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Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe

You know the "Indian food is so spicy!" exclamations you often get from people? Well, this Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe is definitely one of those dishes.

Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe
If you're a fan of spicy food, you're going to love this Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
Print Recipe

Vindaloo is a Portuguese dish brought to India by sailors. Indians in the region of Goa took this recipe and made it their own, turning vindaloo into a globally popular dish. It is now a staple in Indian restaurants everywhere, especially in British-Indian curry houses. Notoriously spicy, this is not a curry for timid palates.

Fiery, indeed, lamb vindaloo is one of my favorite Indian dishes. I’ve had it in restaurants, and in both jarred and frozen-dinner form. Though my eyes might water and my nose might run, I find the flavor is so addictive that I can’t stop eating it. I think it tastes just as good with elk as it does lamb.

For those wanting to try this elk venison vindaloo recipe, but not so sure about the heat factor, swap out the dried Indian red chilies for dried Mexican guajillo chilies. Guajillos will still give you good color and flavor, but little heat. If you don't live near an Asian or Indian grocery store, Amazon should have all these ingredients below.

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 5-8 hours
Cook time: 2 hours


  • 2 pounds elk stew meat, silver skin left on
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (or oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water, plus extra
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Cooked long grain white rice
Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe
Ghee, Indian red chilies, black mustard seeds, and fenugreek leaves can be found at your local Asian or Indian grocery store, or on (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Vindaloo Marinade:

  • 10 dried Indian red chilies (or 7 dried Mexican guajillo chilies)*
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon, about 4-5 inches (or ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (or 2 whole pods)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup rice cooking wine
  • ½ cup boiling water

*Indian red chilies are the traditional chilies to use in vindaloo, but they are VERY spicy. For a mild alternative, use dried Mexican guajillo chilies.


  1. To make the vindaloo marinade, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and allow them to steep in the hot water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your elk stew meat into medium-size cubes and toss with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

    Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe
    Leave the silver skin on when cubing your elk venison stew meat. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  2. After steeping, pour marinade ingredients plus liquid into a food processor and pulse until you get a smooth paste. In a bowl, combine the elk venison with the vindaloo marinade with a spoon or gloves, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (DO NOT RUB YOUR EYES AFTER HANDLING THIS SAUCE.)

    Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe
    Submerge elk venison cubes in vindaloo marinade for four hours or overnight. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  3. Over medium-high heat, heat ghee or oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the elk meat and all of the marinade into the fat and allow to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion and sweat for about 5-7 minutes, lower heat if necessary – do not burn. Then add 1 cup of water, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water as needed to make sure the meat is always submerged in liquid and that the sauce does not scorch. Season to taste and serve with lots of white rice and freshly chopped cilantro.

    Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe
    Stir elk venison vindaloo occasionally to prevent it from burning. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

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