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A term derived from the time of the Portuguese occupation of Goa, in western India. The correct spelling was vindalho, coming from the Portuguese 'vinho' - vinegar, and 'alhos' - garlic; which are statutory ingredients. There is some possibility that the vinegar element was originally wine, that had possibly slightly oxidized on its trip from the home country.
Although a great deal of poetic license is given to the word in British Indian restaurants - it seemingly just meaning extreme heat. Authentic vindaloo would traditionally be made with pork, and its flavour would be sharp, rather than possessing extreme heat.