Vindaloo, an Indian curry dish, is as Indian as pizza is American. Which is to say, it is now. Goa, India, was a Portuguese colony until the 1960s. The Portuguese colonists made a dish “porco vinho e alho” (pork, wine and garlic.) The spices were added over time as the colonists acquired more local tastes. The Portuguese, being Christians, would eat pork; the local Hindus and Muslims evolved their own versions using lamb and chicken.
The wine in the recipe may have been wine, or it may have been wine vinegar (vindaloos today use vinegar.) Tamarind is also used for additional souring taste; the vinegar helps deter bacteria, which is handy given that in India they often reheat a Vindaloo from one day to the next without refrigerating it. (Kids, don’t try this at home.)
To make a vindaloo, chunks of meat are marinated in a paste of hot spices, then stewed until tender in tamarind water and vinegar.
Literature & Lore
Wine in Portuguese is “vinho” and garlic is “alhos”. Mash the words together with a “d” in the middle and you have vindaloo.
Though the general public might not know the difference between a Curry, a Madras, and a Vindaloo, they know that Madras means hot and Vindaloo means bloody hot. Though no Vindaloo truly approaches a Texas Chili for fire power.
Jaffrey, Madhur. The hot favourite (Vindaloo). London: The Observer, 21 Sept 2003.