Differences Between Korma and Vindaloo

Korma and Vindaloo are two of the classic, representative dishes of Indian cuisine. They hail from the same region and share more similarities than differences. But still, they differ in origin, ingredients, preparation, taste profile, serving method, and nutrition facts. There are also many subtle but significant differences between the two dishes. These minor differences, more often than not, provide a golden yardstick to tell them apart.

So, this article touches on all the critical points of difference between Korma and Vindaloo to help you understand the dishes and their differences once and for all.


Korma is a mild, creamy dish typically made with meat and/or vegetables cooked in a creamy sauce. The sauce is derived from yogurt, cream, and, sometimes, coconut milk. It’s flavored with mild spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and sometimes, even saffron. It can also include nut paste to enhance flavor and texture.

Korma is usually served with rice or naan bread and garnished with fresh herbs.


Vindaloo is a spicy, tangy dish that originated in the Indian state of Goa. It’s traditionally made with pork, but chicken and lamb versions are also standard (and more common). Vindaloo gets its unique flavor from a blend of hot spices such as cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, and chili peppers. The dish is also flavored with vinegar, which gives it a tangy and sour taste.

Vindaloo is typically served with rice or bread.

Comparison Between Korma vs Vindaloo


Korma originated in Mughlai cuisine, a blend of Indian and Persian cuisine that developed in the courts of the Mughal emperors in the Indian subcontinent during the 16th century.

On the other hand, Vindaloo originated in the Indian state of Goa (a former Portuguese colony) when Portuguese explorers came to India during the 15th C. The dish has its roots in the Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos, a stew of meat marinated in wine vinegar and garlic.


Korma and Vindaloo have different ingredients that contribute to their unique flavors. In addition to the meat or vegetables, Korma typically includes:

  • Yogurt and/or cream, coconut milk
  • Mild spices like cumin, dry coriander, poppy seeds, etc
  • Almonds or cashews

The last two are ground into a paste and added to the creamy base for added richness. Korma can also include saffron to add a subtle floral flavor and a vibrant yellow color.

On the other hand, Vindaloo contains a lot of:

  • Kashmiri red chili to give it the hot red color.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Kari leaves
  • Tamarind (optional)

Kashmiri Red Chili is first soaked in water and then ground to make a paste for marinating the meat. Afterward, the same paste is sautéed with Kari leaves in ghee/oil, the marinated meat is added, and the dish is cooked with additional spices to create a rich and flavorful base. Vindaloo can also include tamarind, which adds a sweet and sour flavor.

Korma usually doesn’t have tomatoes. Instead, it derives its little bit of tartness from yogurt. Yogurt, instead of tomatoes, is the defining characteristic of Korma.

Vindaloo usually includes tomatoes, but not essentially. However, it essentially contains vinegar and red chili peppers.

Here’s a brief overview and comparison of some of the main ingredients:


Korma was initially made with lamb, but Chicken and Beef Korma are now more common.

On the other hand, Vindaloo is traditionally made with pork but can also be made with other meats like chicken, lamb, or beef.


Korma is a mild and creamy dish, while Vindaloo is spicy and tangy. Korma uses mild spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. 

In contrast, Vindaloo uses hot and sour spices such as chili peppers, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, and vinegar. The dish gets its heat from the chili peppers and its tangy flavor from the vinegar.

Other Ingredients

Vindaloo may also contain potatoes, which are not usually added in Korma.

Cooking method

Cooking Method for Korma:

The cooking method for Korma typically involves the following:

Marination: The meat or vegetables are marinated in a mixture of yogurt, spices, and sometimes cream or coconut milk for a few hours overnight. This helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. However, this part is optional; you can add the sauce later.

Sautéing: The marinated meat or vegetables are sautéed in oil or ghee (clarified butter) with onions, garlic, and ginger until lightly browned.

Simmering: The sautéed ingredients are then simmered in a sauce made with yogurt, cream, or coconut milk, along with a blend of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and coriander. The dish is cooked until the meat or vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Cooking Method for Vindaloo:

The cooking method for Vindaloo typically involves the following steps:

Marination: The meat is marinated in a paste/sauce of Kashmiri red chili, spices, vinegar, and sometimes garlic or ginger paste for a few hours overnight. The sauce is also known as vindaloo sauce. The vinegar helps tenderize the meat and gives the dish a tangy flavor.

Sautéing: The marinated ingredients are sautéed in oil or ghee with onions, garlic, and ginger until lightly browned.

Boiling: The sautéed ingredients are then boiled in water and more vinegar, along with additional spices like cumin, coriander, and red chili powder. The dish is cooked until the meat or vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Finishing: Vindaloo is typically finished with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves and sometimes a splash of lemon juice.


While Korma is known for its rich and creamy flavor, Vindaloo is famous for its bold and tangy flavor. Korma has a delicate flavor that is achieved by blending aromatic spices with creamy ingredients like yogurt or cream. Korma can also be flavored with nuts like almonds or cashews for added richness.

On the other hand, Vindaloo has a strong and bold flavor that is achieved by blending vinegar, chili peppers, and a blend of spices. Vindaloo’s tangy and sour flavor makes it an excellent choice for people who enjoy bold and intense flavors.

Nutritional profile


  • Korma can be high in calories due to its creamy base and may contain added sugar or ghee (clarified butter) for flavor.
  • However, it can also be a good source of protein and healthy fats if made with lean meat and natural yogurt.
  • Depending on the ingredients used, korma can be high in sodium.


  • Vindaloo is generally lower in calories than korma, as it does not contain a creamy base.
  • However, it can be high in sodium due to salt and the pickling process used to make the dish.


Korma and Vindaloo are typically served with different sides. Korma goes with rice or naan bread, which helps balance the dish’s mild and creamy flavors. Korma can also be served with a side of raita, a yogurt-based dip that helps to cool down the dish’s spiciness.

On the other hand, Vindaloo is often served with rice or bread but is usually paired with a side of pickled vegetables or chutney, which helps to complement the tangy and spicy flavors of the dish.

Regional differences

Korma is a dish that is popular throughout India and is often served in restaurants all over the world. It is especially popular in northern India and is considered to be a staple dish of Mughlai cuisine.

On the other hand, Vindaloo is a dish popular in the coastal state of Goa and influenced by Portuguese cuisine. It is also popular in other regions of India, such as Maharashtra and Kerala, but is less widely consumed than Korma.


Why is Vindaloo so red?

Kashmiri red chili, known as Kashmiri mirch paste, gives vindaloo a vibrant red color.

Why is Vindaloo spicy?

Vindaloo can seem spicy, yet, when you taste it, it has a balanced acidic and spicy taste. It’s because the Kashmiri red chilies make the sauce so red that you mistake it as overly hot– it’s not true. Instead, the Kashmiri red chilies are less spicy and somewhat sweet. So, when you add tamarind or lemon, the taste becomes tangy.

How can I make authentic Beef Vindaloo at home?

Making Beef Vindaloo with authentic Vindaloo sauce is easy. You need to grind only the soaked Kashmir red chilies and simmer the paste after sauteeing it in a few spices. In the end, you need to add soaked tamarind water in it. Then add the sauce to the beef to marinate it. Then add this meat to sauteed onion and let it cook till tender. You can follow this tutorial.

Final Thoughts

Vindaloo and Korma are 2 Indian dishes with different origins. You can serve both of these interchangeably. But, when you eat them in some restaurant, don’t forget they’re not the same.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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