Vindaloo is a popular curry dish famous for its searing heat. It is particularly popular in Britain. Vindaloo curry powder is used to provide its distinctive flavor. What may be less well known is that fact that the dish is a Portuguese invention. In much the same way that Madras curry is a British concoction and vadouvan is a product of the French palate, vindaloo curry emerges from the Portuguese venture into the subcontinent. Similar to the other aforementioned spice blends, it was the result of European cooking styles and taste preferences applied to Indian spices.
The name vindaloo comes from carne de vinha d’alhos, a Portuguese dish. The dish first showed up in India in the 15th century, being brought there by Portuguese explorers. Carne de vinha d’alhos is a dish consisting of marinated meat and garlic. The meat was marinated in red wine vinegar, which was not available in India. As a replacement for the red wine vinegar, the vinegar used in the Indian version was made from palm wine. Other Indian ingredients were added including tamarind, black pepper, and cardamom. Chili peppers would come later.
India would eventually become a part of the British Empire. The Britons enjoyed vindaloo and made adjustments to it by adding beef and pork. The part of India colonized by the Portuguese was the Goa region, who had adopted Portuguese Roman Catholicism. They did not have religious restrictions on pork and beef, unlike the rest of India. The Englishmen would take vindaloo back to England with them; it was there that the vinegar component decreased in prominence and the chili peppers ramped up to make it into a truly hot curry.
Vindaloo curry and the powdered spices used to make it continue to be popular in the United Kingdom and in Goa. Its wholehearted adoption among Goans makes vindaloo curry powder unusual among European-inspired blends of Indian spices. The Indian version is mellower and still has the palm vinegar notes that came with the original version.
Vindaloo curry powder flavor profile
Typical vindaloo curry powder contains:
- Mustard seed
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
Properly made vindaloo powder will provide the tanginess of vinegar along with the aromatic quality of cardamom and fenugreek. There will also be moderate heat from the chilies and the mild bitterness of black peppercorns.
Health benefits of vindaloo curry powder
Vindaloo curry powder has spices that are very nutrient-rich, which means that the blend offers a range of beneficial compounds like:
- Vitamins: The cayenne pepper used in many blends contains a large amount of vitamin A, even in a small serving. Turmeric provides a modest but still significant amount of vitamin B-6.
- Minerals: All of the ingredients in vindaloo curry powder provide minerals. You can get ample amounts of iron, magnesium, and calcium from vindaloo curry powder.
- Fiber: Each ingredient in vindaloo curry powder is rich in dietary fiber.
Vindaloo curry powder can be used to treat or prevent diseases and health conditions like:
- Alzheimer’s disease: Turmeric is especially beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease treatment as it contains curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant.
- Cancer: The curcumin in turmeric is also beneficial for preventing cancer as is the capsaicin in chili peppers.
- High blood pressure: Cardamom is a vasodilator, which means that it can reduce blood pressure which can help to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Common uses of vindaloo curry powder
The most common use is simply for making the vindaloo dish. It is a common feature on Indian restaurant menus in the west and is also served in restaurants in its home state of Goa. Vindaloo can be made with a range of meats including beef, chicken, and lamb. It is most often made with beef.
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