Vindaloo vs. Curry: Differences & Which Is Better?

Vindaloo vs. Curry

One of purely Indian origin and the other Indian-appropriated, Vindaloo and Curry have grown to become known worldwide as playful, colorful, and spicy delights. Even though one is a dish, and the other one is more of a style, they are very similar and, therefore, comparable. Many think Vindaloo and Curry are the same, but there are some crucial differences between them. So what are the differences between Vindaloo and Curry? 

Vindaloo is an appropriate Indian dish, while Curry is a purely Indian cooking style containing curry spices. Vindaloo is a meaty dish, while Curry can be meaty and vegetarian. Vindaloo contains lots of garlic, which isn’t a traditional part of curry cooking. 

Vindaloo and Curry are similar, and if you aren’t experienced in Indian food and cooking styles, you may mistake one for the other as they contain many similar elements. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss the differences between Curry and Vindaloo and which is better. 

Vindaloo vs. Curry: Differences

Vindaloo and Curry differ in some parameters, such as taste, texture, composition, and origin. Although similar in appearance and taste, they have some substantial differences separating them into two different categories. 

Origin

While the Curry is a native Indian cooking style, Vindaloo is of Portuguese origin and was introduced to Indian cuisine during colonization in the 1600s by the Portuguese explorers. 

The name of the dish- “vindaloo,” is actually an abbreviated and easy-to-pronounce form of the original Portuguese name, “Carne de vinha d’alhos” which means “meat in a garlic marinade.” Therefore, it is strictly a meaty dish. 

The Portuguese explorers had meat, mostly pork, marinated in garlic and wine to hold them for the long exploratory travels, and the marinade made the meat last longer. So, when they arrived in Goa, they introduced the original dish to the locals, which they adapted to their own tastes and cooking styles. 

On the other hand, Curry is a native Indian cooking style involving lots of vegetables and spices and rice as compulsory elements. Curry is a tradition and a native Indian gravy added to many dishes rather than a dish in itself

Vindaloo vs. Curry

When you hear the word Curry, you probably think of the curry powder, which originated around the 18th century when the curry style became known in Europe. It also became an excellent trading opportunity. 

The word “curry” comes from the Tamil word “Kari,” which means sauce or gravy, indicating that Curry isn’t just a dry spice powder but an entire way of cooking. There are many curry variations and both vegetarian and meaty versions. 

RELATED: Tikka Masala vs. Curry: Differences & Which Is Better? 

Initially, the Curry was very spicy but not hot. The chili peppers now widely used in curries were introduced in the 18th century by the Portuguese as a way to make the Curry more appealing to the Europeans. 

Taste 

The Vindaloo is a strong-flavored dish with an expressive garlic note since garlic is one of the main ingredients in the meat marinade. While the marinade base was originally wine, with time, the vindaloo recipe started using vinegar as a marinade, so, today, the first thing you notice in the vindaloo taste is its acidity. 

The expressive acidity, intense garlic flavor, and aroma make Vindaloo a potent dish. Some would argue that Vindaloo can also be a vegetarian dish, but the name suggests that there should be meat, as the meat marinade makes this dish unique. 

Vindaloo has a noticeable Indian cuisine whiff, so you will undoubtedly recognize the Indian influence in this dish. It is also very creamy, as it’s soft and smooth gravy. 

On the other hand, Curry is a full Indian style, and although it isn’t a dish in itself, but more of a gravy that can be added to other dishes, it has a very recognizable flavor and aroma. Unlike the Vindaloo, the Curry is much greasier because it requires substantial oil to homogenize the ingredients. 

Curry can come in a vegetarian and meaty form, and its signature ingredient is rice. 

Unlike Vindaloo, which is a single dish, Curry has several variations, varying in spiciness, hotness, and intensity. 

Texture 

In terms of texture, Vindaloo is richer and more versatile, combining meat, vegetables, lentil, and chickpeas, so we definitely have a wide range of textures in this dish. You can find creamy, solid, and grainy ingredients in a single dish, making Vindaloo so delightfully playful. 

Curry is not as rich in texture as Vindaloo, but it isn’t to be underestimated in any way. The creamy and grainy texture of the Curry is definitely an intense competition for the Vindaloo. However, the Curry is not as creamy and rich as the Vindaloo due to the substantial amount of oil used, as opposed to the Vindaloo, which uses coconut milk.

Vindaloo vs. Curry

Structure

Vindaloo and Curry also differ in composition and structure as they are made with different ingredients. While they share the vegetables, the lentil and chickpeas are typical for the Vindaloo, and the rice is specific for the Curry. 

In addition, Curry may be vegetarian or meaty, while Vindaloo contains mean pork or beef. When Curry is made with meat, it is most often chicken, which doesn’t exclude the other types of meat.

Vindaloo vs. Curry: Which Is Better?

Vindaloo is a dish, while Curry is a style, a sauce, and to say that one is better isn’t accurate as they are different in many ways. 

It depends on what you like and prefers and which one is better for you, rather than superior in general. Overall, Curry is milder than Vindaloo, so if you like gentler tastes with some edge, you should definitely choose Curry. 

If you are a fan of contrasting flavors combined on a single plate, mixing sour, salty, spicy, acidic, and hot, then Vindaloo should definitely be your choice. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!