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Spurred on by a Vindaloo recipe given to me by my cousin who recently visited us, I modified the recipe to create a dry blend for a quick and painless Vindaloo! It has similar hot and spicy flavors that culminate into one single burst that makes you cry for more!

Vindaloo, as I found out from the extensive literature available on the web, is a Portuguese dish that was brought into India when Portuguese people settled there for a while. Vinho is wine or vinegar and Alhos means garlic, the two main ingredients of this dish. India, abounding with spices eventually recreated the Vindaloo with a delectable yet simple combination of spices and red chili peppers in addition to the original vinegar, garlic and sugar.

Usually, preparing a classic recipe in a regular work- and chaos-driven kitchen of today means carefully looking for the spices first at the store, then at home, making sure that you add them in correct measures and finally building together the ingredients for a final applause! So, I decided to make a Vindaloo Spice Blend that I could use without much ado, whenever a hankering struck for that typical tangy, sweet and hot flavor.

I have tried this with lamb and chicken. It was particularly satisfying to make and share with the awesome audience that was present for my cooking demonstration at the Maple Avenue Market. It was raining outside and it was a tad chilly as well, and here we were in front of a simple stovetop making sizzling hot Vindaloo together! Instead of meat, we used some wonderfully fresh and local eggplants and freshly dug up organic potatoes.

The recipe for Eggplant Vindaloo is simple, easy, quick to prepare and serves about 4-5 people.

Ingredients

Eggplants: 4 small (you could use 0.5 lb of lamb, chicken or pork in addition to or instead)

Onions: 1 medium-sized or half a large one (yellow, white or red)

Potatoes: 1 or 2 with the skin on (washed and scrubbed thoroughly)

Garlic: 4 cloves

Fresh ginger: 1/2 inch piece, with or without the skin (washed and scrubbed)

Tomatoes: 3 ripe

A pinch of Turmeric if using meat instead

Salt

Sugar

Olive oil or any other oil that you regularly use in your kitchen

White vinegar, white wine Vinegar or malt Vinegar

Vindaloo Spice Blend

Directions

Finely chop the onion. Heat some oil (about 4 tablespoons) in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the onions when you see a pattern along the edges of the oil in the pan. Saute for a few minutes. While they develop a golden hue, chop the eggplants and potatoes into chunks. Add these to the onions and stir them in, allowing them to become golden in color as well. Grate or crush the garlic and ginger and add to the pan. Stir.

Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes soften and meld into the veggies. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of the Vindaloo Spice Blend to the above and about 4 tablespoons of Vinegar. Add half a cup of water, stir and allow to simmer gently until the veggies are cooked through.

Add more of the spice blend if you add meat to the veggies. Turn off the heat and let the Spicy Vindaloo turn on its heat when you serve with steamed rice, chappatis or bread. Store in the refrigerator and eat it later, as the flavors will intensify.