Vegetable Vindaloo with Chickpeas

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Vegetable Vindaloo with Chickpeas

One of my favorite ways to dress up vegetables for an Indian meal is to cook them in a vindaloo sauce. Originating from the Goan region on the southwestern coast of India, vindaloo sauces are fragrant, hot and spicy, but tangy too through the addition of vinegar, tamarind or lemon juice, and are used not just for cooking or marinating vegetables and meat but also chickpeas or eggs.

A vegetable vindaloo is a simple, practical and delicious way to use up vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, peppers, beans, celery or carrots that are nearing the end of their shelf life in the crisper or pantry. And when you don't have the time or inclination to go to the trouble of making a separate entrée, adding buttery soft cooked chickpeas turns a vegetable side into a filling, nourishing and warming main dish without any extra bother.

Vegetable Vindaloo with Chickpeas

Any variety of mixed vegetables may be used in this recipe, but I suggest vegetables that add contrasts in texture and color. You could also add lightly fried chunks of paneer cheese to this dish as well. The sauce should be fairly thick but not too dry, and it is very well served with fresh cooked white basmati rice which helps to temper some of the spiciness. The number of chilies and hot spices in the sauce may also be adjusted according to how hot you want the dish.

Vegetable Vindaloo with ChickpeasVegetable Vindaloo with Chickpeas
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 5, 2020

Mixed fresh vegetables and chickpeas cooked in a fragrant, hot and tangy vindaloo sauce

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes

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Vindaloo paste:
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 black cardamon pods, slightly crushed
  • 3 to 5 whole red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or jaggery
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 1/2-inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame or olive oil
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water, or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 large shallot or small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
  • 4 1/2 cups mixed vegetables such as cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, eggplant, carrots, celery
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup water + more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (1 14 oz can or 1/2 cup dried)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
  • Begin by making the vindaloo paste. In a small food processor or spice grinder, pulse together the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods and dried chilies until reduced to a fairly coarse powder. Add the turmeric, paprika, cayenne, sugar or jaggery, garlic, ginger, vinegar, tamarind paste and olive oil and a few tablespoons of water. Blend until you have a smooth and fairly thick paste, adding more water as necessary. Set aside.

  • For the vegetables, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fenugreek leaves, and cook until the seeds begin to splutter and pop — about 30 to 60 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot or onion, and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Toss in the chilies asafetida if using, and stir for another minute. Stir in the vindaloo paste, and cook for another minute.

  • Add the mixed vegetables to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or until thickened. Pour in the water, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are just tender. Stir in the chickpeas, and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the frozen peas and balsamic vinegar, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover. and cook for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. Again, add a bit more water if the mixture seems too dry.

  • Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and salt, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.

  • Note: As an assortment of vegetables are used in this dish, I prefer to add those vegetables that take longer to cook — such as potatoes, carrots, celery and cauliflower — a little earlier than the rest.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Other Indian vegetable dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry)
Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas - A Twist on a Classic
Curried Indian Vegetable Soup
Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce

Audio accompaniment: Robert Fripp - Music For Quiet Moments 23 - Elegy Pt2 (Rome 20 Jun 2006)

On the top of the reading stack: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke

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