This is my first post, so please be gentle.

I am cooking chicken Vindaloo and I'm trying to get a bit creative. I have never heard of adding wine to vindaloo, however, I know that I like it in soups and stews. What would be the effect of adding 1/2-1 cup of red wine, and would the effect change if I added white wine instead?

Thanks for your input!

Recipe edit: The recipe was about 2 cups vindaloo paste simmered in coconut cream. I sauteed the chicken once I started seeing some red streaks of separating oil in the vindaloo/coconut cream mixture. Once the chicken (3 breasts cubed) was cooked on the surface, I added the mix to a slow cooker set to high. I then took the same pan and seared some small russet potatoes (silver dollar sized at most) cut longways in canola oil. Once the cut ends were a touch brown and crispy, I added them to the mix, as well as with whole mushrooms. I then thinned the mixture with the rest of the can of Coconut milk, as well as about 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock. After about 2-3 hours of slow cooking, I did end up adding a 1/4 cup Marsala wine. It came out very tasty.

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    I can't speak to the effect on vindaloo specifically, but the general reason for adding a little alcohol to a dish (beyond the flavor of the alcohol) is because certain flavor compounds dissolve better in alcohol than water or fat. This is why many people add vodka to tomato sauce or deglaze with wine: alcohol is a solvent, and you'll get certain flavor compounds dissolved and brought out in the dish that you can't get any other way. If I were you, I'd start with a small quantity and see if you like the effects.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 1:39
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    Welcome to the site! Could you please give us a rough description of your Vindaloo? It's always a good idea to include the specific recipe if you are asking for improvements or effects of certain changes. (Was that gentle enough ;-))
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 8:41
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    I understand that the 'vin' in vindaloo actually refers to wine. Something to do with the Portuguese influence. I have seen vindaloo recipes which call for some vinegar rather than wine, but why not? Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 14:00
  • Wow, thanks everyone for your comments! Stephie, thanks for going gentle on me. See above for an update to the "recipe". More like me throwing things into a pot and hoping they work. :P Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 15:53
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    From wiki: The name "vindaloo" is derived from the Portuguese dish "carne de vinha d'alhos," a dish of meat, usually pork marinated in wine and garlic.[2] The Portuguese dish was modified by the substitution of vinegar (usually palm vinegar) for the red wine and the addition of red Kashmiri chillies with additional spices to evolve into Vindaloo.[3]
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


Ah, wine. "I love cooking with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food."

Anywho, your experiment shows that the short answer is "it'll probably come out quite nice". Most of these things have been said in the comments, but here's a recap:

  • Alcohol is a solvent, and so wine will presumably help eke out flavours from the spice solids to the liquid. (Much like you can make e.g. vanilla extract with vodka.)
  • Wine is also acidic, and acid is a general flavour enhancer (a bit like salt).
  • Wines contain varying amounts of residual sugar (ranging all the way from "almost nothing" to "syrup") which also is a flavour enhancer.
  • Vindaloo is based on a Portuguese dish prominently featuring white wine and garlic, so why shouldn't it work?

As for red wine, drinking a highly tannic wine with chili-hot food increases the perceived heat, but on the other hand, I can't say I ever really feel the tannins in cooked red wine and my experiences with using red wine in spicy food have been rather positive.


The wine will soften the meat, and will increase the floral qualities of the dish. When I make beef stew, Red Wine (usually cab sav) is the only liquid (meaning it replaces water) added. For chicken, you could replace any water or broth with white wine. I'd go with a Sav Blanc since it has a nice crispy tartness to it that would translate the chicken into something very delicious.

If your dish calls for 2 and a half cups of water or chicken broth, replace all or some of it with the wine...Don't add wine in addition to the water, or you'll make a soupy mess.

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