This Ingredient Will Take Your Chicken Vindaloo To The Next Level

A dish that genuinely fuses flavor and culture in harmony, chicken vindaloo is a traditional Indian curry dish influenced by the Portuguese, specifically the dish carne de vinha d'alhos, according to Saveur. The Eastern representation of vindaloo combines the use of tang and heat to bring the dish to life, and in fact, this source of heat is the very ingredient that can take your next chicken vindaloo to the next level.

Before breaking down this key ingredient, however, it may help to learn a little about the dish's past and how a Portuguese staple made its way over to India in the first place. Per, when Portuguese explorers made their way to Asia, they stored their meat in wine, vinegar, salt, and garlic. In addition to introducing India to this meat marinade, the Portuguese also brought over one of the most crucial ingredients for chicken vindaloo: chili pepper.

Fresh peppers can give vindaloo a flavor punch

While you may be surprised to learn that a vinegar marinade is not taking a front seat, our ingredient call-out is none other than the iconic fresh chili pepper. While dried red chili pepper flakes are a crucial ingredient for chicken vindaloo — specifically for the curry paste — you can elevate your dish even further by adding fresh peppers to your preparation.

If you want to add an extra heat kick, Chili Pepper Madness recommends trying to add serrano peppers to your next chicken vindaloo. This pepper, which rates as medium on the Scoville scale and comes in at 10,000–23,000 Scoville heat units, is (for context) the next step after jalapeños, according to PepperScale.

As for when to introduce the fresh peppers and take your chicken vindaloo to the next level, do so after the chicken's been coated with your marinade and chilled in the fridge. Per Chili Pepper Madness, once the chicken has had a chance to absorb the marinade fully, it's time to start cooking.

This stage is where the addition of fresh peppers plays a significant role in the dish. Instead of adding your marinated chicken to sautéed onions only, you'll be adding it to sautéed onions and peppers. You'll instantly notice a new fusion of spice, heat, and flavor as everything blends together in perfect vindaloo harmony.