A Sweet Taste of India: Vindaloo (Hot and Sour Lamb)

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The amount of chili powder used in this recipe can be varied according to taste. In Goa, vindaloo is made very hot. The amount of chili powder and peppercorns used in this recipe makes the dish mild in my book!

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • Two 3/4-inch pieces cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup vinegar, preferably malt vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 13/4 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 cups hot water

1. Grind the cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns in a coffee grinder.

2. Transfer to a bowl. Add the vinegar to the ground spices. Stir in the mustard, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, and sugar, and mix well. Add the lamb and mix thoroughly. Leave to marinate for 5 to 6 hours or preferably overnight.

3. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown. Stir in the ginger and garlic pastes, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the marinated lamb and salt, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour or so, stirring now and then until the lamb is tender.

This dish tastes best served with plain rice. My family enjoys it with crusty Italian bread, as well.

Variation: Beef or chicken can be used instead of lamb. This dish can also be cooked in the oven. Follow the instructions until after the water is added. Preheat the oven to 350°F and cook the vindaloo, covered, for 1 to 11/2 hours or until the lamb is tender.

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