Vin D’ Blue

Greetings, hot things. This week, I’m back for another fiery twist on a traditional recipe but, this time, the traditional recipe is my own. My vin d’ aloo. I’m returning to that recipe, and to Exban’s place, to put a newer, bluer twist on it, using this sauce:

2018-08-23 15.22.20

Bravado Spice Co’s Ghost Pepper and Blueberry.

Why? Because the two are a perfect match. A sauce that’s full of dark berry tanins and pepper but has a tad too much vinegar tang, and a curry that wants more fire and a wine-like flavour but previously wasn’t the most religiously appropriate of dishes.

The sauce gives the curry all the depth and slight fruitiness that it needs without actual alcohol, while the curry gives the sauce a highly spiced base to tone down its unpleasant acidity.

All that’s left is to swap from pork to a more halal meat in lamb.

I will mention, though, just to be completely upfront and clear with you all, that this dish will still be only debatably halal. The vinegar in our sauce comes from white wine and, while it has been fermented to a point where it no longer has any chance of affecting one’s sobriety, some muslims may still be upset by the idea of alcohol byproducts in their food.

I’m sorry to say that makers and eaters of this recipe will have to assess the situation themselves and make their own decision as to whether my recipe matches their beliefs. All I can say for sure is that making vin d’ aloo with wine vinegar, rather than wine, has a historic and religious precedent behind it and that the added berries in this sauce make for a far more accurate flavour substitution than simply using such a vinegar alone.

It’s not going to be the same as our previous dish, of course, since this vinegary sauce adds rather more heat and tang, but it’s still going to be a fiery-flavoured, garlic and ginger-heavy, goan delight full of red meat, rich berry undertones and soothing spuds. A proper vindaloo, despite the extra acid.

You will need:


600g lamb (I used 800g lamb chop and removed the bone)

300g potato

40g ginger

2 standard onions

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

6 cloves garlic

6 cloves

1 large blade of mace

4 tablespoons Bravado Spice Co Ghost Pepper & Blueberry Sauce

And, once again, a simple spice or coffee grinder in which to blend your spices with the fresh garlic and ginger. Unless you’re making a further substitution and using their pre-minced forms, as I suggested when I made my previous version.

Either way, you’ll see that I’ve cut the salt, black pepper and chilli to compliment my current change from wine to sauce, since there’s already enough salt, pepper and punch in that



looker of a bottle.

Ghost pepper does feel and taste a tad different to kashmiri mirchi but it’s still deep and red and ready to tingle the tip of your tongue while it sets your throat ablaze. It’s a fitting flavour for this dish and the burn that comes along with it only serves to bring my rendition closer to the vindaloo that most people will know.

This one’s a high



when all is said and done, and I’m honestly quite surprised. I didn’t think the curry would take up Bravado’s sauce so readily. The only aspect that doesn’t shine through in the finished dish is the colour.


The spices, once the sauce, garlic and ginger have been blended with them, do colour the lamb but they colour it orange, not purple. The same colour that I got from the boozier version.

It is, however, worth noting that the blending process was a little less messy this time around because, thin as it is, the blueberry sauce still isn’t quite as thin as straight up fermented grape juice. It doesn’t go everywhere like the wine would if I wasn’t super careful. I’m very pleased about that.

And it’s also worth mentioning that I’ve cubed the lamb early, this time. Chopping it up into roughly five centimetre squares before its hour in the fridge, to get an even better infusion of flavour.

But that’s the only change. I still blended together the wet and the dry flavours, the spicy and the spices, and used half of the resulting paste to marinate the meat. And I still held back a teaspoon of the mustard seeds to test the oil temperature.

Plus, I still used some of the marination time to chop my onions and potatoes.

When the lamb came out of the fridge, I began cooking the same way, too. I placed that last spoonful of mustard seeds into my pan with about a tablespoon’s worth of oil, waiting for them start popping rapidly before chucking in the remaining spices.

They only took two or three minutes, from there, to toast but, once again, they needed thorough stirring all through that time. It’s pretty easy for the paste to stick and burn and, now that we’ve got ghost pepper in the mix, that’s less desirable than ever.

But, if you can get through those few minutes, you’re golden and so will be the spices. Nice and rich and orangey, golden brown.

So, with them fried up to our satisfaction, we neither need nor particularly want them to cook much further. We can add a slight drizzle of water as we add our onions so that we don’t have to worry any more. And, from there, the rest of the recipe is pretty easy.

As the onions start to turn translucent, the cubed meat can finally join the contents of the pan and fry, at a slightly reduced temperature, for ten minutes, until any pink tones have left it.

Then in go the potatoes, along with enough water to roughly half-cover them. Bring it to the boil and keep simmering for thirty to forty minutes and the spuds should soften up nicely, even if you do need to stir occasionally to ensure that their cooking is even.

And finally, all that remains is to serve up your (now rather less liquid) dish and enjoy.


It makes three rather hearty, filling portions to either share among your chilli-loving friends and family or simply freeze for whenever you need them. They are, after all, just as good heated through at a later date.

Today’s version is maybe just a little greener than my last vindaloo but, as I mentioned upfront, there’s little change in taste, beyond the added tang. It doesn’t really taste of blueberry, so much as it carries a wine-like undercurrent of aged, dark berries for the spices to build upon, and what little change there has been to its appearance is at least as much from the lack of kashmiri mirchi as from anything that I’ve added.

It’s very much the same garlic-heavy, fiery flavoured and unique curry that it was before, only now with more fire, a different meat and a bit of extra acidity. And it’s just as enjoyable as it was back then, too.

Just, if you really want to taste the fruit, you might want to break in some extra, fresh berries when you add the potatoes.

One thought on “Vin D’ Blue

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