Lamb Vindaloo

Vindaloo is a curry dish originating in the Goa region of West India. It is actually the Indian interpretation of the Portuguese dish Carne de Vinha D’Alhos (Meat with Wine and Garlic), borrowed from the Portuguese colony in Goa. The original dish is seasoned with vinegar, and that slightly sour taste remains in most Indian interpretations today.

While you’ll find potatoes in Vindaloos at many Indian restaurants worldwide, Vindaloo purists will argue that the dish shouldn’t have potatoes; what’s interesting is that the original Portuguese dish does indeed feature potatoes. So they were lost at some point, only to find their way back again. The Indian dish does stray from its source, though: Carne de Vinha D’Alhos is usually made with pork, and the Vindaloos you’ll find in Indian restaurants is most often made with lamb. Likewise, the Indian dish is moderately spicy, unlike its Portuguese counterpart. For this recipe, I kept the heat fairly mild; to spice it up, simply add more chili powder.

After such a warm reception to my pressure-cooker Instant Stew recipe from a couple weeks ago, I decided to make this dish using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker as well. For those of you without a pressure cooker, fear not: stovetop instructions are included. At its essence, the recipes are the same; the pressure cooker just cuts down the cooking time considerably.

Toasting the mustard and cumin seeds will give this dish an authentic taste.

Lamb Vindaloo

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (yellow mustard seeds okay)
1/2 onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic
1″ ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into chunks

Curry Sauce:
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 green cardamom pod
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder (cayenne pepper okay)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp white pepper

2 tbsp ghee
1 lb waxy potatoes (red, yukon, etc), quartered
1 handful cilantro, chopped

1. In a small pan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds over medium heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Combine the seeds with the remaining marinade ingredients (minus the lamb!) and blend until smooth (I use our Magic Bullet). Combine the lamb and marinade and transfer to a resealable plastic bag; marinate for at least 2 hours but up to overnight.

2. Drain the lamb in a colander, catching the marinade as it falls. Combine the extra marinade with the curry sauce ingredients and set aside.

3. Electric pressure cooker instructions: Set the pressure cooker to “Sauté” and add the ghee; once melted and shimmering (about 2 minutes), add half of the lamb pieces. Sauté until browned, about 6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Remove the lamb and cook the other batch in the same manner, then set aside with the other half of the lamb. Add the marinade/curry sauce mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer; stir in the potatoes and lamb, cover, and set to “Meat/Stew” (high pressure) for 20 minutes. Once finished, allow the pressure cooker to depressurize (about 15 minutes) then remove the lid. Gently remove the lamb and potatoes and set aside; set the pressure cooker to “Sauté” again and bring to a boil; reduce the liquid by half. Return the lamb and potatoes to the curry and stir in the cilantro, then serve.

4. Stovetop instructions: In a dutch oven, warm the ghee over medium/high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the lamb, in batches if needed, and sauté until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Set the lamb aside and reduce heat to medium. Add the marinade/curry sauce mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer; stir in the lamb. Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer until just tender, 1-2 hours, then add the potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes. Gently remove the lamb and potatoes and set aside; increase heat to medium and bring to a boil; reduce the liquid by half. Return the lamb and potatoes to the curry and stir in the cilantro, then serve.

The shoulder chops I used for this recipe had bones in them; I added the bony chunks to the pressure cooker and easily picked the meat off when done cooking. It’s a win-win, since the bones added a greater depth of flavor along the way.

33 thoughts on “Lamb Vindaloo

  1. I’m not a big fan of curry but am a big fan of you posting instant pot recipes! More please and consider an entire cookbook as the one that comes with the Instant Pot isn’t very good.


    1. Thanks Anjana, glad you like the recipe! You’re right that many recipes don’t call for grinding the seeds; I got the idea from Julie Sahni’s “Classic Indian Cooking”, one of my favorite Indian cooking references, although she crushes them in a mortar and pestle instead of a Magic Bullet :)


  2. Hi Russ,
    Saw your blog and the recipe. Have you tried making it with goat? it comes out great and goat is a leaner meat. Note that in India mutton mostly refers to goat and not lamb.


  3. Great recipe! I’m loving my Instant Pot so far, and I’m really impressed at how much legit cooking I can do with it. I decided to try this with lamb shanks (2 shanks @ 3lbs total), and with 45 minutes of cook time instead of 20 they turned out beautifully. I also added some chopped carrots and beets at the saute phase, which I know isn’t traditional, but it added a nice earthy sweetness, and the deep red color from the beets really enhanced the presentation. BTW we skipped the potatoes and served it on cauliflower rice to make it Whole 30 friendly. Thanks for the inspiration!


  4. I made the marinade last night and it’s in the fridge to be cooked in the Instant Pot tonight. My marinade was almost a paste though — I had to add a little bit of water just to get it out of the Magic Bullet. Is this right? I can’t imagine there being much of anything when I “drain” it over a colander.


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