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Overhead image of stewed meat and sauce in an oval baking dish set on a gray table with wine set around and herbs

Lamb Vindaloo

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour rest time
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 3¼ hours
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Simmer / Oven
  • Cuisine: Indian


This slow-simmer Indian dish features tender lamb and BOLD flavors. Serve with warm naan bread, rice or a whole grain pilaf. 


  • 2 pounds boneless American lamb shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded and torn in half*
  • 4 green cardamom pods 
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly slice
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (or molasses)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds**
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red or green Thai chile or red jalapeño, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • Cooked rice, bulgar, or barley for serving


Toss lamb with 2 teaspoons salt; set aside. 

Toast peppercorns, dried chiles, cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer spices to a blender with vinegar, ginger, tamarind paste, and turmeric; blend, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth.

Add spice purée to lamb and toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or set aside at room temperature for 1 hour).

Heat oven to 325ºF with rack set in lower-middle position.

Heat oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium-high; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, chiles, and sugar; cook until onion has softened and starts to brown, about 8 minutes. 

Stir in lamb and it’s marinade, 1 cup water (or white wine) and bring to a boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven and cook for 1 ½ hours until lamb is tender.

Using wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir into sauce; stir in bell pepper, if using, and let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim and discard grease from surface of sauce. Season vindaloo with salt to taste and serve.



* I like to leave the seeds in half of the chiles for added heat. If you like a lot of spice, keep the seeds in all of the chiles, if you like it mild, remove the seeds in all of the chiles. 

**if you do not have black mustard seeds, go ahead and use yellow. If you don’t have yellow either, feel free to leave them out altogether. 

To de-fat the vindaloo even more: make the lamb a day ahead of time, store it in an airtight container and scoop the chilled layer of fat off the top. 


  • Calories: 322
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 1222mg
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Cholesterol: 77mg

Keywords: Lamb vindaloo, vindaloo

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