Monday 30 November 2020

There is nothing like the heat of a vindaloo to take you straight to the beaches of Goa. One of my favourite memories of Goa is heading down there with all my friends and eating deliciously spicy food right on the beach. The heat of the food, with spiced rum and port wines that Goa is known for, along with the cool breezes off the beaches were always a sensation to be savoured. Vindaloo is probably one of the more popular Indian dishes known in the West, but it can also be one of the more misunderstood ones. In the West, a vindaloo is pretty much known for straight heat and spice, but in truth, a vindaloo is probably one of the most nuanced Indian dishes that I know of. 


Of Portuguese - Goan origin, just like me, I like to joke, a vindaloo is an Indian adaptation of the classic Portuguese 'Carne de Vinha d' Alhos' (meat with wine and garlic), and known as a traveller's dish. Traditionally made with pork, it has been adapted to be made with pretty much all kinds of meats. When Canadian Turkey (check out more of their fantastic recipes here) gave me the brief for this post, South Asian flavours, I knew almost immediately that I'd be making a turkey vindaloo. Turkey, after all, is a meat that absorbs flavours perfectly, and is just the right texture for this dish. 


What I love about turkey for this particular recipe, is it's versatility. For example, I have used turkey breast fillet in this recipe, but it is actually amazing with turkey thighs, or even turkey stir-fried strips. Turkey is lean and nutrient-rich, which is excellent for me right now, seeing as I have put on a few pounds (my Covid curve is definitely not flat, let me tell you that!), and we are all trying to eat a lot healthier here as a family.  It works well for batch cooking, and in terms of value for money. I recently started a new job, and have been trying to rely less on pizza and takeout and make fresh healthy meals for the family. This recipe, for example, is perfect for bulk cooking and freezing, and when you're strapped for time, it is worth every penny.


To add a fusion element to this classic dish, I decided to make a pulled turkey vindaloo, a deliciously comforting fall dish, piled on soft rolls with a calming yogurt sauce on the side. This recipe is actually a bit of a combination of a traditional Goan vindaloo, and a Mangalorean indad. I didn't want too much of the sharp vinegar flavour - rather a spicy, tangy taste with a hint of sweet, and a warm hint of boozy rum flavour at the end. The rum is taken more from the indad, as it was used as a preservative for making meats for travellers. For me, it is a rather comforting taste of home. 


Pulled Turkey Vindaloo

Spice Mix and Marinade:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

8 – 10 dried mild long red Kashmiri chilies

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

1 – 2 sticks cassia bark or cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon or to taste, salt

500g turkey breast filet or turkey thighs



1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 inch piece of ginger chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed
50 ml of turkey stock + an extra 1/2 cup turkey stock or water
1 tablespoon dark rum
Salt and sugar to taste


Yogurt sauce:

¼ cup plain yogurt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste


To serve:

Dinner rolls or hamburger buns



In a heavy pan, dry roast the chillies, cumin, pepper, cinnamon and cloves, one by one, for about 30 second to a minute, until fragrant. Blend until finely powdered.


Place the turkey breast in a bowl. Add half of the spice mix (the remainder can be stored in an airtight container for future use), the vinegar and salt and rub well. Marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.


Place the oil in a pan. Fry the onion for a few minutes until the raw smell has disappeared and the onions are very lightly toasted. Add the ginger and garlic, and fry for another minute. Remove to a blender, add the turkey stock and process to a fine paste. Keep aside.


Place the onion mixture in a pot, and add the turkey and marinade. Fry for a few minutes until the turkey is sealed, then turn the heat down low, and cook for about an hour, adding more turkey stock, if necessary. When the turkey is just falling apart when pierced by a fork, gently pull out the turkey, and shred it.


Add the rum to the sauce along with a splash of red wine vinegar, and cook down until reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and a teaspoon of sugar, until the sauce is spicy,  and tangy, with a hint of sweetness. Pour over the turkey and gently mix together until the turkey is coated with the sauce.


To make the yogurt sauce, whisk the yogurt with the cumin and lemon juice, then season to taste with the salt.


Serve the turkey piled on rolls, topped with the yogurt sauce. 



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with Canadian Turkey. The recipe and stories are all mine, as you’d expect from this website. 






  1. what vegetable would you recommend serving with this?

    1. Tomatoes, cucumber, salad. Anything fresh and burger like. Pickles would also be delicious.

  2. Well, that's really cheered me up on a cold, grey December day. I love this and I especially love that addition of rum. So many people I know tell me that they don't like rum and that they only eat turkey at Christmas when they're forced to. They really don't know what they're missing.


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