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Authentic vindaloo


g.johnson
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Eh, first post, nervous...

So... uh I completely flubbed this Vindaloo. :sad: My attempt should perhaps be called Vindapoo. I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong, but I think maybe in multiple places.

I decided to use duck instead of pork, since I dunno I grew up kosher and now I'm not but Rabbi Weiser is still in the back of my head telling me that god will cut off my soul if I eat pork. So I got a 5lb frozen duck. Defrosted in water in the sink for a couple of hours. Took me about a half hour to skin it, and then about 45 minutes to hack off about 600 grams of meat. The chunks of meat were uhh not exactly uniform in size, as some of them had been pretty severely massacred.

For the marinade I think I burnt a pepper or two, but not the spices I don't think. Not sure if I used the right pepper - they weren't labeled - but they sure looked like Sanam. Maybe I shouldn't have used apple cider vinegar? :unsure:

Figured I might as well put the duck carcass to work so I made a stock with no mirepoix and let it simmer for like 5 hrs.

So about 20 hrs later I fried the onions in this massive 5 qt cast-iron enamel-lined buffet casserole. Maybe way too big? Got the onions nice and golden and added the meat. Couldn't get much of the marinade off the chunks, cause I didn't want the onions to burn while I was straining them or whatever.

So then it took like 45 minutes before the meat was semi-dry. Added in the rest of the marinade (not much). After a bit I added in some duck stock, but it took forever to burn off. Covered the vindaloo in the stock and simmered for an hour covered.

After an hour there was still a ton of liquid (maybe cause my casserole dish was so wide?). I simmered it for a couple of hours uncovered but the liquid was reducing too slowly. At that point I tasted it and decided that the stuff didn't taste very good so I might as well hurry it up. Took the meat out and turned the heat up so it'd reduce quicker. Got annoyed after a half hour of that and put the meat back in and served it.

The meat was a bit stringy but not tough at all. The meat had some flavor but the sauce little. I also managed to burn Suvir's spinach and potato red onion thingee and make his cumin rice way mushy. My wife bought ice cream to cheer me up.

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Hey, very cool you tried the recipe! I'm real sorry to hear it didn't work though. :sad:

Hopefully, the real experts will offer some advice on this, and figure out what went wrong -- but here's the things I can think of...

Did you follow Waaza's original recipe? I followed it fairly obsessively -- especially the footnotes...

If you don't want to use pork, how about beef? I'm not familiar enough with duck, to know how it would differ in this dish, but I would think that maybe beef would be closer to the general structure and overall properties of pork, than duck. Having the pieces of meat completely uniform is probably not necessary, but I should think that if they were radically different, you would end up with some pieces being cooked far more, than others.

The apple cider vinegar might be a problem, but I'm not sure. I just went with the rice vinegar, since it was one of the options Waaza listed in his recipe. In previous Vindaloo attempts, I used white wine vinegar, which didn't turn out anywhere near as nice -- it was very vinegary (but this could just be due to the much shorter cooking time on that earlier recipe).

I'm fairly certain my wok can moonlight as a karahi, but I don't know if using a casserole would have any effect on it. I just like that sucker so much I use it for everything from steaming bass to frying Norwegian meat cakes. Maybe there's something magical about the shape of a wok -- but then again, I've seen Le Creuset sell a totally flat-bottomed pan that they labeled as a karahi, so what do I know? Or perhaps I should say, what the hell does Le Creuset know about Indian cooking? :smile:

Well that's all I can thing off right away... Not terribly helpful I'm afraid.

I'm hankering to try this dish again myself, and will try to document everything this time too (I'm annoyed that I didn't make proper note of how time progressed through the cooking process), and perhaps that might be of help. But it's just way too hot right now, for such a slow-cooked dish.

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a couple of things come to mind, ducks'

Was the pan you used an enamel one? If this had a shinny surface, it could be that the bhuna process did not work too well. I use only cast iron pans (except for a cheap non-stick omelette pan, my original cast iron one split!!!). The spices/marinade need to become quite hot and browned to form what the French call 'fonds'. This develops the flavour necessary for this dish.

The other problem is the recipe. It is not often that one can just replace one meat with another without changing something else. The spices in Indain cooking are very carefully chosen for a particular meat, to enhance some flavours and suppress others. Although so-called 'Indian restaurants' seem to think that any meat can be served with any sauce, this really is not the case :huh: . For example, Rogan josh is only made with lamb/mutton/goat/chimaera, although you may see other meat used.

So here is a recipe for duck vindaloo. :biggrin:

Goan duck vindaloo (vin d'alhos)

According to Waaza, please copy the entire recipe,

do not change anything and credit me if you pass it on, thanks.

Ingredients for 4 people

Heat a large shallow pan on medium high heat. (1)

add 1 tbsp whole Indian coriander (2)

1 tsp white cumin (3)

1 tsp brown/black mustard seed (4)

1 tsp black pepper corns

6 - 10 lightly crushed dry red sannam chillies, or to taste.(5)

heat until just smoking, then add 1/2 tsp cracked fenugreek seeds.(6)

heat for another 10 seconds only, and take off the heat and cool.

when the seeds and chillies are cold, grind to a medium fine powder.

Add to the grinder 1 tsp garam masala (7)

Place to ground spice mix in a bowl, then

add 1 tbsp oil, 120ml (4 fl oz or 1/2 cup) cider vinegar(9)

and 7 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger.

mix all together, then add about 900g of duck on the bone, cut into pieces(10)

so that all the duck is totally submerged in the marinade.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 24 hours.(11)

Place four tablespoons of oil in a pan, and heat to medium high.

Add the duck skin, ribs and wingtips.

Fry until they are well browned.

Decant off oil/rendered duck fat, and reserve for later.

Add fresh cold water to the pan to cover the fried duck parts, and simmer for half an hour.

Reserve stock (do not add salt).

To cook the vindaloo:

Heat 80ml (3 fl oz, 1/3 cup) cooking oil to medium heat in pan

meanwhile, cut two medium sized onions into 3mm dice(12)

add to pan and cook on medium heat for about 20 mins, until onions are golden(14)

strain duck from excess marinade and add to pan, maintaining medium heat.(15)

Continue cooking until the contents of the pan dry up.(16)

Add rest of marinade, and cook until dry once more.

Add a little water, and continue the bhuna process.(17)

Continue with this for about 5 minutes.

Now add 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric, and fry for 10 seconds only(18)

then add enough of the duck stock to cover all the portions, adding more water if required.(19)

Place a lid on the pan, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.(20)

Uncover the pan, and allow the gravy to thicken according to requirements, but do not boil.(21)

Place the vindaloo in a hot serving bowl.

To prepare the tarka:

Put about two tablespoons of the duck fat/oil in a small saucepan and heat on high. (22)

Meanwhile, chop fresh root ginger (about the size of your thumb) into julienne strips about an inch long, as finely as possible.

When the oil is just smoking, add a teaspoonful of black mustard seeds followed by about half the quantity of crushed fenugreek seeds.(23)

If you want an even hotter gravy, add a few lightly crushed dry red sannam chillies.

Then, immediately add the julienned ginger. Cook for about ten seconds.

Pour the hot tarka (or tadka) over the duck vindaloo.(24)

Serve with rice, or potatoes, or both, and a strong greens-based dish, like spinach.

Notes

1) this is to dry roast the spices, where the heating produces flavours which are similar to those from roasted meats. As the duck will not be roasted, it is important that these flavours are developed.

2) Indian coriander is the slightly larger, lighter coloured 'rugby-ball' shaped seed, said to have a better flavour than the (usually) Moroccan cultivar, but it really makes little difference.

3) Use the white cumin, and not the so-called black cumin, which has a very different flavour.

4) Or use the European white/yellow, it's not Indian, but similar effect.

5) Really to taste, if you prefer it even hotter, use the very hot Birdseye type chilli, but they must be dried, fresh will not produce the heat quickly enough for the marinade.

6) Try to find the cracked fenugreek used for making pickles, or very lightly grind whole seeds, be very careful not to roast these for more than 10 seconds, as they will become very bitter.

7) Make your own by grinding green cardamom, cassia, cloves and mace

8)

9) Goans would use vinegar made from toddy, a kind of alcohol made from palm sugar, but a mild cider vinegar works well, as would rice vinegar

10) Skin the duck. Cut the duck into breasts (each cut into two, on the bone), two legs, cut into two, and first part of wings. Use the rib cage, skin and wingtips for the stock.

11) The duck will absorb some of the liquid, making it juicier, and adsorb some of the aromatics from the spices and garlic/ginger, giving a deeper flavour.

12) The onions need to be cut into small dice so that the water can be driven out without burning, and leave the pan with just oil, so the temperatures can rise to those which start to brown the meat, thus adding flavour.

14) heat the onions (cut and cook immediately, to reduce bitterness) and cook on medium heat until golden, this takes about twenty minutes, there should not be any black bits on the edges of the onion, remove them if you have any, and turn down the heat a little. The heat will depend on the amount of onion, the size, shape and construction of the pan, and the ambient temperature/draughts, but with time, you'll find just the right combination, believe me.

15) It is important not to increase the heat or the duck will shrivel and become tough as it squeezes out the marinade you so carefully bathed it in! Keeping it on the bone may reduce the shrinkage a little, and add a little flavour from the morrow, if the bird is mature enough.

16) This is the so-called bhuna method, it’s a way of 'frying' the aromatics to hot oil extract the flavours without burning them, add a little water when it looks (or smells) as though it might burn. This gives a deeper, slightly smoky flavour to the dish.

17) Continue heating and adding water a few times to complete the bhuna process.

18) Turmeric will burn very quickly, so watch it very carefully, but it still needs a little oil extraction for those vanilla-type notes to come through, and to extract the colour.

19) This is a stew-type dish, all the duck needs to be covered.

20) The stock must only be heated to simmering point, that is, just a bubble now and again, if the liquid gets any hotter, the meat can shrivel and become stringy, and rather tasteless.

21) You could take the lid of sooner if you think the gravy is going to be too thin, or you could remove the cooked meat, and reduce the gravy on its own. Add salt to taste.

22) Ensure there is no water in the oil, dry with salt or re-decant.

23) Be very careful as the seeds can 'explode' and jump out of the pan, you have been warmed.

24) Be careful, the very hot oil will spit as it hits the water-based gravy, but is quite spectacular. You can do it at the table, but please be very careful!!

You could add some finely cut coriander leaf for garnish if you wish, but I suggest if preparing for a dinner party, when several dishes are being offered, you put a very large fresh chilli on the rim of the serving dish, to indicate its pungency! Note, although I have used many chillies, they do blend in very well, the overall effect is one of total glow rather than stinging hot.

Enjoy.

Waaza

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Was the pan you used an enamel one? If this had a shinny surface, it could be that the bhuna process did not work too well. I use only cast iron pans (except for a cheap non-stick omelette pan, my original cast iron one split!!!). The spices/marinade need to become quite hot and browned to form what the French call 'fonds'. This develops the flavour necessary for this dish.

No, the pan isn't enamel, it's cast iron that has been coated with enamel. It's 13" wide at the bottom: Le Creuset 5 qt Buffet Casserole

I had no problems when I needed to fry the onions, but when I turned down the temperature to simmer the meat covered it seemed like I could either get a bubble every once in a while or a boil and nothing in between. And then when I took the cover off to simmer to reduce the water it took hours! Is it supposed to take hours to simmer off a little water? That's why I was thinking maybe my pot is way too wide... maybe the tiny flame that keeps it simmering isn't strong enough to heat up the entire pot, therefore it only simmers in the middle and is lukewarm (bacteria-breeding temperature) at the sides. Any validity to this theory do you think? I have deeper pots that aren't nearly as wide that I could use Le Creuset Soup Pot, but I don't know if it's better to have more surface area being heated or less.

Thanks so much for the modified recipe. :biggrin: I love the idea of adding a tarka at the end. I guess I'm surprised that the duck needs that much extra help, but the more flavor the merrier. I'll definitely give this recipe a try later this week. Maybe I can even find a duck that hasn't been frozen.

Does the type of frying oil make a huge difference? I've been using peanut oil because that's what I have on hand.

I agree with you that the number of chiles makes the dish "glow" rather than hot, but my wife, who's a big baby, thinks it's too hot to taste with only 5 chiles, so I'll have to either uninvite her or cut back on the chiles somewhat. (She usually orders korma "extra mild")

Grub, your success and perseverance continue to inspire me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

As the missus & daughter were away for a few days, I thought I'd take the opportunity to try Waaza's intriguing & extensive vindaloo recipe. I have to admit I like British Indian restaurant food - or some of it, anyway - but I leave that for going out. At home, I like to cook "authentic", whatever that means. Now I know there can never be a single, definitive recipe for any Indian dish, but I've googled a lot for vindaloos, and Waaza's recipe had a good feel to it. Plus Grub really raved about the result. Doubleplus, I've followed Waaza's comments on uk.food+drink.indian & he knows his stuff. Period.

So I tried to follow the recipe as closely as I could, with the following variations/comments:

1. Couldn't get a shoulder cut of my favourite free range rare breed pork, so had to make do with 4 "spare rib chops". They had a nice marbling of fat. However, after trimming, I ended up with only 600g of meat.

2. Got home to find I didn't have any whole fenugreek seeds, like wot I thought. So I added 1/2 tsp of ground fenugreek along with the garlic and ginger.

3. I used 7 very small (2cm x 0.5 cm) dried birdseye chillies from Pakistan. I know from experience they're ferociously hot, and usually use only a couple in any dish. But, hell, it's a vindaloo. Go for it!

4. Waaza didn't say what to do to the garlic, so I crushed it and chopped it finely. It added a nice speckled appearance to the finished dish, BTW.

5. Had no trouble covering the pork in the marinade. Firstly, there was less pork, and secondly I used a deep dish, rather than a shallow box like Grub.

6. I used butter ghee for frying the onions etc. as I had some in the fridge.

7. The first bhuna took for ever! I'd thoroughly drained the marinade from the meat, but more & more liquid came out as it cooked. But I resisted the very, very strong temptation to turn up the heat.

8. There were only a couple of tbsp of marinade left, so I added a little water and used this for the second bhuna. By this time my stomach was telling me to get a move on, so I didn't bhuna any more.

9. While bhuna-ing, I noticed that nowhere had Waaza specified any salt. I try not to be too heavy-handed with the NaCl, but a total lack seemed wrong. So I added a tsp with the water after the bhuna.

10. My range couldn't maintain the specified very slow simmer, so I used the smallest burner on minimum & hoped for the best.

11. Due to inattention (I was re-grouting the patio during all this (what a giddy whirl life can be!)) it simmered for 1 hour 20 mins.

12. I ate it with plain rice and a simple saag aloo, with a dish of raita to hand in case the heat proved too much. Oh, and a cold bottle of Budvar. Or two.

And the result?

a. Appearance: appealing. A pleasant mid brown/orange with only a moderate amount of speckled gravy.

b. Texture: incredible. I'd thought it would be either tough because of the extended cooking time & higher temperature, or soft and falling apart into strings. But no! In biting into the first cube of pork, it yielded and felt like - hard to describe - a very firm fudge. That doesn't sound very nice, does it? But it was. Absolutely phenomenal. After a couple of chews, the pork blended into the thick gravy creating a gorgeous mouth-feel. A molecular transformation worthy of Mr Blumenthal.

c. Flavour: excellent. It's hard to descibe taste in words, as the vapid ramblings of many a wine writer attest. On first impression, there was a pleasant spicyness and a mild heat. But after a second or two, a deep warmth began to grow, which seemed to bring out or intensify the underlying smokiness and dark, earth flavours of the roasted and bhuna-ed spices. Not a sharp heat, but a slowly developing warmth that makes me drool in trying to recollect it.

In short: one of the best dishes I've ever prepared. I can't wait to try it out on some of my curry-loving friends and colleagues.

Waaza - when are you going to write a book? Can I order my copy now?

Deep respect.

- Tony -

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As the missus & daughter were away for a few days, I thought I'd take the opportunity to try Waaza's intriguing & extensive vindaloo recipe...

Awesome, I'm stoked you liked it! I'm eagerly awaiting for the summertime heat to die down here, so I can try it again.

Couple of questions: what kind of vinegar did you use, and how did the color of your dish compare to mine?

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Couple of questions: what kind of vinegar did you use, and how did the color of your dish compare to mine?

I used cider vinegar, as I just happened to have an old bottle with exactly the right quantity left in it.

The colour was lighter than yours, with more of an orange tint.

- Tony -

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wow. i'm totally motivated to make pork vindaloo now.

I can't recall ever tasting vindaloo, to be honest - altho i'm sure soemwhere int he deep dark recesses of memory I must have.

But this looks and sounds absolutely heavenly. It will be a great experiment.

one thing tho - the Mustard seed in the first picture looks nothing like the Mustard seed I know (dark brownish little orbs reminiscent of poppy seed). Am i missing something?

oh - and how much is 700 Grams in US lbs?

Edited by tryska (log)
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700 grams is 1 and a half lbs (rounded off).

The mustard seeds in the picture look to me what my MIL refers to as 'rai' (even though this strictly speaking means 'mustard'). She uses it only for certain pickles, and it is made from the mustard seeds that you were talking about, but which have been husked and split.

I'd say you should use the mustard you are accustomed to without hesitation.

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cool thanks anzu!

one last question that just came to mind - considering the roots of vindaloo (or vinh d'alho) - what would happen if i were to substitute vinho verde for the cider vinegar?

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cool thanks anzu!

one last question that just came to mind - considering the roots of vindaloo (or vinh d'alho) - what would happen if i were to substitute vinho verde for the cider vinegar?

Not acid enough, I should think. The acid content of the vinegar is important for the right taste.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally made another Vindaloo last night...

Bad news, it wasn't as good as the first one, but good news is, I know what I did wrong, so I can correct it the next time around. As they say, the only chess matches you can learn from, are the ones you lose.

Besides, I figure if I post my thoughts here, it might be helpful to others, to avoid these pitfalls.

Here's the dish -- I aslo made some aloo gobi (taters & cauliflower -- classic vegiterian dish) to go along with it, as I had a few more diners this time around (and wanted to stretch it out a little, so I'd have a chance to check out how the vindaloo would taste as leftovers, heheh). Well, here it is:

gallery_28832_1138_61751.jpg

A minor mistake is that I wanted it to be less hot than the last time, so I used seven chilies (dry ones, very strong) rather than ten. HOWEVER, since I also used considerably more meat (having more guests, and hoping for leftovers), this brought the heat down too far -- I'd guestimate that it was only about 1/3 as hot as the first one I made. A good vindaloo doesn't have to be super hot, but it has to have a certain heat to it, or else the whole thing just doesn't come through. This was a mild vindaloo.

A slightly bigger mistake is that I didn't up the amount of onions enough, to compensate for the extra meat. As you can see from the picture, it is far drier than my first effort.

A far bigger mistake is that I took a break from stirring at JUST the wrong moment, and the dish got burned. The recipe goes through four stages where it is simmering/braising in the liquids (first from water released from the onions, then in water released from the meat, then in the marinade, and finally in added water) -- but after each of these stages, it goes into the "dry" frying, or bhuna stage, and during those stages, you have to stir constantly... I left the pot just as it hit this bhuna stage, and it got kinda burned. :sad: Not enough to really wreck the dish, but it imparted a darker flavor, that was particularly noticable because of the lack of spiciness.

So if you make this dish, pay attention to the evaporating liquids: when the water has steamed off, and the only liquids left are oils, keep stirring, stirring...

A final problem was the timing... With the extra onions and meat added, the dish took considerably longer to cook, because it took longer to braise and steam off the water, and getting to the bhuna stage.

Edit: I just realized I made another mistake... One of the bhuna stages in the original recipe says to "add some water," and the next to add enough water or stock to cover the meat. Instead, I basically skipped the penultimate bhuna stage, and jumped ahead to the last one, but didn't add anywhere near enough water to cover the meat. This definetely had an impact on the tenderness, the flavor, and the much drier end result.

I'm even more impressed with this recipe, now. You need to be on your toes, and follow it precisely, because it is so perfectly balanced that if you miss anything or do things differently, it WILL have an impact. It's an extremely detailed recipe, but it needs to be so.

Oh yeah, and damnit, I screwed up and forgot to add the cilantro (coriander leaves). Damnit! I hate missing those things. I even made a note about chopping the cilantro up much more than I did the last time. Ugh.

Well, in spite of my obsessive self-critique, the dinner went off very well. People loved it, and ate unbelievable amounts of it -- I only got about a cup and a half worth of leftovers. Well, a cup and a half of the vindaloo -- there's tons left of the aloo goobi, so there was defintely a preference amongst the guests, hehehe.

Edited by Grub (log)
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well thanks to this thread - i have some pork marinating in the fridge right now.

The only thing i'm concerned with is that the pork i have comes from center cut prok chops - i'm not sure how it will handle being stewed - but you live and you learn.

One other question - can someone define "medium sized onion"?

I picked up 2 onions that are medium sized by gargantuan american supermarket standards. they are base-ball sized.

Edited by tryska (log)
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First time around, I used pork sirloin and it held up fine. I'm not certain, but I think a chop basically contain mostly the same meat -- if it's like beef, where a t-bone contains mostly sirloin, with a smaller portion of tenderloin. I used pork shoulder the second time around, and I think that's an ideal cut to use (except it's much more work to cut it up, since it has some sizeable bits of fat).

Uh, having a Homer Simpson moment here -- I never even consider to look for "stewing pork." Pre-cut. That'd take a lot of work out of the process. D'oh.

Medium-sized would be baseball/cricket ball-sized, methinks.

And for the record, you defintely want to make sure you have leftovers... The flavor is so intense, and so damn amazing, it's unbelievable. Hell, next time I'll just cook the thing a day ahead and leave it in the fridge and serve it as leftovers. :biggrin:

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I haven't tasted mine yet - but it came out looking right.  I figured I'd let it sit overnight and have it this evening so the flavors have a chance to meld and develop.

. . . well???...

How'd it taste?!

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doh! forgot to report back.

it's delicious! very spicy but quite yummy.

i actually was expecting more of a vinegary taste, but i'm pleasantly surprised. thank you so much for this thread!

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well thanks to this thread - i have some pork marinating in the fridge right now.

The only thing i'm concerned with is that the pork i have comes from center cut prok chops - i'm not sure how it will handle being stewed - but you live and you learn.

One other question - can someone define "medium sized onion"?

I picked up 2 onions that are medium sized by gargantuan american supermarket standards. they are base-ball sized.

the pork (or other meat in other dishes) should be from the region of the animal which has done much work in its lifetime, meaning its legs basically, but any really red meat, or dark meat in poultry. Its because this meat has more flavour. Unfortunately, because of the construction of the flesh, it is also a tougher cut. So to cook it, and to tenderize it, one must cook it slowly, at a lower temperature than a steak, for example.

If you heat this type of meat to too high a temperature, too much water is lost, and it gets really tough. If you cook it for too long, it loses flavour. This applies to beef, but less to lamb, if young.

I stipulated 'medium-sized' onions to distiguish them from large (Spanish) onions, or whatever you might call them. Like so much other produce, large, beautiful looking fruit/veg often has less flavour, so it is with onions. I use ordinary onions, about 2 inches or so in diameter, not the large watery ones. Its the flavour that matters, and water content. When the onion is fried, one is aiming to drive off as much water as possible, this intensifies the onion flavour, helps to break down the starch, and to produce a sweetness. Always include the hard bit next to the root, it is full of onion flavour.

HTH

cheers

Waaza

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I stipulated 'medium-sized' onions to distiguish them from large (Spanish) onions, or whatever you might call them. Like so much other produce, large, beautiful looking fruit/veg  often has less flavour, so it is with onions.

Here in the states they might be called "Boiler Onions" much more intense onion flavor than the Walla Walla sweet, or Vidalia onions which are much better eaten raw on burgers or something..

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I stipulated 'medium-sized' onions to distiguish them from large (Spanish) onions, or whatever you might call them. Like so much other produce, large, beautiful looking fruit/veg  often has less flavour, so it is with onions.

Here in the states they might be called "Boiler Onions" much more intense onion flavor than the Walla Walla sweet, or Vidalia onions which are much better eaten raw on burgers or something..

thanks, jw,

I'll add that to my list of US/UK translations. It is unfortuate for me they are called 'boiler onions', as I hate the taste/smell of boiled onions. It may be one reason why I strive to perfect the 'golden onion' stage in Indian cooking, I dislike the 'green onion' taste with a passion, it seems to pervade the whole dish.

thanks again

Waaza

ps its a shame we don't get to know the names of the varieties we buy, it would make life a little simpler, don't you reckon? :biggrin::unsure:

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  • 2 weeks later...
The meat was a bit stringy but not tough at all.  The meat had some flavor but the sauce little.  I also managed to burn Suvir's spinach and potato red onion thingee and make his cumin rice way mushy.  My wife bought ice cream to cheer me up.

Hey, Ducksredux -- I came across a recipe on the beeb website, for a Duck Vindaloo, which made me think of you:

Madhur Jaffrey's Duck Vindaloo with Spinach, Ginger and Green Chillies

Of course, with the result I had with Waaza's Vindaloo recipe, I think I'd much rather try his Duck Vindaloo recipe, even over Jaffrey's -- but I think she knows her way around a kitchen too, heheh.

At any rate, whatever you try, report back okay?

Cheers.

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The meat was a bit stringy but not tough at all.  The meat had some flavor but the sauce little.  I also managed to burn Suvir's spinach and potato red onion thingee and make his cumin rice way mushy.  My wife bought ice cream to cheer me up.

Hey, Ducksredux -- I came across a recipe on the beeb website, for a Duck Vindaloo, which made me think of you:

Madhur Jaffrey's Duck Vindaloo with Spinach, Ginger and Green Chillies

Of course, with the result I had with Waaza's Vindaloo recipe, I think I'd much rather try his Duck Vindaloo recipe, even over Jaffrey's -- but I think she knows her way around a kitchen too, heheh.

At any rate, whatever you try, report back okay?

Cheers.

Frankly, I've been having such success with Julie Sahnie that I haven't been bothering with anybody else's recipes lately. Also, my wife doesn't like much heat in her food, and any heat that she does eat gets passed on in the breast milk to my 4 month old baby, who makes faces and eats much less. So I've been avoiding Vindaloo.

Yesterday I made papadum with a store-bought sweet mango pickle, a mango pickle from Neelam Batra's book, and mint chutney from Sahni's book. Also:

Aloo podina (?) chaat (book is way downstairs, but I think it's called this)

Glazed beets

Sweet saffron rice

Cornish hens in apricot sauce

all from Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking

didn't use any ghee so none of the guests could complain about their cholesterol. I don't think I've ever made anything that tasted so good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had another go at Waaza's Vindaloo recently, although since I was just cooking it for myself, I took once single, lazy shortcut...

I didn't bother chopping the onions up manually. I normally use a mandoline with a very fine blade setting (about 2mm or so) and then chop the resulting slices into a very fine dice. This time, I just chopped the oinions very coarsely, and ran them through a blender. By the time I managed to get that mess chopped into uniformly sized pieces, some of it was quite liquified... So if I were to take such a shortcut again, I'll use a food processor instead -- you don't get quite such a violently, and fine chopping action with that...

This seemed to have an effect on the cooking processes, as it seemed to speed it up a LOT. Previously, I've cooked this dish for three and for five people, and thus there has been just a lot more stuff in it, so it makes sense that it should cook faster this time -- but it ended up taking nearly half as much time as it did previously.

The end result was very good -- but not as good as the first time I did it. The taste wasn't as complex and satisfying as the first time.

It is pretty frustrating to have made the dish twice since I made it (successfully) the first time, and not manage to achieve quite the same, superb result -- BUT it makes me respect the recipe all the more, as it seems to be so absolutely perfectly balanced...

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Just a note in passing, by the way:

Others will claim Balti derives from Baltistan, which is supposed to be in norther Pakistan, though I've never found it on a map. My eldest son is in N Pakistan at the moment, so he can have the mission....

Baltistan definitely exists: possibly one of the reasons it doesn't turn up all the time on maps would be the continuing political instability of the area. It's in the remotest part of Pakistan, very near to K2 / Nanga Parbat and some of the highest mountains in the region. (Climbers often stage their expeditions from there.) The population is mostly of Tibetan derivation, having migrated into the area centuries ago: most of them converted to Islam in the 1500's. The main town of the region is Skardu. See:

Short Britannica entry

History via Bookrags

Faces and other images from Baltistan

And Googling will produce many other references.

And also, re: this...

What is offerd is usually the same old stuff served in a little wok, or sometimes, a bucket (I'm told balti means bucket in some Indian languages!!)

In Hindi, yes. So, since the word's not native, maybe it was originally (among the people who started to popularize balti cooking in Sparkhill, etc., in the 70's) a pun? In any case, apparently the local Blti name for at least the pot, if not the cooking style itself, is "karhai". ...I've also heard suggestions that the cooking style is unlikely to be native to the area because the people there are supposed to be mostly vegetarian: but I have no other data on this.

(The Balti thing is kind of a recurring theme for me, since I help to keep a little web page on the subject. Anyone who looks at it, please excuse its very torn-up / outdated appearance at the moment: it's about to be overhauled. ...Anyway, forgive me if I quote myself briefly:)

"Incidentally, over the last couple of years -- in the face of the continuing popularity of the cooking style, perhaps? -- some of the personalities who had most vehemently insisted that Balti either "didn't exist" or was "not really Indian food at all" have done some surprising about-faces. The name of one prominent author of numerous Indian cookbooks, who not only refused to acknowledge Balti, but didn't even believe in curry, now appears on the labels of a major Indian food manufacturer's jars of Balti "mix". Life is strange..." :wink:

Best -- Diane

(PS: my husband has asked me if I want to post his vindaloo recipe, which leaves the pork marinating in the vinegar for the better part of a week. Yummy. I'll do that later today.)

Diane Duane | The Owl Springs Partnership | Co. Wicklow, Ireland

http://www.youngwizards.com | http://www.dianeduane.com

Weblog: Out of Ambit

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