I really enjoy eating Indian food, and Chicken Vindaloo is one of my all-time favorites. I love the unique combination of spices, I love the rich colors, and that delicious and exotic aroma that seems unique to Indian cooking.
Since I was unfamiliar with some of the spices and their combinations used in Indian cooking, I was honestly intimated by the slightest thought of making Chicken Vindaloo at home.
I’m hesitant to prepare recipes that require ingredients and spices I don’t keep on hand like Thai chiles, garam masala and black or brown mustard seeds. Although most full-service grocery stores carry these ingredients, I hate buying ingredients to try a new recipe I’ve not tried before. What if I don’t like it? I could be wasting money on spices (and my time) if I never use them again.
My Introduction to Homemade Indian Food
She explains in detail the spices often used in Indian cooking (complete with pictures for people like me who need visuals). And using a slow cooker to prepare Indian food, well that really did put me at ease. To me a slow cooker spells E-A-S-Y!
It still takes me longer to prepare Chicken Vindaloo than I would normally spend preparing a meal, even in the slow cooker. Because I’m not that familiar with the steps and spices, I pay more attention to what I’m doing. I follow the recipes exactly instead of adding “a little of this.” Plus, I still have to spend time browning the onions, blending a spice paste and then crushing mustard seed, pepper and salt with a mortar and pestle. I don’t usually cook multi-step meals, but this turned out to be fun. As to that mortar and pestle, I could see using it as a stress reliever, smashing and crushing away.
And did I mention that it’s healthy?
Yes it is! Not much in the way of extra fat in this recipe. And there’s loads of healthy nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants in the onions, garlic and multiple spices.
Even thought it takes a some time to prep the recipe before hitting the on switch, but it’s fun to prepare. And when I smell that amazing aroma as the dish simmer away in the slow cooker…well, I impress the heck out of myself.
This recipe for Chicken Vindaloo, a variation from the one I found in The Indian Slow Cooker, takes a little extra time blending/processing (but at least you don’t have to wash the bowl between blends), but the results are delicious.
You can prepare this the night before and it will be ready to slow cook in the morning.
For those “unusual” spices, I started buying them from a store that sells them in bulk. That way I only have to buy the amount that I need for the recipe. Actually, I buy double the amount so if I happen to mess up and have to start over (it’s been known to happen a time or two), I’m ready.
If you’re adding potatoes, add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.
This can be baked in the oven using covered casserole dish for about 1 hour at 325 degrees, stirring occasionally and checking for doneness at about 45 minutes.
I used 3 fresh Thai chili peppers for this, but you can used dry peppers as well. Just add as many as you like to satisfy your spice/heat preference.
I went easy on the salt just because that’s what I do these days. I suggest using the amount indicated to start, and then taste before serving as you’ll probably want to add more.
Chicken Vindaloo Slow Cooker Style
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 3 yellow onions halved and sliced
- 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- 4- inch piece fresh ginger root peeled and cut into chunks
- 5-8 cloves garlic peeled
- 3-8 Thai or Serrano chili peppers fresh or dried, stems removed
- ½ Tbsp turmeric
- ½ Tbsp ground coriander
- ½ Tbsp garam masala
- ½ Tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ Tbsp black peppercorns
- ½ Tbsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ Tbsp brown or black mustard seeds
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into cubes (optional)
- ¼- ½ cup water
SAUTE onions in 1 Tbsp of canola oil for 4-5 minutes, or until browned. Stirring so they don’t burn.
ADD vinegar and COOK until liquid evaporates.
TRANSFER mixture to food processor or blender. ADD remaining oil, and BLEND.
PLACE onion mixture in a 4-quart slow cooker.
PLACE ginger, garlic, chili peppers, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cinnamon in the food processor or blender. BLEND into a paste, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. ADD to the slow cooker.
With a mortar and pestle or spice/coffee grinder if you have one that is used just for spices, CRUSH the peppercorns, salt, and mustard seed into a coarse powder. ADD mixture to slow cooker.
PLACE cut chicken potatoes (if using) and ¼ to ½ cup water in the slow cooker. STIR everything to combine.
COOK on low and cook for 6 hours, stirring an hour or so before serving. TASTE for seasoning ( I usually add a little more salt, adding about ½ teaspoon salt at a time, stirring, and tasting until I get it just right)