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Lamb vindaloo recipe

Lamb vindaloo is a classic Indian cuisine with an intense flavor of spices with a deep earth undertone.  It is a popular Indian curry with global appeal popular in Britain, Australia, the United States, and other western countries.

The origin of vindaloo can be traced back to the fifteenth century when the Portuguese ruled the state of Goa.  The Portuguese traders introduced the dish Carne de vinha a’alhos to Goa, prepared with pork meat marinated with red wine and garlic. Subsequently, it has been Indianized by the locals, with added spices and chilies.  The name also evolved from vinha a’alhos to vindaloo and is cooked with pork, lamb, chicken, and even seafood.

The authentic lamb vindaloo is cooked without potatoes. However, many cooks improvised by adding potatoes (and some with tomatoes or tomato puree), possibly because vindaloo’s last syllabus sounds like aloo, which means potatoes in Hindi. It also uses fenni and jaggery, which may not be available in some places.  I have provided the substitute in the recipe.

Let’s get right into the details of this easy lamb vindaloo recipe. You will get the same taste as you order from the Indian restaurants or curry houses!

Lamb vindaloo is a classic Goan curry with an intense flavor of spices with a deep earth undertone

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How to prepare lamb vindaloo

1. Prepare the vindaloo paste

Here are the steps:

The dry spices
The dry spices for vindaloo paste


  • You may want to remove the dried chilies’ seeds instead of reducing the number of chilies if you prefer it to be less spicy. to adjust the spice level you want. The flavor is reduced if you use fewer chilies for less heat, so it is better to use more chilies without the seeds.
  • The main dried ingredients for the vindaloo paste are dried chilies, cinnamon stick, and clove can cumin seeds. Some recipes may include mustard seeds and omit the cardamoms. There is no right or wrong for the combination.
  • You can add a few green chilies while cooking the lamb vindaloo if you like the flavor. 
  • If you do not have any dried chilies, you can substitute them with 2.5 tablespoons of Kashmiri chili powder for every 1kg of meat.
  • Toast the spices helps bring out the aromatic flavor, although it is not mandatory to do that.
  • The flavor will be less if you use store-bought ground spices instead of using whole spices.
  • I soak about a tablespoon of tamarind pulp in hot water, wait for five minutes, then strain the pulp and use only the extract. If you do not have tamarind pulp, you can use the store-bought tamarind paste. In this case, one teaspoon of concentrated tamarind paste is enough for 1 kg of meat.
  • Traditionally, toddy vinegar is used to make the delectable Goan lamb vindaloo.  However, other kinds of vinegar are becoming popular, and the popularity of toddy vinegar is drastically reduced. However, it is still the best choice to make authentic vindaloo. An excellent alternative to toddy vinegar is cider vinegar and rice wine vinegar.
  • You can make this vindaloo curry paste in bulk and store it as it can freeze up to a few months.

2. Marinate the meat overnight

Type of meat for lamb vindaloo

I bought the boneless lamb shoulder for this recipe as it is tender and high in fat content.  If you are using lamb shoulder with bone, increase the weight by 20% for this recipe to account for the bone’s weight.

I ask my butcher to cut the meat into 1.5-inch cubes, which is the optimum size for making vindaloo.

Boneless lamb shoulder
Boneless lamb shoulder is best for vindaloo

Marinate the meat

  • Combine the vindaloo paste, salt, and jaggery with the lamb pieces. 
  • Massage the spices into the meat. Let it marinate overnight. The flavor is best if you cook the marinated meat on the next day, after the spice flavor has penetrated into it thoroughlty.


  • The original Portuguese dish Carne de vinha a’alhos is prepared with pork. If you do not eat lamb, you can use the same recipe for cooking either pork or beef, or chicken vindaloo. 
  • The vinegar in the vindaloo paste helps tenderize and soften the meat. 
  • Some recipe also add some garam masala, which is optional.
  • If you do not have jaggery (also called gula Melaka in Malaysia), just substitute it with brown sugar.
Lamb vindaloo is a classic Goan curry with an intense flavor of spices with a deep earth undertone

3. Cook the curry

Lamb vindaloo is not an everyday dish as it takes time to prepare. The meat also contains a fair amount of fat with high calories. I usually start preparing it two days in advance. 

The first day of work is to prepare the vindaloo spice paste and marinate the meat. Let the meat marinate overnight, and then cook the meat on the second day. After that, keep the cooked lamb vindaloo in the refrigerator and reheat on the third day.  Its taste enhances as it matures for a day, and therefore should serve it a day after preparing it for the best result.

Here are the steps to cook the lamb vindaloo:

  • Heat some mustard oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and saute for five minutes or until translucent.
  • Add the marinated lamb and curry leaves. Continue to saute for another five minutes.
  • Pour the water into the pan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, cover it, then simmer at low heat for 90 minutes over the stovetop. Alterantively, you can use instant pot or slow cooker to cook the vindaloo.
  • Remove and place the lamb in a serving bowl.
  • You can serve it immediately or keep it for a day to let the flavor mature.
  • To serve, garnish with coriander leaves.


  • Besides mustard oil, other vegetable oils such as sunflower oil and palm oil are suitable for cooking curries.
  • The lamb vindaloo recipe does not include coconut milk, which is used to make other curries.
  • Curry leaves are optional, but it provides a unique flavor.
  • If you prefer a bright red color for the lamb vindaloo, add two teaspoons of Kashmiri chili powder while cooking it.  This curry powder is not very spicy but dramatically improves its appearance.

What dishes are best to serve with lamb vindaloo?

Lamb vindaloo is best to serve with steamed rice as it has an intense flavor. White rice soaks up the curry like a blank canvas. That is why I always like to eat it with white rice. It is also served along with chapati or parathas in the local Indian restaurant I patronise.

Other related recipes you should try

If you like this Indian food and curries, you should also want to try other related Indian recipes on this blog:
  • Chapati is a flatbread that originated from India. It has a distinct flavor and aroma due to the use of whole wheat flour called atta. It is perfect for serving along with lamb vindaloo.
  • Masoor dal is my favorite lentil recipe. It is the fastest lentil to cook, only fifteen minutes after soaking. Try this if you like Indian vegetarian dishes.
  • If you like curry, I would suggest you try the Indonesian beef rendang. It tastes different from most Indian dishes and has taken the top position in the list of 50 most delicious foods in a survey by CNN.!
Yield: 5 servings

Lamb vindaloo recipe- How to make authentic Indian spicy curry

lamb vindaloo thumbnail

Lamb vindaloo is a classic Goan curry with an intense flavor of spices with a deep earth undertone.  It is popular in India but a dish with global appeal popular in Britain, Australia, the United States, and other west

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


Ingredients A- Vindaloo paste

Ingredients B- Marinade

  • 1 kg lamb shoulder roast, boneless, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 10g salt
  • 10g palm sugar

Ingredients C- Cook the curry


  1. Place all the dry spices in ingredients A in a frying pan over low to medium heat. Toast the spices for two minutes or until they become aromatic.
  2. Transfer the spices to the spice blender and blend them into a fine powder.
  3. Add the Other ingredients in A to the dry spices. Continue to blend it into a paste.
  4. Cobine the vindaloo paste with ingredients B. Message the spices thoroughly into the meat. Let it marinate overnight.
  5. Heat the mustard in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for five minutes or until translucent.
  6. Add the marinated lamb and curry leaves. Continue sate for another five minutes.
  7. Pour the water into the pan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, cover it, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes.
  8. Remove and place the lamb in a serving bowl.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 1070mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 10gSugar: 29gProtein: 56g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/22/2021

Susan Dubose

Friday 5th of March 2021

Simply brilliant, a nice hot curry that isn’t all heat. lots of flavor and smells delicious. This will now become part of the monthly dishes. Five stars from me.

KP Kwan

Friday 5th of March 2021

Thank you :)

KP Kwan

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am pleased to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

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