In The States or outside of India, Vindaloo is known as tongue-scorching curry. It is also known as a dish cooked with potato because “aloo” means potato in Hindi. But the original recipe was very different. It came to India around the 15th century with Portuguese explorers. Vindaloo is from a Portuguese dish “carne de vinha d’alhos” which means meat marinated in wine and garlic. Later it got adjusted to suit the local conditions by replacing wine with palm vinegar and adding tamarind, black pepper, and several other spices. When the British invaded India, they were delighted to learn about this curry because it was still very close to the original, non-spicy one. But when they took this recipe back to England, they made it a spicy, super hot curry. The taste of vinegar and spices disappeared under the blistering heat of chiles.
Vindaloo is typically a Goan dish of meat, usually pork prepared with wine and garlic. These ingredients make up the term "vindaloo," which is a name derived from the Portuguese dish, Carne de Vinha d'Alhos (where carne means meat, vinha means wine, and alhos means garlic).
However, this dish was later modified in Mumbai by the substitution of vinegar for the wine and the addition of red Kashmiri chiles. Vindaloo is meant to be a spicy (if not the spiciest) dish that has a tang that vinegar imparts. By the way, did you know that vindaloo is often mistaken to be a dish that has potatoes in it because aloo means potatoes in Hindi?
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A Goan/South Indian dish with a Portuguese history combined, I started with a Pat Chapman recipe and modified it to my taste. I was trying to come as close as possible to the vindaloo dishes I enjoyed at a particular Indian restaurant in Britain, and this is the result. There are some spices that I've rarely encountered at food stores locally and had to order through the internet, namely asafoetida and cassia bark, but these can be subbed with garlic powder and cinnamon, respectively with minimal effect. I've also found that the type and quantity of hot peppers used contribute significantly to the taste of the dish. Times I've tried to make it in a mild form so others could eat it without having to call the fire department, it didn't turn out very well. For this reason, I consider the type and quantity of pepper to be irreplaceable and that you have to like it HOT to really enjoy the dish. I use chicken for the meat, but I've seen (not tried) it offered with pork, lamb, and shrimp.