaloo sauce. Oh yes, my friends, this is certainly a cheater, but a delicious and beautiful one at that! Because the sauce is going to be the base of your dish, I would highly recommend doing some research on the best store-bought Indian sauces. Find one that has flavours that you like or you know are authentic. Follow the directions on the bottle and from there the fun begins! Look up different Chicken Vindaloo recipes as well as Indian takeout menus to get ideas on what else can be added to the dish. For example, my store-bought bottle only required chicken, canned crushed tomatoes and rice. To make it my own, I first added more tomatoes because I like more of a tomato sauce in my Vindaloo. I also read the list of ingredients, and added more of some of the spices that I know I like, so that the tomatoes would not overwhelm the spice. I also boiled some potatoes to stir in with my chicken, as well as some fresh cilantro to add a bit of brightness to the dish. I finished the dish with a drizzling of tangy yogurt to act as a cool and refreshing saviour to all that heat. The Chicken Vindaloo ended up incredible, and it was all thanks to my little personal touches!
- Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- Coconut milk
- Plain yogurt
- Spices such as: garam masala, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, bay leaves
- Coconut vinegar
- Curry powder or paste