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Lamb Vindaloo Recipe

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5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 2 hours
Yield 4 servings
Category Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Author Lauren


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 lamb shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • kosher 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
  • cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or molasses
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds**
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 large 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 along with marinade and 1 cup water (or white wine). Bring to a boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven and cook until lamb is tender, about 1 ½ hours.
  • 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.


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.
*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.


Calories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 20gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1222mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5g
Keywords Lamb vindaloo, vindaloo
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