The French have always had a fascination with Portugal. It goes back centuries. And nowhere is it found more deeply ingrained than in their shared love of food and flavors. And nowhere does this emerge more strongly than in this spicy Chicken Vinha d’Alhos.
This traditional Portuguese dish is typically made with pork. But the variations are endless because the heart of Vinha D’Alhos is in the spices. We particularly love this version with chicken.
Many people think this dish originated in India and call it Vindaloo. In fact, I even have friends from the sub-continent of India who grew up with this as “traditional” Indian cuisine. And it certainly has become so. But it’s roots are in Portugal.
This mixture of spices was introduced to India by the Portuguese in the very early 1500s when Portugal first established trading ports and began colonizing in the Goa area. The Portuguese occupied large areas along the seacoast of India for at least five centuries. So the mixture of cultures is quite significant in some areas of India, even today.
It is true this is a Portuguese dish rather than a French one. But we have found great fondness for all things Portuguese across France. And since part of living so Frenchly is embracing experimentation with new tastes and flavors to constantly broaden the palette, we thought we’d share. Besides, our family and friends love this dish!
We honestly prefer the Keto-version, by serving this dish with Cauliflower Rice rather than with white rice. You will find my recipe for Cauliflower Rice here. Sometimes we even flavor our Cauliflower Rice with some leftover Vinha d’Alhos spice when we serve it with another main dish.
Some ingredients in this recipe are difficult to find locally or at a reasonable price. So sometimes we provide you links to purchase ingredients or products we personally have tried and love. You will find a link to our favorite pre-made spice mixture at the end of this article below the recipe.
And we’ve also included a link to a couple of wines we particularly like with this dish. You’ll find those at the end of this article, too.
We hope you enjoy our version of this classic. Fully Keto.
- Preferably a 5.5-6 quart French Oven or Dutch Oven
- 2-3 lbs boneless chicken cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ⁄4 cups apple cider or red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon sage
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Marinate pork overnight in the refrigerator in vinegar, garlic, red pepper, bay leaf, salt, cloves, thyme, and sage.
- The next day, simmer the chicken in the marinade on the stove top for about 20 minutes. Then drain off the marinade and retain it in a bowl in case you want some additional sauce for serving.
- Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken and saute slowly for another 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is browned and cooked through.
- Traditionally this is served with rice or crusty bread. For Keto, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Low-Carb, serve it over Cauliflower Rice.
If you are looking for a wine to pair with this dish, here are our budget-friendly favorites.
You can probably find them locally at your favorite wine shop. But if not, the reviews of each give you links to order them online.
If you haven’t tried Portuguese wine, I think you will be shocked at the taste for value of these delightful sips of the grape. And as is always the case, a wine from the same region as a regional dish is the first choice for taste compatibility.
(Unless, of course, it is a French wine. Everyone knows a French wine goes fabulously with anything!)
You may prefer to use a pre-made Vinha d’Alhos spice on this dish.
Don’t be surprised that this spice is often is marketed as Vindaloo rather than as Vinha d’Alhos. It is the same spice but the word Vindaloo usually refers to the Indian version of the spice. It is the Indian version you are mostly likely to find in your local grocer’s. Sometimes you will find it marketed as Vindaloo Masala. But that version is significantly far from the classic Portuguese taste for our palates.
Commercial blends, particularly of the Indian versions, vary in the exact spices they use. Sometimes they add a few extra spices to the base mix. The Indian version is good. But we prefer the original Portuguese mix.
For convenience, we almost always keep a tin or jar of pre-mixed Vinha d’Alhos spice in our kitchen. We vary this dish between pork and chicken and beef and cook it often, particularly as the months begin to turn colder. And sometimes we even use this spice on vegetables.
We have found some commercial mixes we like far better than others. So we thought we’d share our favorite. It’s not one of the Indian versions. It’s the real-deal Portuguese.
WE SUGGEST THIS PRE-MIXED VINHA D’ALHOS SPICE
FOR THE BEST COOKWARE FOR THIS DISH, SEE THIS
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