What most people know about Vindaloo is that it is hot! The dish Vindalho originated in Goa. It used to be made with pork as many inhabitants of Goa became Christian during the Portuguese Colonization. The meat was marinated in wine, garlic, and herbs and spices and was called “Carne em vinha de alhos”.
Today it is usually made with chicken or lamb. Due to the British Colonization of India, it has become a staple in our British kitchen, fondly called “Vindy”.
Food I remember but didn’t eat as a child
Sadly, my parents split up again, which I didn´t take well to. We moved to another pub, that of my aunt and uncle in the next town. It was much bigger. And I spent a year with my cousins. I am pretty sure I got on their nerves a lot, but it was a good time for me. There were fields behind the pub, where we would play with the haystacks. I also learned to ride a bike there.
My aunt and my mum were two of nine surviving children of eleven who had grown up on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. So, my mother´s cuisine was of course very much influenced by Indian spices. She had come to England in 1948 with her parents and brothers and sisters.
One of my first memories of Indian cooking is vindaloo chicken curry. I did not eat curries when I was eight. If the truth be known I was a really bad eater, I spent so much time sitting at the table because I didn´t want to eat, what was on my plate. I remember my mother having guests around the table, who were crying. I coudn´t work out why, and yet they kept on eating and praising my mum for her cooking. The curry was so hot that it bought tears to their eyes. This was of course the capsaicin in the chilli causing the tear glands to secret fluid to protect the eyes. Even though you are not actually burning when you eat chilli, your brain gets the same message.
It took a while before I started eating curries. But the smell of the spices when the flavours are released whilst frying in hot oil is something I remember well and love to do myself.
Mum married for the third time when I was 9. My step dad Ray was an avid gardener and he turned our terrace house back garden into a cook´s paradise. His onions were prizeworthy and he used to eat them like apples sometimes. Indian cooking uses a lot of onions, everything starts with onions, ginger and garlic. I didn´t like ginger in those days.
Food photo created by timolina – www.freepik.com