The defining characterstic of vindaloo curry is the spicy vinegar-based paste we’re making as a marinade for the chicken. In my experience, 2 hours is sufficient when marinating deboned pieces of chicken meat, and that is how we do it here, but longer or shorter will also be fine. Once you’ve got the chicken in the marinde, there is very little work to be done while you’re at the fire making the potjie. As such, this is a great meal when you’ve got guests coming over, or to prepare at home and finish at a picnic braai area. The vindaloo can also be made very successfully with pork meat. Just use 1 kg of deboned pork neck, cut into cubes, and increase the cooking time until you lift the lid, to 45 minutes. The list of ingredients might look long, but these are all things you probably have in your kitchen already. Whatever you don’t have you can buy as we’ll use it again for other recipes.
THE VINDALOO MIX
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp chilli or cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 4 cloves (whole)
- 4 cardamom seeds
- 4 garlic cloves(crushed)
- ginger, equal in volume to the garlic(grated)
- 1 tot vinegar (normal grape vinegar is fine)
- 1 tot oil
TO MAKE THE POTJIE
- 1 kg deboned chicken thighs or 8 chicken breasts or 1kg deboned pork nec (cut into cubes)
- 1 tot butter
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 or more red chillies (optional)
- 1 tin tomatoes (chopped or cherry)
- 1 tsp sugar
- fresh coriander(to serve)
- Mix all the vindaloo spices, garlic, ginger, vinegar and oil together in a bowl to form a paste. A spoon is better than a hand for this mixing procedure. Now add the chicken pieces to the bowl and, still using the spoon, smear the paste all over them so that they are well coated. Cover the bowl and let everyone get to know each other for about 2 hours. If you’re in a big hurry, less than 2 hours is also fine.
- Heat the butter in your potjie and fry the onion for about 4 minutes until it has some attitude.
- Now add the marinated chicken pieces and fry for a few minutes until they are browned on most sides. Sometimes those flames under a potjie make it hotter than you think and this step runs away from you a bit. If you lose control during this step and things want to burn, add a dash of water and loosen the bits of matter stuck to the bottom of the potjie with your wooden spoon. Tose bits are the ones that want to cause burning, and this allows you to wrestle back control from the fire. Tis is general advice applicable to all curry potjies, not just this recipe.
- Throw in the cinnamon stick and the remaining juices and marinade in the bottom of the bowl the chicken was in. Stir through and continue to fry for another minute or two.
- Optional step: If you like to suffer or like a very hot curry, add some additional chopped chillies when you are adding the chicken to the potjie. This step is not compulsory – remember, there is already a teaspoon of chilli powder in the meal.
- Once the chicken and spices are browned to your liking, add the tomatoes and sugar and stir in. Put the lid on the potjie and let it simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat. Then remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for another few minutes until you are satisfied with the consistency of the sauce. Do check the fluid levels in the potjie as you don’t want it to burn.
- Serve the curry with a bunch of fresh coriander and rice.
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