Vindaloo, Phal and Tindaloo Curries – Bring On the Hot Curries

Pork Vindaloo Curry (Shikar Vindaloo)

National Curry Week is here again to inspire British curry lovers to try new dishes and restaurants. And maybe inspire us to make out own curries.

And the week has inspired a Glasgow curry house to create a spicy hot phal (or phaal or phall) curry for its customers to enjoy.

As you would expect, this news got the Curry Focus Team talking about spicy curries, bringing back memories of hot curries washed down with plentiful supplies of beer. The fact that beer does not cool down a hot curry was conveniently overlooked (the “How to Cool Down a Curry” blog describes how to take care of a curry that is too spicy).

So which curry is hottest? The vindaloo, phal or tindaloo? We all agreed that the vindaloo was the least hot out of the three types of curry, even though a vindaloo is usually a hot curry. But nobody could say for sure whether the phal or tindaloo was the hottest. None of us in the office had ever eaten a tindaloo curry.

A few years ago we wrote a blog called “What is a Tindaloo Curry?” where this topic was discussed. The general consensus was that a tindaloo is probably hotter than a phal simply because we’ve never seen a tindaloo curry on a curry house menu. A phal curry on a menu is pretty rare but nobody could recall seeing a tindaloo even being offered.

Over the years we have received emails asking about vindaloo and phal curries. A lot of the emails are in the style of “What is a vindaloo curry?” or “What is a phal curry?” Well, they are curries. The heat in vindaloo, phal and tindaloo curries comes from chillies, either in the form of chilli powder or fresh chillies (or both). A couple of years ago we wrote a blog about chillies and curry, called “Chilli and Curry“. But a curry is more than just heat (a lot of curries have mild or medium heat levels). For a start, a vindaloo has vinegar in it. And most curries have a main ingredient such as meat (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, goat, fish etc.) or vegetables (sometimes meat and vegetables).

So how do you make a vindaloo curry, phal curry or tindaloo curry? About the only way we know of doing this is to follow a recipe. You are following a recipe even if you are making a curry from memory. There are some vindaloo curry recipes and a few phal curry recipes on the Curry Focus website that are easy to follow and make really good curries. We do not have a tindaloo curry recipe yet – if you have one then you can email it to us and we will publish it on the website.

None of the ingredients for the recipes are hard to find. You might have a bit of a problem if a recipe asks for a specific type of chilli. If this happens, and you cannot find the specified chilli, you can just substitute another chilli – you might have to adjust the number of chillies that you put into the curry but experimenting when cooking is fun.

Take care when trying out a new hot curry recipe. It is no good making a curry that is too hot for you to eat. Better to hold back on the heat a little the first time round to make sure that you end up with a yummy curry.

You can read about the Glasgow phal curry here.

Pork Vindaloo Curry (Shikar Vindaloo)

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