Our friends often ask us for recommendation for a good Indian restaurant in town, and my answer is always the same – there isn’t one! I have had Indian food in several restaurants all over the US and the food tastes exactly the same everywhere – rich, mildly spiced and generally blah. I don’t know if they share recipes amongst themselves or what, but it is unsettling how bad the food is.
Even if you can look past the annoying fact that the menu heavily favors North Indian dishes, you cannot get past the facts that the sauces are almost always drowning in heavy cream, with little cubes of dry chicken breast meat floating in it and a generous hand with red food coloring.
You are always served a little bowl of masoor dal to have as soup and a plate of limp salad to go with it.
The rice always comes with the obligatory cubes of carrots and couple of peas perched on top.
There is always gulab jamun to end your meal.
Everything on the menu is rich, oily and decadent and you only have about 5 different sauces offered with different kinds of meats and fish. Talk about limited choices! [Thank goodness that there are quite a few good South Indian restaurants that showcase regional cuisines - but they are mostly located in big cities, so out of reach for a lot of people].
Not only do most of these restaurants not represent regional cuisines, they also completely fore-go authenticity when they do attempt dishes like the Goan vindaloo. Granted I have never had Goan vindaloo in India, but I had seen various recipes of vindaloo on TV and they never, ever resembled the ones I had had in the Indian restaurants here! Just because in Hindi “aloo” means potato, here you are served a searingly spicy chicken and potato curry which bears no resemblance to the authentic vindaloo, (which originates from the Portuguese “vindalho”, meaning wine and garlic).
Well, I had had enough of fake vindaloo and I wanted to make the real thing! So, I searched and searched online, looking for authentic recipes (the ones from Goan mommies are always dependable!) and finally mish-mashed a couple of those recipes to come up with my own.
So, is this the real deal? Will this get me a pat on the back from a Goan grandma? Well, I couldn’t really tell you because I have never had it in Goa, but it sure tastes good (and nothing like the ones in the restaurants here, which is always a good sign)!
You can tell right away that this dish is going to be special when you start grinding up all the spices together. And when those spices hit the oil, it just makes your whole house smell incredible as the pork slowly simmers on the stove. The low and slow cooking also ensures that the pork is fall apart tender and moist and delicious. This dish definitely needs a cut of meat that can hold up to a long cooking process, so don’t use chicken breast meat, as that is definitely going to dry out.
I was a bit hesitant about using too much vinegar (I am not fond of tart dishes) but it mellowed out with the long cooking time and had the most lovely flavor. I saw recipes calling for different kinds of vinegar, but I had malt vinegar at hand, so that’s what I used. If someone could please let me know the right kind of vinegar to use for authentic Goan vindaloo, it would be wonderful!
Here is the recipe –