Mike’s Asia Pacific Kitchen – Lamb Vindaloo

Country: Sri Lanka

I believe that eating and sharing food with friends is a very emotional experience. In 1988 Karen was Senior Medical Social Worker, Gold Coast Hospital, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. At the time we owned and operated the “Pineridge Hot-Food Takeaways” shop at Coombabah on the Gold Coast, Queensland. We served fish & chips, BBQ chickens, hamburgers, steak sandwiches, and Mike’s famous home-made pies, with recipes learned from James Elliott. Over the three years that we had the shop, I must have cooked over 15,000 pies of six varieties.

Maria had been visiting the Gold Coast from Melbourne looking for property. She had been involved in a car accident and became hospitalized with a badly broken leg that was strung-up in her hospital bed in the orthopedic ward. She was unable to be transferred. Monty to the rescue — with delicacies to keep Maria’s spirits high.

Monty and their 3 children arrived in Southport to support Maria. He and the children stayed at the Red Cross visitors’ quarters at the Gold Coast Hospital.

Maria was from Italy and Monty from Sri Lanka. Imagine the wide food choices in their household. Monty cooked for the family. Towards the end of their long stay on the Gold Coast, and with Maria recovered, Monty presented Karen with this wonderful dish of Sri Lankan Lamb Vindaloo as a thank you for the social work care Karen had given to Maria. It is a very special and delicate dish for me, with lots of emotion attached to it, given the new friendships we made. It’s sure to get the cook many compliments. Thank you Monty!


500 gms tender lean chopped lamb (or beef)

4 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)

chilli pieces (if desired)

curry leaves (if available)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 – 1 tablespoon tomato paste (to taste)

1 lge brown onion

5 pieces of garlic

2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger<

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or ghee)

2 cups water

Curry Powder

This dish is best cooked with Ceylon Marketing Department curry powder. This is a dark, almost black, curry powder and is difficult to find in most places. Other meat curry powders can be used.


Cut the lamb into chunky pieces. Place in a bowl with 1/2 cup vinegar. Put aside to soak for up to an hour (I like to leave my lamb soak overnight).

Chop together the fresh garlic and ginger. Peel and slice the onion. Fry the garlic and ginger in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (I use ghee for the added flavour) until the garlic starts to turn brown. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown.

Next add your meat with vinegar and fry at moderate heat until the vinegar is virtually gone (about 20-30 minutes).

Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the chilli powder, chilli pieces, curry leaves, cinnamon sticks, and 1 cup of water. Let the meat and ingredients cook for 15 minutes. Add the salt and curry powder. Stir and add up to 1 cup of additional water. Turn the cooker to low heat and cook until ready (about an additional 15 minutes).

Serve with rice, pappadums, and shredded cucumber and yoghurt salad.

Mike’s Tip

Vindaloo is a sour Indian dish flavored with vinegar and hot indigenous spices. Lamb is a tender meat and needs to be cooked slowly. I like to add fresh mint leaves to Monty’s Sri Lankan Lamb Vindaloo straight after cooking.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.

Mike’s AsiaPacific Kitchen – Chilli Crab

chilli-crabCountry: Singapore

I arrived in Singapore on 31 March 1997 to work as Visiting Lecturer in financial management and entrepreneurial studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I went on to live there for 12 years and loved it. I was often out at the local hawker centers in search of the food that Singapore is famous for. Top on my list, after Sambal prawns, was Chilli Crab. Here is my signature dish!

2-3 crabs (large mud crabs if you can get them)
2-3 red chillies
2 cm fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
3-4 coriander roots
1 egg, whipped
2 tablespoons oil
oil for deep frying

Gravy – Mix Well
1 rice bowl chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon chilli sauce
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Chop the live crabs (see Mike’s Tip), clean and chop into pieces. Discard shells and legs (unless you want to add everything – not for me!).

Drain and dry the crab pieces. This is to reduce “spitting” when you drop the crab pieces into hot oil for deep frying.

Chop the ginger, garlic, coriander roots, and red chillies.

Deep fry the crab pieces for 2-3 minutes. Set aside. As with all seafood, it’s important not to overcook the crab.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Stir-fry ginger, garlic, coriander roots , and chilli mixture. Return the fried crab to the wok. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the gravy mixture. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.

Thicken with cornflour paste. Add whipped egg. Stir.

Serve with fresh coriander leaves.

Mike’s Tip
To kill the tied crab, lie it on its back. Pull back the flap and hold the crab firm with the tip of a chopstick. Place a large metal cleaver across the middle of the crab and chop through. This method is better than placing the crab in boiling water to kill it as the meat remains uncooked until you are ready to fry it.