Chicken Vindail – Tomato Based Indian Curry

Last night I made Chicken Vindail for dinner. It is really tasty, a bit different, and quick to make. This Chicken Vindail is based on a Rick Stein recipe,  I can highly recommend his book on Indian food.

Pasta bowl with Chicken Vindail and plain basmati rice
Chicken Vindail with Plain Basmati Rice

Make this with chicken breasts, or a jointed chicken, or some skin on thighs and drummers according to your preference. I quite often have some chicken breast in the freezer in single portions to be used to make dishes as required. The cooking time for the chicken needs to be reduced or extended depending on the type and size of chicken pieces you use (cut up breasts will cook much quicker, but have a bit of a flavour disadvantage.)

Even if making this for myself where I reduce the quantities a bit I find I can put in a similar amount of spice and the full amount of vinegar and sugar, even if I’m using only 300g tomatoes and 1 chicken breast. Kashmiri Mirch is pretty ferocious so I’ve reduced the quantity to 1 tsp. If you like it hot, or your chilli powder is not as strong, then you may want some more.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed. Use common sense here. If they are huge fat cloves then reduce by a few.
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri mirch, chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500g chopped tomatoes (no need to peel)
  • 1kg chicken thighs and drummers (or 2-3 chicken breasts chopped into big chunks. Don’t cut them too small or they just dry out. Reduce the time they are in the cooking sauce. I find 15 minutes simmering long enough.)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar (you could get a bit fancy and use jaggery but it really won’t make any difference)
Method
  1. Temper the cinnamon, clove and star anise by frying in the hot oil for 60 seconds
  2. Add the chopped onions and cook on a medium heat till they soften and go a bit golden, should take about 15 minutes
  3. Add the crushed garlic, cumin, chilli, fenugreek, turmeric, and salt. Cook these off for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, cooking them for 5 minutes till they begin to soften down.
  5. Add the chicken pieces, stirring them in to coat with the sauce, if using breast meat then hold them back for a later addition.
  6. Cover the pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes. (Simmer the sauce until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has a nice consistency.) Watch for it drying and catching, add a little water from the kettle if needed. If using breast you will get away with leaving it out until last 15 minutes. If using larger chicken pieces take care to cook long enough to fully cook through. A temperature probe can be useful for checking if larger pieces of meat are cooked.
  7. Stir in the vinegar and sugar to finish, simmering gently for 5 minutes uncovered.
Lovely with plain basmati rice or some Indian breads.

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