What’s cooking today: Lamb or mutton vindaloo

What’s cooking today: Lamb or mutton vindaloo
Tony Jackman’s lamb vindaloo for four, served in a Mervyn Gers bowl. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A vindaloo curry paste can be used for lamb or chicken, even goat. In this recipe, it went into a lamb curry that fed four of us.

Vindaloo isn’t for the squeamish. It packs a massive chilli punch and is the Big Guns curry for the bold of palate. It’s complex too, with tamarind and rice vinegar in the mix to add an extra level to complement the spices, and there’s a generous amount of fresh garlic to balance the chilli heat.

Vindaloo curry paste:


3 Tbsp dried red chillies

1 Tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 cloves

3 green cardamom pods

1 tsp black peppercorns

5 cm cinnamon stick

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 Tbsp tamarind water

4 Tbsp brown rice vinegar

8 bird’s-eye chillies, finely chopped

10 garlic cloves, minced

3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp salt


In a dry pan, toast all the dry spices (but not the fresh chillies, garlic and ginger).

Grind the toasted spices to a powder.

In a bowl, mix the spices, garlic, ginger and chopped fresh chillies with the rice vinegar and tamarind water, and salt. Cover a small chunk of tamarind in water and let it soak for 15 minutes, then mush it about and use the resulting black water.

For the curry:

1.5 kg lamb or mutton pieces (e.g. shank, rib, shoulder)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 Tbsp cooking oil

1 quantity vindaloo curry paste (as above)

2 Tbsp dried curry leaves

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 x 400 g can whole peeled tomatoes

2 Tbsp tomato purée

Water, enough to cover

Salt to taste


Coat the lamb pieces in the vindaloo paste (yes, all of it, be strong) and marinate for 4 or 5 hours or overnight.

On a very low heat, braise the curry leaves and fenugreek seeds for a minute and then add the onion. Cook, stirring, until softened.

Add the tomatoes and tomato purée, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add the marinated lamb pieces, salt fairly generously, and toss to coat everything thoroughly.

Cook on a moderate to low heat, covered, until the lamb or mutton is tender. This could take 2 to about 3½ hours, depending on the toughness of the meat. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing. 


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