When I read of Madhur Jaffrey, I couldn't help but think
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One never knows where life's road will lead
This trusted voice in the culinary world essentially learned to cook by correspondence
Born in Delhi, she moved to London when she was 19 to major in drama. One of the things she desperately missed was home-cooked food; her Mom sent her recipes. Who knew this journey to England would lead, not only to success in the world of acting but also to recognition as a bestselling cookbook author as well
As I'm expanding my cooking horizons into uncharted territory (A thank-you to a friend who gifted us beautiful spices for our wedding) I too am learning by correspondence, soliciting Indian cooking tips and recipes from my brother and his very sweet wife who live far away
True to form, their recommendations rarely disappoint
Vindaloo is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world and includes an incredibly rich back-story.
This popular curry hails from the tiny state of Goa in India, which has been influenced greatly by decades of colonization by the Portuguese. As legend would have it, the name was derived from a Portuguese stew named Vinh d'alho, in which “vinho” means wine and “altos” is garlic.
The original called for pork, wine, and garlic, although over time the dish evolved to include chicken or lamb. Vinegar substituted for wine, additions of mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric are common. Oh, and don't forget ..
.. chilies, lots of chilies
Vindaloos are a hot affair, with the chilies making it specifically colonial Goan. They would use 4 tsp of cayenne here (On the scanned note in my inbox: it's noted 2 tsp cayenne 2 tsp ancho chili powder .. yikes!). Being the spicy food wimp that I am, only 1 tsp found its way into ours.
It's completely up to you.
If one would like, I've seen many recipes that add diced boiled potatoes to the curry. If you do, they're best added toward the end.
This dish can easily be made in a pressure cooker (20 minutes of simmering time for lamb, 30 min for beef) or in a frying pan (1 hour or so of simmering with a 10-15 min reduction at the end)
Either way, it seems best to follow Jaffrey's last bit of cooking advice, “Once the simmering starts, the cook can read a book, sleep, or have a drink! It is painless cooking.”
ps: One of my favorite things to eat it with is Homemade Naan
~ Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
- 1 ½ Tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into fine half-rings
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbs boned shoulder of lamb, cut into 1" cubes
- ⅔ cup canned coconut milk, well stirred
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 small green chili, optional
- Combine mustard, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and vinegar in a cup and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until it's medium brown.
- Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the spice paste and cook another minute.
- Add meat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes more. Add the coconut milk and water, cover and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer for 60-70 minutes.
- Depending on the thickness and amount of sauce you prefer, the liquid can be reduced at this point. (I like to reduce the liquid until it's about ½ the amount the original recipe calls for).
- Uncover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and simmer until the sauce is ½ the amount you started with. (About 10-15 minute)
- Remove from heat and serve