Project Food Blog #2: Lamb Vindaloo, Garlic Naan, and Indian Chai Tea

Project Food Blog #2: Lamb Vindaloo, Garlic Naan, and Indian Chai Tea

September 26, 2010

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As we mentioned in our first Foodbuzz Project Food Blog post, it’s our main goal as food bloggers to remain true to ourselves by teaching our readers while we ourselves are learning. When it comes to cooking, there are still many things that make us feel like we’re stepping outside of our comfort zone. Heading to the butcher shop to pick up a cut of meat that is different from our usual (you know, like chicken breast or ground turkey) has always been a bit daunting.  And we know we’re not alone in this sentiment. We, along with others, are also often hesitant to experiment with yeast and baking  bread. It does take time and practice, but you need to start somewhere and with patience, we’ve learned you’ll get the hang of it.

We decided to cook the classic Indian dish lamb vindaloo as our ethnic classic. It would force us to step outside our comfort zone since we haven’t yet conquered Indian food and we’d have to purchase lamb at the butcher. And we knew to make it truly authentic we’d have to complete every step, from grinding our own spices, right down to baking our own garlic naan. Oh, and since we’d need something to sip on, we figured we’d make an Indian Chai tea as well. We were kind of nervous to attempt so many new ventures at once since it can be a bit intimidating, but if there was any time to do it, this challenge was it!

For this challenge, we decided we needed to get to know our local butcher. We recently got a new butcher shop in our neighborhood called The Meat House. We’ve been in several times and noticed everyone working is super friendly and helpful. So, this time we went in and asked our butcher, Seth, what cut of lamb would be best for lamb vindaloo. He immediately knew what to grab from the case, asked us how much we wanted, and even asked us if we wanted him to cube it. We obviously said yes, knowing this would make our job much easier later on in the kitchen.

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We left confident in the fact that we had just the cut of lamb we needed for our vindaloo.

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Our next stop was Whole Foods where we knew they would have the wide variety of exotic spices we needed. Your traditional grocery store might not carry specialty spices such as whole cardamom pods or whole fenugreek seeds, so it’s always good to have a backup plan. And the good thing is, the next time you want to make a similar dish, you’ll have all the spices ready to go!

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Seth also recommended a fabulous bottle of malbec to us, knowing it would go great with the lamb. Of course, we bought that, too, since we knew we had a long night of cooking ahead of us.

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Since the garlic naan would need time to rise, we decided to start with it. Well, after opening and pouring the wine, of course.

After doing lots of naan research, we decided we liked the idea of combining yogurt and honey to make the dough.

Garlic Naan (makes about 6 rounds):

• 2 sticks butter (for coating)
• .25 oz. of yeast (1 packet)
• 1 C warm water
• 4 T yogurt
• 1 T honey
• 1 t salt
• 3.5 C flour
• 1 head garlic

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First we had to conquer the KitchenAid mixer. The bowl was stuck to the stand mixer and we just could not get it out! Of course, it would have helped if we knew whether we were supposed to turn it to the left or right to loosen it (turns out, it was right… for future reference).

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After much struggling, the bowl finally came off! Thank goodness Chels’s sister was there to add some extra strength.

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Now, 2 sticks of butter might seem a bit excessive for the naan. But you’re going to make ghee with it and be constantly coating the dough in it. And it’s so worth it because it will give you the flaky, crispy, soft naan you want. So, what exactly is this “ghee” you’ll be making? Ghee is the same thing as clarified butter. Just melt the butter in a saucepan and skim off the white film that forms on top.

Now, dissolve the yeast into the cup of warm water and give it about 10 minutes to become a bit frothy.

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Then add in the yogurt, honey, salt, and flour.

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Use the dough hook on your stand mixer to knead the dough for about 3 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, you can knead it on a floured surface for about 6 minutes.

Form a ball with the dough and coat it in ghee.

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Put the ball in a bowl and place in a warm environment for about an hour. You can cover it with a kitchen towel or whatever you want. We used a We are not Martha apron! The dough should double in size.

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Mince all the garlic. It’s a lot, but it’s most definitely worth it. And it really helps to have a GarlicZoom! Of course, you can always make regular naan without garlic, too.

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Knead the garlic into the dough and make 6 little dough balls of equal size. Coat them in some more ghee and let them sit for another 30 minutes.

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At this point, you can start pre-heating your oven to 500 degrees. Put the baking sheet you’re going to bake your naan on in the oven too, so the surface will be nice and hot.

Roll the balls into flat disks on a lightly floured surface. Coat with some more ghee.

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Now put them on the hot pan a couple at a time and pop them in the oven.

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Let them bake for about 2 minutes before you take the pan out, flip the naan over, brush more ghee on them, and put them back in for 2 more minutes. Repeat until all rounds are baked.

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They should be nice and browned and bubbly looking.

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*****

We wanted the lamb vindaloo to be as authentic as possible, so we mainly followed a recipe from the trusted Madhur Jaffrey. The recipe called for a lot of whole spices. Of course, you can buy most of the spices ground (or even already blended, like with curry powder), but actually grinding and mixing them yourself will make the flavors much more vibrant and fresh.

Lamb Vindaloo (serves 6):

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking

• 2 t whole cumin seeds
• 4 hot, dried red chili peppers
• 1 t black peppercorns
• 1 t cardamom seeds (take seeds out of pods)
•  3-inch stick of cinnamon
• 1 1/2 t mustard seeds
• 1 t whole fenugreek seeds
•  5 T white wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 t salt
• 1 t light brown sugar
• 10 T vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into half-rings
• 1 1/3 C water
• 1.5 lb. boneless lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 small whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
• 1 T ground coriander
• 1/2 t ground tumeric

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We used whole cardamom pods, so we had to open them and remove the seeds.

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Start by grinding your spices. Put the cumin seeds, dried red chili peppers, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds in a coffee/spice grinder (a food processor or blender might also work). When they’re all ground up, make sure you smell them because it will blow you away!

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Put the spices in a bowl and add vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix and set aside.

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Now, heat some oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and stir frequently until they get nice and brown.

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Remove the onions and put them in a food processor or blender. Add 2-3 T of water and puree the onions.

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Add the pureed onions to the ground spices in the bowl. And that’s your vindaloo paste!

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Next, put the ginger and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. Add 2-3 T of water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Yup, that’s your ginger garlic paste.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in the pot you’re going to cook your lamb in. We used a 5.5 quart cast iron dutch oven. When the oil is hot, put the lamb cubes in the pot, forming a single layer. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to do a couple batches.

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Brown the cubes on all sides, remove from pot, and place on a plate or in a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the lamb until it’s all browned. Remove from pot.

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Put the ginger garlic paste into the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and stir. Add the coriander and tumeric. Stir some more and add the lamb and any juices that have accumulated. Add the vindaloo paste and 1 C of water and stir. Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and gently simmer for 45 minutes until lamb is tender. Make sure you stir the mixture a few times throughout the cooking time.

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*****

We wanted to accompany our Indian cuisine with a traditional Indian Chai tea from Vij’s, a famous restaurant in Vancouver.

Indian Chai Tea (serves 5-6):

• 4-5 orange pekoe teabags
• 1 inch cinnamon stick
• 1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 4 green cardamom seeds
• 3/4 cup whole milk
•  5-6 teaspoons sugar
• 5.5 teacups water (the actual size of the cup in which you’ll serve the tea)

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Place the cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling add teabags and let the water boil for another minute.

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Add 3/4 cup of milk and bring to an almost boil. Remove immediately from the stove.

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Remove teabags and pour tea through a strainer and into a teapot or directly into teacups.

By the time everything was done cooking, we were definitely ready for a big meal!

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We served the lamb vindaloo over brown basmati rice with the garlic naan on the side. Even though we had silverware, we ended up scooping a lot of the rice and lamb up with the naan.

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All the spices came together wonderfully and the lamb vindaloo tasted exactly like what we’ve had in our favorite Indian restaurants. We were so impressed that just by stepping out of our comfort zones, we were able to create restaurant-quality food at home.

And the naan! Fresh out of the oven, it was a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery delight. We had never even considered the fact that we could bake our naan, but now that we’ve done it, it’s going to be difficult to stop.

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The tea was the perfect touch. The spices complimented the meal and it was nice to have a warm drink while we sat eating our meals on the deck.

After cooking the food, taking a billion photographs, and eating the meal, we remembered we still had to blog about it! So, we settled in on the couch and got right to work. Things got a little crazy, especially when a giant moth flew into the living room and tried to attack us.

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Oh, but the first thing we did was to put our slippers on! Standing on our feet for so long in the kitchen had both of us majorly craving the comfort of our slippers.

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We never knew we could step so far outside our comfort zone while in our own kitchen. And staying in on a Saturday night to cook up an Indian feast with your best friend, a glass of red, and 2 laptops is probably the best way to make you feel comfortable while stepping out of your comfort zone.

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We encourage you to take some time to step outside your comfort zone, too, by creating a meal you wouldn’t normally attempt from a culture different than your own. We loved the idea of making something we order at restaurants quite a bit, but never bring to our own kitchen.

The other benefit you’ll receive? We learned that making lamb vindaloo and naan at home is so much less expensive than ordering it in a restaurant. Especially once you already have all the spices in your cabinets.

Just make sure you have your slippers ready.

[Sues and Chels]

Voting starts Monday, September 27, at 9 a.m. EST. Thank you so much for your votes in round one. We’d love it if you’d take the time to vote for us again! Next week’s challenge involves us hosting a luxury dinner party and we’d love to show you what we have up our sleeves 😉

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77 Responses to "Project Food Blog #2: Lamb Vindaloo, Garlic Naan, and Indian Chai Tea"

  1. Kerstin says:

    What a feast – good luck I will definitely be voting!! It’s less expensive than ordering out and also more healthy too in general – I feel like many Indian places overdo it on the cream!

  2. beth says:

    I love that you made that look so easy! I don’t love that you didn’t invite us over to have some!! I bet it tastes as great as it looks…. good luck with Foodbuzz!

  3. Chris says:

    This was hands down my favorite dish. What a great post.. You girls obviously are going to rock Food Buzz. Vindaloo and naan is the best dinner to conclude a crazy week.

  4. Erica says:

    I wish I had a blogging partner 🙂 You guys always look like you have so much fun creating together. The Naan looks fabulous. Homemade bread type products always make a meal that much more special. Best of luck in the next round!!

  5. Des says:

    WOW… nice post ladies! I think I should have stuck around to enjoy that delightful feast! Yum!

    Good Luck …you’ve got my vote!

  6. rebeccaj says:

    um, i adore you both SO MUCH. and really, now i’m starving.

  7. Simply Life says:

    wow! nice work! I am sooo impressed! Looks like you had a great time and a delicious meal!

  8. Michelle says:

    This looks delicious! I hope you two will do more joint cooking blog posts in the future!

  9. Melissa says:

    Ah this was amazing! And inspiring – the one and only time I ever tried to make a curry my sauce broke. But now I want to try again! Well done girls – and cute outfits too!

  10. girlichef says:

    Awesome job…you girls rocked it!! Everything looks and sounds mouthwatering =) Good luck in this round!

  11. Anna says:

    Great post girls, that look like fun. Good luck in this round! have a nice week.

  12. Jenni says:

    Beautiful meal! The naan looked ridiculous. In a Very Good Way! Looking forward to voting tomorrow–best of luck in Round 2!!

  13. Shannon says:

    wow, what a meal! you guys look like you are having a ball 🙂

  14. this looks amazing! definitely worth the work, i’m sure. 🙂 i love the idea of making the chai too!

  15. Emily says:

    Well done!! This definitely looks challenging but you made it look fun and approachable! Good luck!

  16. Sharon says:

    Awesome job, Girls! You certainly have my vote for your creativity, exquisite ingredients and your user friendly instructions and illustrations.
    You are both an inspiration to those of us who seldom leave our comfort zone when we cook…Well done!!

  17. Awesome post!! I love all the pics, instructions and stories of fun times! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to make lamb vindaloo!! Best wishes in the challenge – you have my vote!

    Best,
    Veronica

  18. Maiah says:

    I couldn’t be more impressed by both of you right now! I’m always dying to cook up some indian food but I get overwhelmed by the idea and end up pulling out the takeout menus. Well done!

  19. Noelle says:

    Wow, such a great post. It looks like you had tons of fun making this meal. I am going to have to try that Naan recipe. I am scared of Indian cuisine and I have a hubby that won;t eat it so I am going to have to make it for myself one night. Good luck with getting into the next round!!

  20. Daisy says:

    you two are so cute! you really went all out for challenge #2. I am in awe and impressed as usual.

  21. Rochelle says:

    Great job on the meal!

  22. You two are adorable!! Congratulations on advancement and good luck. Y’all kinda remind me of my best friend and I — She’s 5’10 and I’m 5’5 and we have a lot of fun too. Good info in your post too. See ya in round #3 😉

    Ciao, Shelly 🙂

  23. Rhonda says:

    I absolutely love Indian food. You two look like you had a lot of fun making it! You’ll be sure to get my vote!

  24. A. Judy says:

    I bet you two could make yourselves comfortable in any culinary “zone” because you have what it takes to be the BEST in everything you do!
    Cast another vote for the Dynamic Dual……….see you in Round 3!

  25. Joanne says:

    Woot woot! I’m so happy that you lovely ladies conquered Indian food. And with one of my most favorite Indian chefs – Ms. Jaffrey herself!

    I need to find a good butcher shop and become bff with one of the guys who works there. I need the inside scoop on various cuts of meat…

    This looks fantastic and a great entry for PFB! I’ll be voting!

  26. What an awesome meal! And Saturday night! Great post. Good luck with Project Food Blog!

  27. This looks great! You both always look like you are having such a fun time shopping. Good luck!

  28. Great recipes. Beautiful photography. Wonderful story. You ladies rock! and have my vote. Good luck as you continue through the PFB Challenge! I can’t wait to see what you have planned for next week.

  29. Ellen says:

    Looks good ladies! Great job! I also especially love that you two look so fashionable while you’re cooking 🙂

  30. Marija says:

    So cute and warm post! just voted for you!

  31. Meg says:

    Wow – this is an amazing post with beautiful pictures. I really hope you win because you really deserve it. Good luck!

  32. Karen Williams says:

    I am truly craving some Indian food now! You both have done a fantastic job here. Your pictures certainly enhance the whole experience and I particularly appreciate your step by step instructions. Good luck, girls. You have MY vote!

  33. Victoria says:

    You guys rock!! What a great meal! I love Indian food, but have only made it a couple times, never naan. I think I’m inspired to try making it next time! Thanks 🙂

  34. Eileen says:

    Hey! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I LOVE your site! I am sad not to have made it further in the project food blog competetion and I am rooting for you guys now for sure! I agree that making Indian cuisine is surely a challenge so good for you guys for trying it out! It looked great!!

  35. Kelly says:

    You guys always make me wish I had a blogging buddy. It looks like your dinner came out fantastic and you definitely grew as bloggers & cooks. You have my vote.

  36. Wow! Great post. We just love vindaloo, tasty tasty!

  37. Thea says:

    Looks delish!

  38. Pam says:

    Nicely done girls! You look like you have such a great time cooking and blogging together.

  39. Priscilla says:

    oohh I had so much fun with this post! You guys are great!!

    Have a great day!
    Priscilla

  40. YES YES YES!!! i love seeing you girls together, not only cooking up amazing food, but laughing and loving life <3 YOUVE GOT MY VOTE!!! <3

  41. MichellePC says:

    I love making Indian food at home, but have never attempted to make my own naan, or even cook with lamb! I admire your braveness!

  42. love the post – especially taking us with you on your shopping trip. you got my vote!

  43. norma says:

    You have my vote again! Great everything…..

  44. i like watching your dynamic duo. Voted!

    (Here’s my post:
    See my entry here: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/869)

  45. Maria says:

    Good luck! I am loving that naan!!

  46. Heather Simmons says:

    I LOVE this post: Gorg pics and adorable narration! I’m voting now!!!!

  47. Great post! I love that you made naan! Awesome work. I’m glad you stopped by my blog. Yay for Boston bloggers!

  48. Is this the new Meat House in Brookline? Or the one in Portsmouth? I miss my Meat House Marinated steak tips like whoa out here in San Francisco!!!

  49. Alicia says:

    Nicely done! I’m really impressed with the indian food!! I’ve been wanting to make naan forever, but am a little scared to try! You make it look easy, as always!

  50. Joan Nova says:

    I was wondering when you would switch to slippers!! Nice entry. I voted.

  51. Yeast breads are out of my comfort zone as well, and I love indian food. Looks like everything came out delicious! Great post 🙂

  52. Jeannette says:

    Your food look yummy. Always wanted to try do a food blog it never works. Great job in keeping up with a blog.

  53. Julie Q says:

    I’m so impressed (and proud) of you ladies!!! Just voted.. what a job well done 🙂

  54. Bridget says:

    Haha this was awesome, I love all the pictures of you guys!! Looks like the meal came out awesome! I’m not a big fan of Indian food but I bet that was delicious, esp the Naan!! Good luck guys!

  55. zenchef says:

    I love Lamb Vindaloo and this is a GREAT version. The best part is that you both look like you had a blast making it. I’m voting for you! Good luck!

  56. You know we love Indian food! And lamb too. This is right up our alley. Now you’re stocked with lots of good spices for your next venture. Voting now!

  57. Glad to see that you made it to round 2 (well deserved!). I love vindaloo; how spicy was yours? Everything you made looks great.

  58. Danielle says:

    Everything looks great! Good luck with round 2!

  59. jen cheung says:

    this looks delicious 🙂 Good luck with project food and you got my vote for this one! Feel free to drop by 🙂 Good luck and best wishes for making to the top !! WOOHOO

    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  60. notyet100 says:

    good luck awesome post,..

  61. Vi says:

    The reason a lot of people don’t like Indian food is that the food you see in restaurants is usually not authentic, generic Indian restaurants tend to combine a lot of random regional cuisines and add a billion spices and loads of cream to everything. There are a lot of different regional cuisines in India, each one is unique. Vindaloo is one of the typical generic dishes you tend to see around, I think it was meant to come from a particular region but is now bastardized in most restaurants. If you’re not big on heaps of different spices, Southern Indian food is supposed to be hot, but has more clear, defined flavours and goes down easier and is more flavorful – but it is trickier to master. I grew up with a lot of Southern Indians and the food was marvellous, it’s drier and crisper compared to Northern and typical Indian restaurant food. Have you tried dosa? It’s a rice crepe which is delicious and my favourite Indian dish in the world. Could I implore you to try it out and post a recipe for me? 😛

  62. I LOVE Indian food – this sounds/looks delish! Although I love eating it I have never really tried to cook it – and I really should! Props to you ladies!

  63. Annalise says:

    Love the step by step photos of the naan! It’s been on my to-do list for a while but I’ve been a little scared of it. Think I’ll be able try it now!

  64. Daily Spud says:

    What a marathon effort – well done! I’d definitely be needing that Dona Paula malbec (and a rather large glass) to get me through it all 🙂

  65. Deborah Dowd says:

    Great post- I love your dishes and your team approach to blogging. You definitely have my vote- it looks fun to be in your kitchen!

  66. Great post! I LOVE all of your fabulous step by step photos. I am not very good at that, so I can appriciate the skill involved. I voted ofr you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

  67. Elina says:

    LOVED this post. I’ve never considered making my own naan (I’ve made vindaloo before). I’m sure it’s worth it – any fresh-out of the oven bread is worth it. 🙂

  68. Elina says:

    PS – of course I voted for you 🙂

  69. Brandie says:

    Loved everything about this entry! I happily voted for you.

  70. A wonderful culinary adventure and the resulting dish is excellent! Voted!

  71. Hilarious! and delicious! There are very few dishes that don’t go better with a bottle of red and a food-loving friend or three!

    All the best, voted for you!
    Fiona

  72. Jeanne says:

    I just can’t resist naan, especially with garlic! The whole meal looks incredible, definitely earned my vote!

  73. Rachel says:

    Completely off topic, but it’s seriously amazing that you’re both such toothpicks when you cook such feasts!

  74. What a fun post! I had fun just looking at it! Felt like I was right there! The food pictures are great. What kind of camera are you ladies using?

  75. Seth says:

    6 years later, I’m here to tell ya that this is one bangup recipe. My wife and I loved it, and i like to think that we are vindaloo connoisseurs. I had to add quite a bit more heat to the mix though, so if you like it spicy, go ahead and double or triple the chili amount.

  76. Paul Mathew says:

    Fabulous Post. Love all of your photos.Nice Work.Keep it Up.

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