Vindaloo Spice Mix

This Goan-inspired spice blend adds just the right amount of heat while bringing out the flavors from the freshly roasted and ground spices. This is a simple blend using basic whole spices to get the bold flavors of Vindaloo.

There really is nothing like a freshly homemade spice blend. Toasting spices intensifies their flavors and releases the most delicious aromas. The intoxicating perfume from the hot pan is enough to whet your appetite for the meal to come!

vindaloo spice mix in a bowl along side whole spices

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For spice blend beginners, these are spices sure to be well-used in your kitchen. No need to worry about investing in too many new spices that might sit on the shelf.

Cumin, coriander, peppercorns, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and Kashmiri red chilies make up this aromatic and balanced vindaloo spice blend. As the base of the marinade, these spices have time to penetrate and season the meat adding layers of complex flavor to the Vindaloo.

Though Vindaloo is often thought of as an extra hot and spicy dish, I prefer to moderate the heat, similar to the Goan version. Kashmiri Red Chilies lend a mild but up-front heat and that classic fiery red color–without overtaking the beautiful flavors beneath. A pinch of cayenne at the end will up the spiciness to suit your taste.

Herbs and spices have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes, even dating back to ancient civilizations. Many spices, like the ones used here, contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. 

Spices have been used not only in cooking for flavoring and preserving but also in healing poultices and teas. Besides adding delicious complexity to food, spices can have a range of benefits from aiding in digestion to easing lung congestion, lowering blood pressure, and boosting the immune system. 

There are so many fascinating resources available on incorporating spices into a healthy diet for further exploration! 

whole spices in spoons along side dried red chilies

Ingredients

Here is a brief description of spices used in this signature Vindaloo Blend:

Cumin / Jeera – An essential ingredient in Indian cooking, cumin adds nutty, warm flavors and dimension to countless dishes. Not to mention that signature aroma! Whole cumin seeds can be added to tempering, while roasted and ground cumin is great for adding later in the cooking process.

Coriander Seeds / Dhania – This versatile spice has a hint of citrus and adds earthy notes to Malabar curry, vindaloo, sambar, and rasam dishes. The whole seeds are lightly toasted and then ground with other spices for several popular spice blends. Ground coriander is popular because it adds texture to dishes and can be tasted with each bite. Coriander is often paired with cumin for just the right balance of earthiness. 

Black Peppercorns / Kali Mirch – These berries which grow on climbing vines are native to southern India. The unripe green berries are harvested when they ripen and turn red and are then dried to what we commonly see in the grocery stores. Black peppercorns impart intense aroma, depth, and heat to foods. If you haven’t tried toasting and grinding peppercorns at home, you are in for a treat when you taste the difference!

Green Cardamom Pods / Elaichi –  A sweet and aromatic spice that is a critical spice for curries and pulao. I like roasting and grinding whole green pods for additional flavor and it also saves time from having to take the seeds out. Green cardamom is also a lovely addition to desserts adding earthy complexity and pairs so well with rose, pistachio, saffron, and cinnamon.

Cinnamon / Dalchini –  Cassia Bark that is grown in India is the traditional cinnamon used in Indian cooking and is similar to cinnamon sticks. It adds earthy flavors to meat and curries and is essential in making spice blends. Many times I use the easier-to-find cinnamon sticks in recipes, but if you do purchase cassia bark, it can be substituted. Cinnamon is so versatile adding depth to countless savory and sweet dishes….and teas!

Cloves / Laung – These flower buds are harvested from the evergreen clove tree. They lend a slightly sweet yet pungent and distinct aroma to Indian cuisine. Once again, so lovely in desserts, especially when paired with ginger, but a little goes a long way.

Dried Kashmiri red Chilies / Sukhi Lal Kashmiri Mirch – Although there are many kinds of dry red chilies used in Indian cuisine, I prefer mild Kashmiri red chile, which has a brilliant red hue that adds natural food coloring and smoky flavor. When substituting other chiles for Kashmiri red chiles be mindful of the heat level.

Substitutes

I like to use mild Kashmiri chilies that add a vibrant red hue to the dish without adding excess heat. If you love more heat, you can replace Kashmiri chilies with spicer red chili or add cayenne pepper

How to make homemade Vindaloo Spice Blend

  • Measure all of the dry spices and de-stem the dried red chilies.
  • Add all the spices to a frying pan and lightly toast until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the spices to a plate and let cool completely.
  • Grind the spices in a spice grinder to make a fine powder.
photos one through four showing hot to roast and grind spices

Storing Vindaloo Spice Mix

Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for up to 6 months.

Did you enjoy making this homemade spice mix? Here are some more quick and easy spice blends for Indian cooking:

Once you have the spice mix ready, making a vindaloo curry is super simple! Add White wine vinegar, fresh garlic, and ginger, and your choice of protein or vegetable for the incredible and unmistakable flavors of the Goan Vindaloo curry.

On the blog, I have the recipe for delicious Chicken Vindaloo and my The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook includes the lamb Vindaloo curry recipe. You can easily substitute the meat for Paneer, tofu, or hardy veggies potatoes, and cauliflower.

Recipe

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vindaloo spice blend

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Vindaloo Spice Mix

Quick and EASY Goan-inspired spice mix using basic whole spices to make the best tasting homemade Vindaloo Curry.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time5 mins

Cooling Time5 mins

Total Time15 mins

Course: Cooking101

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 0.25 cup

Calories: 298kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all the spices to a frying pan and lightly toast until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Transfer the spices to a plate and let cool completely.

  • Grind the spices in a spice grinder to make a fine powder.

  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Notes

Mild Kashmiri chilies add a vibrant red hue to the dish without adding excess heat. If you love more heat, you can replace Kashmiri chilies with spicer red chili or add cayenne pepper

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 1302mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4502IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 488mg | Iron: 20mg

Author: Archana

Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.

Source: Ministry of Curry

By AlJazeera