Is this the BEST Chicken Madras Recipe Ever?

Here at Currytastic, we love all curries – even really mild ones such as a Korma, but one of our favourite curries is a spicy Chicken Madras Curry nom nom.

Is this the best Chicken Madras Recipe?

Chicken Madras Hmmmmm nom nom

The Madras curry originates from what was the Madras region in the south east of India and it’s a spicy curry that can be made with chicken, pork, beef and even mince beef or lamb as a Keema Madras. If you’re not a meat lover then you can also enjoy a Vegetable Madras which can be made using carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnip or swede etc cubed into 2cm chunks.

The ingredients of a traditional Indian Madras recipe will change depending on what ingredients are available locally and also by the traditions of the chef or cook, so you will find lots of variety with this particular curry, but typically a madras curry has a reddish colour which comes from the red chillies and turmeric and a slightly sweet and sour taste that comes from the tomato and lemon, lime or vinegar.

Anyway, this Chicken Madras Recipe is based on a Gordon Ramsey recipe which has been adapted slightly for a spicier palette and the ingredient quantities as listed are enough to make 4 portions.

Chicken Madras Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, one per person!
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2cm block of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped – Depends how much garlic you like. Personally I don’t like it to be over-powering
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 300ml water

    Good old Gordon

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish

The following spices can be varied to your own personal taste, but if this is your first time with this recipe, then I’d suggest the following:

  • 2–4 red chillies, finely chopped – You can de-seed if you prefer, but this will make it not as spicy
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1–3 tsp (or more!) hot chilli powder, to taste – Adding more or less will vary the hotness
  • 6–8 curry leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime (you can use vinegar here instead, but not both)

Preparing the Chicken Madras Curry

Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and put aside. Heat the oil and add the onions and cook until they start to soften which will be about 5 or 6 mins. Once the onions have started to brown add the chillies, the garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Then add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry leaves and chilli powder and leave to cook for a further minute or so.

In that time, season the chicken you set aside earlier with the salt and pepper and add to the pan and cook stirring the pan until the chicken begins to go golden brown all over.

At this stage you’ll want to add the water and the chopped tomatoes and then bring to boil. Once the pan is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan stirring ever so often. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes and add more water as needed if it begins to stick or the sauce becomes too dry – remember to stir well if you do need to add water. At the end of the 30 mins, stir in the garam masala and leave uncovered for another 10 mins, again taking care not to let it dry out.

When the cooking’s finished and you’re ready to serve the chicken madras, garnish it with some coriander leaves (not the stalk!) and I usually have it with rice or a Garlic and Coriander Naan bread, although it’s equally as good with chips(!), a jacket potato or even and this is controversial…in a large Yorkshire Pudding!

Chicken Madras not hot enough? Try my Chicken Vindaloo Receipe…

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236 Comments

    • Great question and I can’t believe I missed it off :-)

      Depends what you want to achieve. I normally add it to the chicken after I’ve chopped / diced it, or into the pan at the same time as the chicken, but I’ve also tried adding it at the end which can give you an almost sweat/sour effect. Why not try both and let me know which you prefer?

  1. Hi i made this minus the red chillies and ginger as it was last minute and was out of them,ive also made it with them but preffered it without! great recipe

    • Hi Lyndsey
      Glad you liked it! I have to say I prefer it with chilli and tend to make it a bit hotter than most people would like, but I agree with you – it is probably my favourite chicken madras recipe, although I am going to try a load more over the coming months and post them on the site…

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  4. A great Recipe you have here, thanks will be cooking this one up later for dinner , when i make curries i tend to add some mustard powder too about a tsp have in past added 1Tble spoon but the curry turned out fiery hot LOL

  5. Just done this recipe. Added 1tsb natural yogurt,& 1 and half tsb of single cream, plus 7 red chillis. Best curry I’ve ever made. Spot on !!!!

  6. Good recipe, although I did adapt it.
    Chicken thighs work better as they have more flavour (skinned and removed excess fat and wobbly bits). Reduced amount of tomatoes to 100g and added a handful of red lentils, cooked until lentils gave the curry a nice texture.
    Not forgetting I added lots more garlic and chillies (green finger) – that bit’s optional

    • Lentils are not my favourite, but that’s the best thing about this recipe – You can chop and change it and tailor it to your own taste!

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  9. Hi David- made this last night, really yummy but had to simmer it with the lid off for about 30 mins to get it to thicken in the end? Not sure if I did something wrong but after simmering with the lid on for 30 mins there was loads of liquid! Did I do wrong- cause the recipie mentions if it dries out add more water- there was no chance of that happening?!

    • Hi Kate

      I wouldn’t worry as I think it comes down to how thick you prefer the sauce to be. Perhaps leave the pan lid slightly aside next time and see if that makes a difference?

    • Just use corn flour which will absorb all the moistour and thicken up your curry and won’t effect the taste.

      im going to try this recipe tonight

  10. ive been making my own madras for years but always with paste. this was the best madras ive ever tasted by far the flavours were beautiful. dont think i will go back to paste now. thanks for an amazing recipe!!

    • Hi Mark

      I would agree totally. I don’t think many of the bought pastes taste any thing like as good as this recipe, plus it only probably takes 5 or 10 minutes more to make from scratch.

  11. making it this weekend for my girlfriend but don’t fancy the ginger in it will it make much difference without it?how many people is that recipe for please?

    thanks karl

    • Hi Karl

      This recipe is for four people, but it is very easy to scale up or down. You try it without the ginger, but not sure how it will affect the taste – other than it being less gingerry :-)

  12. Just made this curry for my flatmate and me. It was like someone else said very watery. I had to take the lid of and let it simmer for another 20 mins. I think because of this the taste was lost. I’ve made lots of curries before and the only two i have made that say add water always turn out to be not very tasty. Can only give it a try though. Onwards and upwards.

    • Howdy Craig

      Not really sure what happened cos I’ve made this a many many times and I always have to add some water to stop it from getting too dry. Do you think you may have the heat turned a bit too low when you’re simmering, or perhaps I have it higher than normal? You could always try simmering without the pan lid on as this may help.

    • Hi Craig, the more you reduce the sauce, the hotter and more intense the flavour will get. Like all food aswell, you should season a curry with salt to give a rounder and fuller flavour.

  13. Pingback: Is this the Best Spicy Chicken Vindaloo Recipe? | Currytastic

  14. Thinking of trying this recipe tomorrow! Only problem is, I don’t have any curry leaves and would need to travel to a big supermarket to get some. Would the lack really make it taste a lot different?

    • If you have any Basil or Kaffir lime leaves, these will do, but won’t be exactly the same. You could always leave them out totally, but the the taste wouldn’t be as authentic.

  15. Hi David

    I made this madras last night, and the curry seemes tasteless in comparisson to your vindaloo recipe that i tried a few weeks ago, and the texture of the meal was too watery.. but then i did add the 300ml water and tinned tomatoes, (juice as well)..
    What do you think went wrong?
    Your input would be much appreceiated as im a big curry fan whos just started out cooking two weeks ago, and stumbled across your website whilst browsing for vindaloo recipes.. which turned out great !!
    Many thanks , Jamie

    • HI Jamie

      I think the tinned tomatoes might be the reason why you and others find it to be watery. As I’ve said previously I’ve made this recipe many many times and not once has it been watery, but then I always use normal fresh tomatoes.

      I’m going to amend the recipe and suggest that if you use tinned tomatoes, only add half the water

  16. Sorry, but this is yet another watery chicken stew with spices. I have a book that’s full of them. 300ml of water turns it into a stew and chicken breasts boiling in water *always* end up dry and tough.

  17. I made this curry for me and my boyfriend it was lovely! Like some others i had to simmer for a while with the lid off as it was still watery. I presume if you substitute the vegetable oil for fry light its also quite a low fat recipe too?

  18. really reallybreally bad recipe he cant
    make curry trust me gave it shot
    never again mine wipe the floor with
    that excuse of a curry not trying to be
    big headed ive being making currys for
    over 12 years it was a joke just fanced
    a change by god did i get one

    • Wow Shaun, sorry you feel that way.

      mine wipe the floor with
      that excuse of a curry not trying to be
      big headed ive being making currys for
      over 12 years

      That’s a big claim Shaun, but if your curries really are that good, I’d be happy to publish one of your recipes and we can all try it out and let you know what we think about it?

  19. This is my first ever attempt a cooking anything other than chicken nugguts and chips, ive got about 10 mins before its ready, ill let you know on the result lol!

  20. I have tried lots of curry recipes lately with some success but this is definitely my favorite, really simple, really tasty and best of all no sickly cream, yogurt or coconut milk!

    Great recipe, thanks very much.
    Gerri x

  21. Hi David,
    Love this recipe and use it often but use tinned tomatoes instead of fresh as i found the first time i made it and used fresh it was quite thin and watery, have to say its my favourite recipe!!!!

  22. This recipe is so versatile mate. the core ingredients are perfect and the timing is crucial, but added ingredients are easily accepted by the flavours. green peppers, mushrooms, additional onions… all are invited. cheers.

  23. hi david
    have tried loads of recipes for madras and this is the best
    just the right flavours
    best curry i’ve made – cheers buddy – johnny
    p.s just thicken with a bit of cornstarch if required

  24. In the process of making it and its simmering!Whooo . I’ll let you know how it went.And by the way went for all the chillies.

  25. Thank you for this easy but yet amazing recipe!!!! I have made a few good curries in my life but I have to say this one beats all of them by far! For all the beginners, do not add any water afterwards, sauce gets soggy…

    • Hi Vicky

      Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder. You could always try to buy some dried ones from your local supermarket, they are usually readily available.

      It’s prob best to leave rather than trying to substitute anything for them as there really isn’t anything like them (to the best of my knowledge)

  26. I have searched for the perfect curry and this is it!!! I left out the oil in favour of fry light and got myself a syn free slimming world curry.
    I do also occasionally add two to four tablespoons of elmleigh cream to cool it down..
    Thank you for the recepie I love it !!!

    • Great idea about the oil. I was going to suggest using Creme Fraiche instead of cream if you’re counting calories, but the Power Of Google tells me that Emlea light has about 1/3rd less calories than Creme Fraiche. I didn’t know that :-)

  27. Great curry!
    I added a few fennel and mustard seeds and quickly fried them before putting the onions into the oil. Also used some chicken stock instead of water. Used fresh tomatoes not tinned and the sauce was PERFECT! Remove skin and seeds to reduce the sharpness. Great recipie base to take in your own direction! Thanks!

  28. Great recipe….ive cooked it a couple of times now. I cook up big and take it to work for lunches so i tend to add other vegies as well like beans and yellow and orange capsicum as well as some mushrooms.

    • Was really pleased with the taste, but my sauce was more of a mush than a smooth sauce. Will try again though. Think I cut the chicken up too small as well, bigger next time. Had mines with chips and naan (took a photo!).

      • Just finished another helping of this. 10/10. Cut the chicken much bigger this time, used hotter green chillies and also used a tin of chopped tomatoes. Used the lemon juice to marinade the chicken. I also have bought some restaurant style curry bowls. Recommend this recipe to everyone, really easy to make.

  29. So i cooked it differently… half the amount, but with the same ingredients except that instead of curry leaves i used curry powder. I also used sesame oil instead and only used Kangen water. What I did is cooked the chicken in coconut milk, then once the chicken was browned I added the onions and garlic and 1 cup of water. Once the water boiled away and the onions were brown, i added the tomatoes, 1 cup of water and all the spices. Fried it a bit and finished off by adding coconut flakes right before serving.

    FANTASTIC!!!

  30. I have been volunteered to make the boxing day curry – this recipe with the positive comments is the selected one.
    I will be cooking for 8 – does the recipe scale up ok?
    What vinegar should be used as a replacement for the lemon juice?

  31. Hi,

    Just made this for my wife as a romantic new years eve meal…. Can I say it looked like watery soup. Not happy nor was my hungry wife. I used fresh chopped tomatoes and not tin ones. Are you sure you have to use 300ml of water as stated as like i say even after cooking for longer it was still VERY watery. There is nothing in this reciepe to make it thicken up. Just spices, tomatoes and Water.

    • Wow, sorry Carmine that your meal didn’t go as planned. I’d try simmering with the pan lid off next time to see if that makes a difference.

      I think the issue has to be a simmering heat level related problem :-)

    • Well if you just added 300 without thinking thats what you get. I used chopped tinned tomatoes, 150ml when the chicken went in and added accordingly throughout cooking. I actually added more than 300 in total and still had a thick sauce. Try watching as you cook, you can’t just add everything stated and hope for the best, some common sense is required. Many thanks for the recipe OP, absolutely love it and managed to make it proppa spicy, something that’s always lacked with pataks paste and recipe guide.

  32. We did not enjoy this recipe at all !
    ..and it was cooked exactly as it was written
    Bland !
    no one liked it..
    and on this page I find the photo of Ramsey holding the lamb quite disgusting, as it is obvoius that he is going to kill it!

  33. I followed the recipe as it is written (except there was no instruction on the lemon juice, so I just tossed it in at the end), and it turned out AWFUL. The amount of spice was perfect, but everything else was disappointing. 300mL was way too much water–in order to reduce it enough, I had to simmer for far too long, and by that point, the chicken turned into rubber. Not nearly enough flavor. Too watery.
    I would recommend using milk or coconut milk instead of water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 coconut)–and use significantly less so it doesn’t have to simmer until the chicken turns to rubber. And I would recommend adding salt.

  34. Great recipe, thanks! I made afew adjustments and thought I’d let you know! I added a pinch of black mustard seeds and a pinch of fenugreek seeds. Used 400g of tinned and one small fresh tomato, only used about 200mls of water. It was delicious and really impressed my fussy chef guest!

  35. Wow!!! That curry was pretty amazing!!! put the maximum chillies and chilli powder in and almost blew my socks off. It was so tasty. Used fresh coriander as to the dried an tasted very good.

    Thanks David

  36. I cooked this last weekend and enjoyed it, i do cook alot of Indian food but mainly stick to a few things that i have, after a lot of mishaps, got quite good…..I have a few comments i would like to make……a few people have commented on it not thickening, well the easy way to overcome that one is to add 2 tbls of tomato puree, as it`s a tomato based dish it wont change the end flavour and it will give you a thick sauce, and cook with the lid on for 15 mins, then take off the lid add the puree and simmer lid off till done…it will work…but dont rush it, if it takes a bit more time so what, it will be worth the wait….
    I nearlly always add Dried Methi to my indian food, most resturant curry`s have it in, it can be hard to find unless you have some good indian grocers close by, which Oxford has plenty..
    I did add extra chillie, as i do to most things i cook, i tend to use dried red birdseyes, always keep them in the kitchen, just chuck a load in, but be carfull as they take a while to realese the heat, but when they do….they can go nuclear if you over do it !.
    I will cook it again for sure, so many thanks………..

  37. I love this curry! Made a turkey one with the Christmas left pvers on Boxing day and also made a veg version for a friend, using chick peas, mushrooms, spinach, vine tomatoes.. You have to make sure yu use fresh tomatoes and keep an eye on it not too let it get too dry… I make my own foil lid over a frying pan that way it lets a little f the steam out… Fab thanks!!

  38. Very similar to how I cook my Madras,
    If people are experiencing too watery a curry, try frying the onions longer till they are all a golden brown. This really thickens the sauce as they dissolve into the sauce taking away the need to blend. Hope this is helpful.

  39. I made this last week and it was savage. Used two red chillies, 2 tsps of chilli powder, didn’t have curry leaves and everything else the same. Cooked as indicated and it was bang on. Watery initially but by the time it was done simmering it was perfect.

    For all those critical replies, if it’s watery – simmer more without the lid. It’s not rocket science. If it’s bland – you did something wrong as the recipe works, look at all the positive replies!

    Congrats on a great recipe, saved for future meals :)

  40. hey the best review i can gave youre recipe is no more takeaways for me it was the best maddras i have ever had was a bit worried at first but when i added the garamasala wo what a transformaition cant wait for breakfast lol thanks

  41. Cooked this one just now. Turned out tasteless. Any idea why? Went easy on the chili, but does the chili affect the taste that much? Major disappointment :(

    • Hi Mogens
      Sorry it didn’t work out for you. The chilli can impact on the flavour, but if it really was tasteless, perhaps you got the qtys wrong or could you have missed anything?

  42. I made this on Saturday – i thought it was OK. i followed it step by step and added every single ingredient. The one thing i ask is, can it make a difference of the quality of the chilli powder? i have asda own chilli powder and i seriously think this has an effect on hot dishes as it always seems quite a dry powder taste, i only added 2 table spoons as well. It wasnt bad at all though, thanks.

    • Howdy Jez
      Are you sure Table Spoons? The recipe calls for tea spoons :-)
      If you are adding table spoons that might make it a bit dry as you mention, plus I’m guessing will be V hot…

  43. Just made this. Added double cream towards the end as per some peoples suggestions. Worked a treat. Was delicious, thanks!!

  44. hello there made this recipe today, all seemed to be tasting well until i added a tin of chopped tomatoes in it, cant help but feel it lacked flavour then. do you used tinned tomatoes or real tomatoes??? xx

    • Hi Nic

      I prefer to use tinned tomatoes as it tends to be a bit easier, plus I think a decent can of Italian tomatoes generally has more taste than supermarket bought fresh. You can try adding some tomato purée to taste (be careful as too much will make it sweet), or try using passata instead.

      Again, this recipe is all about personal flavour, so perhaps try adding less tomato to begin with then tasting and adding more if you think it needs it…

  45. awesome and very tastey.

    my alternative madras: substituted coconut lite cream for the tomatoes and cooked in cold pressed coconut oil. also the paste: used 4:2:1:1ratio of corriander: fenugreek: cumin: black mustard seeds v. rich and spicy. the lime juice is the perfect touch. thanks

    spek

  46. Made it on the weekend.After reading other comments I did not put all the water in approx 200ml.I put the lemon juice over the cut chicken and followed recipe otherwise.Then I put it into a slow cooker for about 6 hours on low.It was really good .Guests thought it was really good also topped off with some Kingfisher beer.Oh I used real tomatoes.I will make it again.Thanks

  47. FYI: You need to add times of the cooking so there understandable, also how long do you let it cook for after adding the last ingrediant. Would be really helpful if you let us know what heat to put it on at each stage; high, med or low. Other than that really easy to follow.

    • Hi Michael

      You should be able to use a slow cooker, but as I don’t have one or have ever used one, I can’t offer any timings etc

  48. Hiya
    i am going to try this recipe out at the weekend…the last time i made a madras it was very watery and i ended up buying some sauce from the local takeaway as didnt want to waste all of the chicken. After reading some of the comments i think it may have been the tinned tomatoes…is it ok just to use pasaata instead of using tomatoes at all? thanks

  49. I have been experimenting with different curry recipes I have found on the net, for quite a while now, but always on a mild to medium taste. I like madras but my partner said that it would be too hot for her. I have got to say I cooked your recipe tonight, with a slight variation. 1 green and 1 red chilie, and not too much chilie powder, and it turned out fantastic. My partner wants me to cook some more tonight lol

  50. I plan to make this tonight for me and my bf but I don’t have curry leaves is there anything else I can use? Bay leaves? Curry powder? I don’t want to lose flavour!

    • The taste won’t be exactly the same, but I’ve been told you can use bay leaves or lime zest as a good substitute for curry leaves, although I’ve never tried either.

  51. Well i managed to mess this up i think i used too much water so its just a really watery curry sauce, but still a realy good recipe and easy to follow if your not a complete numpty like myself.

  52. Very very tasty. I live in Somerset, where Indian grocers are in short supply so no curry leaves sadly. Also no decent curry houses nearby so I am making more of my own curries now. This one was lovely.
    Was a bit short on fresh tomatoes so topped up with a squeeze of tomato purée and this did the trick. The onions really need sweating over a low heat for a long time: be patient.
    If you have too much liquid, simmer uncovered but not on too high a heat as this is what causes rubbery meat, I find.
    Re comments about lack of flavour: try the curry again the next day as the flavour will have developed.
    Like all good things, you need to invest some time in this dish and don’t rush it or you’ll totally spoil it.

  53. heading to the supermarket to get all what i need for this curry, going to suprise my hubby!! cant wait :)

  54. Never ever made a curry before only ever gone to restaurant or takeaway, had a go at this and FairPlay it was really good! Thanks!

  55. Ok David, here goes the review.

    Fantastic! My husband and I loved it!
    I did a lot of reading of the reviews before I made this dish, so I tried to incorporate the best suggestions I could find and troubleshoot where others had problems.

    As a Canadian, we measure very little in grams, so I had the deli counter weigh my plum tomatoes and it turns out to be about 5 large plum tomatoes for your North American readers. I highly suggest the smaller plum tomatoes instead of the beefsteak or hothouse tomatoes as those ones are usually hydroponically grown and are tasteless. Go for the misshapen little plum tomatoes, readers, you won’t be disappointed!

    Secondly, 300 grams of water meant little to me. I used 1 c of water and I will use less going forward. I saw the reviews re: watery, and I found I was going the same route, so I uncovered the sucker and turned the heat up to medium which worked well. Perhaps your stove runs quite hot, David? I’m also in Calgary, so things tend to boil at a lower temperature…all these things make a difference but are easily fixable if you’re keeping your eye on things. The sauce thickened beautifully.

    As for those who found this tasteless, our experience couldn’t be further from the truth! The taste was robust and the house was full of all those delightful curry smells. I wonder if other readers perhaps missed a few spices (the garam masala at the end is essential) or perhaps were using spices that are old. A tip I learned: store your spices in a dark place (I know they look nice on the counter, but they age prematurely that way), and away from your stove (heat kills ‘em too). We followed your advice to a “t” and it was perfection.

    We served this with a side of Raita that cut the heat of the curry beautifully. It’s so easy to make and adds such a nice complementing flavour.

    Ok, this review is a book, but I wanted to address many of the issues I tried to overcome. Hope my suggestions help. Can’t wait to try another recipe, David!

    Maria

  56. OMG! I’m in heaven. I tried this recipe last night and it was the first time I had cooked curry from scratch (I normally cheat with a jar of sauce!). I had read the reviews and was a bit sceptical whether it would be a bit wishy washy. I was not disappointed. It was the best curry ever! The consistency was perfect (I did add a teaspoon of cornflour mixed with some of the juices) and the flavour was amazing. All the spices coming through with an after kick of chilli. I absolutely love curries and like a bit of kick to them. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. We often have curry making competitions down our local pub so I will be entering the next one with this recipe. All the family agreed it was the best curry they had tasted!

  57. Wooow! Chilli overload! Tried it out today. One of the best chicken curry recipes I’ve tried so far. Will hold off on the chilli’s next time. Thanks for the recipe!

    Deepak

  58. Hello David

    I wonder if you can give me some pointers as I’m looking to cook a Madras curry with what I’ve got to hand Where I now live in Istanbul. Curry pastes are exspensive here And although in the past when I have had availability of Indian spices I have blended and rosted them I have decided just bring over a few key ingredients from my last trip home in the Uk.

    This includes rahaj Madras curry powder
    Garam masala
    Curry leaves
    Tamarind paste

    So I’ve been some research on this dish and there seems many different opinions on how to go about it. I’m thinking to try doing your recipe but just use the curry powder I’ve got Instead of preparing the spice mix. However adding the curry leaves as I have these to hand. I’ve also read on Wikipedia that Tamarind Can be in this curry, what’s your feelings on this ? as I want to be carful not to put to many ingreadience in and make to complex a flavour. Lastly if I want a creamier curry I take it I just add coconut or yougurt which I have here at the final stage yes ? Hope you can help as I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Michael

    • Hi Michael

      The best thing about making your own curries is that you can vary the recipe’s ingredients or add totally new ones depending on your taste. I’d start out by adding a little and seeing how that changes the flavours.

      You could add yoghurt or coconut milk towards the end of the cooking process if you like it creamier.

  59. this is the first time i have made a home made curry and it was amazing so thank you will defoe be making this again . iv been living in switzerland for 2 yrs and had a few currys here but not very good at all so wanted to make my own at home and wow tasted fab now will make this every week for a curry night . kerry

  60. Hi, I have some Hot Madras Curry Powder, and I would Like to add that, When Could I add it or what ingredient can I substitute?

    • Hi Sano

      You can add the madras powder instead of pretty much all of the spices, although by using the madras powder, you won’t achieve the same flavour.

  61. Flicking through the pages on the net for a madras curry recipe I came across yours , brought all the ingredients and this afternoon tested it out , well done this is my first attempt at Indian cooking and I found it quite easy to follow and the taste was amazing just like the real thing. I have just emailed a copy of this recipe to my best friend over in England , I know she will love it. :-)

  62. Hi,
    Looking to make this for about 10 people for the weekend. Would you suggest doubling up on the ingredients or just making two batches? Looking forward to it after reading these comments!!!

  63. Me & my husband made this the other night and it was delicious!!! But could we use passata instead of chopped tomatoes as I’m not a big fan of chunks of tomatoes. If so how much Passata would we need to use :)

  64. Am going to a “bring a dish” dinner this saturday, and i volunteered to do chicken curry. Am definitely trying this one out!! Hope it comes out great!

  65. Yum – made this tonight – added 4 chillis and the powder for extra kick and also added butter beans to replicate a badhonia curry – very tasty.

      • Thanks for reply! I did it your way and it was awesome!!! I am doing it again this Friday but instead of five chillies I am putting 8-10 in as we like it really hot. Thanks x

  66. Hi There
    I have just followed your instructions and made myself.. The First, and The Best Madras Curry I have ever eaten. Thank you so much for this recipe. You’ve been bookmarked, and once again.. Thank You!!!

  67. Hi David,

    Great recipe, although I do prefer to flash-fry the chicken just to seal it and then add it to the simmering sauce during the very last minutes so it is *just* cooked when served and therefore as tender as possible. I also add some parsley when frying the chicken. It does add a complexity to the flavour, especially if you use red onions instead of white and use just-ripe tomatoes and a tiny bit of lime.

    As you said, a great base recipe to tinker with to match your taste. Glad I found this site. Well done sir, and thank you!

  68. Just made this, like others found the sauce very runny. I’m going to stir in some flour though and see what happens. Might suggest not adding the 300ml of water to it, or using 100ml of chicken/vegetable stock instead. :) Will let you know what it tastes like tomorrow.

  69. Hi there, Just made this but with mincemeat as I’m not a chicken lover. It tastes very good. Would you change or add other ingredients when making this (Keema Madras)?

  70. Sorry guys!.. i followed this recipe and the end result was a somewhat tasty watery ‘soup’ … too watery! .. chicken madras made with a ‘Pataks’ curry paste is much more enjoyable. Instead of throwing out the watery curry, i’ve drained of the liquid and reduced on a saucepan and hopefully will be okay tomorrow. I suggest instead of putting 350ml of water into the dish, place 100ml and fill up as required. very disappointed!

    • chicken madras made with a ‘Pataks’ curry paste is much more enjoyable

      How very dare you :-)

      Sorry it didn’t work out for you, but I made it again this very weekend and as usual it wasn’t at all watery. I really have no idea how it happens :-)

  71. Some people just dont understand when the sauce is not reducing to turn the heat up. Also some people are just damn nasty. I happen to lv ur curry being British and all. Yummy

  72. This is really good recipe, thanks for sharing it. I would like to point out it was very watery the first time I cooked it, had to simmer it for we’ll over an hour with the lid off to reduce it to an acceptable consistency. Second time I cooked it I only added 150ml of water and it was perfect.

  73. Made this tonight. Amazing. I served it with lime pickle, mango chutney and a wedge of fresh lime.
    I made two modifications:
    – instead of 300ml water I added stock
    – I took it off the stove and popped it in the oven to simmer at 180c for 30 mins with the lid on, then 10 more mins with the lid off. Reduced down a treat

    Will definitely make this again, a total winner

  74. This is the 2nd time I have made this recipe now. 1st time with king prawn and today with chicken.

    It is the best recipe I have found very easy to follow that actually tastes like a Madras!

    Indian Cooking demystified!

    My Indian take away will be a distant memory from now on!

    Thank you

  75. I’ve cooked 2 Madras curries today (experimenting online.) This one is definitely nicer than the first recipe I tried which didn’t include ground coriander, garlic or ginger -these additions definitely add some much needed sweetness. (I used ground ginger as didn’t have fresh.)

    At the moment, the sauce is cooling down to go in the fridge tomorrow. I suspect it’s going to need a good bit longer on the stove to reduce…but reckon it’ll taste great.

    I added a pinch of sugar and salt/pepper too…

  76. Wow.

    At first I thought I was going to have the “watery” issue as it seemed very runny. Probably took about 20 minutes with the lid off to reduce to the thickness I wanted.

    I made this as soon as I found the recipe which meant I was lacking a few ingredients. No curry leaves, fresh coriander or chillies (I used a few chilli flakes instead). As it was cooking I wasn’t too impressed when I was tasting it but the end result was fantastic.

    Will definitely make again.

  77. Regarding the “watery” issue some people are experiencing – what type of pan/dish do you use to cook the curry in David?

    It may be worth pointing this out in the recipe, as the type of pan can have a big effect on the finished product. I usually use a frying pan or wok when cooking my curries, but people using a saucepan which is deeper with a smaller surface area may well end up having a different result!

    • Hi Mike

      That’s a great point. I tend to use a wok when I’m preparing a curry, so as you say, that could indeed be the cause.

      Many thanks, I’ll update the recipe to mention this :-)

  78. Made this curry tonight, it is okay, nothing special. Found it a bit bland to be honest. Added some Methi which gave it a bit more flavour, and more salt. Thank you though.

  79. HI DAVID

    could you please tell me when making a curry,if you double the quantity of the recipe do you double the cooking time
    thank you

  80. Hi David

    Just about to make this curry and realise I only have green chillies and not red, will this be ok??? Also how much salt & pepper to season chicken.
    Would love a response as soon as you possibly can.

    Thanks

    Kirsty

  81. Hey David,

    Congratulations on posting a top Madras recipe. It has become my “go to” recipe for a quick and easy to prepare curry. As you said in a previous post, it is a benchmark to be experimented with. The haters on here who left bad comments should perhaps learn basic cookery theory (re “watery”) before posting negative comments. Your recipe and method is sound. If you asked a robot to cook it, they would probably say “watery”……… but any true and eager cook will make allowances and adjust rather than ranting on here……… A tasty hot and sour madras recipe that should be appreciated for what it is………… Thank you David

  82. My brand new fiancee made this for me tonight – super tasty and wonderfully spicy. He did use the suggested larger amounts of chillies! Served with homemade rotis.. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  83. This curry was lush! First time iv ever made a curry from scratch and definitely won’t be the last!

    Tip: Towards the end I added a small amount of tomato puree to give it more of a tomato flavor and also to turn the colour more red as it looked a bit too orange for a madras. Will be cooking this again in the near future!

  84. Just made this for the first time.
    I’ve made curry’s for years, and usually take a couple of hours.
    This recipe is really good :-) cut down the chillies a bit, so my daughter could take it, but it’s still really tasty.
    Will keep this one on hand for a quick mid-week spice fix, and play a little with the spices used.
    A real all round winner, that can be ‘tweaked’ to your hearts content.
    Thanks for publishing it David

  85. i use fenugreek leaves ,madras powder,tmeric,paprika,corriander leaves,tomato paste,chillis,one carrot,red pepper,cumin seeds, tintomtoes and green curry paste from spice shop which is cheap as chips for making base in batches.this is a cash and carry open to public.eg;400gram of spices say madras powder costs £3.50 thereabouts.CHEEEEEEEAP!!!!it taste just like takeaway .infact better.my wife luvs it so much i have make another lot quickly…

  86. Just cooked this recipee, whilst nice, does not taste like the Madras I get served from UK takeaways of restaurants. Anyone know how to get that taste? How do they cook it?

  87. Beautiful recipe, but it definitely is very watery. I used tinned tomatoes and the curry didnt thicken too much unfortunately.

  88. Good recipe to use as a base, cheers. I blended the onions, garlic (would recommend at least 3-4 cloves) and the chillies (green are best I reckon), fry off the dry spices for a minute in oil then add the wet mixture, fry until slightly browned then add the chicken, cook for 10 mins, add tinned chopped tomatoes and 100 mls water obtained from swilling out the blender, then simmer for about 30 mins until thick. Chopped coriander, garam masala and lemon juice to finish. Marvellous.

  89. Just made this tonight, very easy and tasty.
    Did miss out the water and added another 1/2 tin of toms in, and have not got any curry leaves yet .

  90. HI, just made the curry but used diced steak instead of chicken and tinned tomatoes instead of fresh ones, cooked a little longer as steak takes longer to cook, result bloomimg brilliant

  91. Enjoyed this simple easy to prepare and cook madras.Coconut is added in different regions,also if you find the curry too hot.

  92. Hi,

    I made this for the first time last night for my partner as I don’t like it, it’s too hot for me and we usually use Sharwoods but he said this was absolutely gorgeous and far better than the jars and it tasted so fresh. I didn’t use any curry leaves though as I couldn’t find them anywhere but it didn’t make a difference in how nice it was. As for the comments about it being watery, I blended it as I was told to in the recipe for tikka masala which I also made for the first time last night.
    I got the thumbs up for both so will definitely be making this again, thank you :-)

    Kate

  93. Just made this and it was delicious. I didn’t have any curry leaves so I threw in a spoon of curry powder. I also Forgot to add the garam malasa. Maybe I got lucky or maybe it’s the versatility of this recipe but the result was delicious :)) level of water was perfect and i used tinned tomatoes instead of fresh.

  94. Just made this Madras for dinner tonight. I can honestly say it’s the easiest best curry I have ever made. Thank you very much

  95. Made this recipe a few days ago, and it was very tasty indeed!! I will definitely be trying it again! However, I didn’t read the comments and mine did turn out a little watery. I followed the recipe to the dot, didn’t use tinned tomatoes, so next time ill uncover it for a bit whilst simmering, or simmer for longer. Any ideas?

  96. First cooking chicken breast until brown and then cooking for a further 30 mins ,wow isn’t that took long , isn’t the chicken a bit on the tough side , I would say 20 mins max

  97. Have to comment as we have just made (& scoffed!) this dish which was absolutely DELICIOUS!!!
    I read all the other comments first and recommend:
    – if you use tinned chopped tomatoes (which I did) drain a first can in a small sieve over a bowl, leave for a while and then shake the sieve to strain all the remaining juice into the bowl. Set that juice aside and weigh the contents of the sieve; my 400g can gave me 249g of actual tomato so, as I was making the full quantity of the recipe, I did the same with a second can and added a decent squeeze of tomato purée too. I then later substituted the reserved tomato juice for the water (not using any water at all) and had no problems with the final result being watery, nor flavourless. Quite the opposite. Yum!
    – I prepped all the ingredients in advance and tossed the chicken pieces in salt & pepper seasoning at that stage; then just a couple of minutes prior to adding the chicken to the pan I added the lemon juice and tossed the mix again.
    – As someone else mentioned, ensure you get the onions right in the first stage – you are waiting until they are past translucent and the bottom of the pan has started to display a brown caramelised look before you add the chilli, ginger & garlic. This means most of the moisture has gone out, reducing the ‘watery’ risk, and on adding the spices then chicken (as per the recipe instructions) I found I didn’t need to add any more moisture before the tomatoes and a bit of the reserved juice went in, and the heat was turned up to bring it all to the boil.
    – Final tips, as per the recipe, add more ofvthe reserved tomato juice IF it gets dry (or is not as saucy as you want), and keep an eye on things, but don’t turn the heat right down to a feeble simmer, ensure you keep a healthy simmer on the go and hopefully your result will be as good as mine. And don’t forget to add the garam masala after 30 mins and continue to simmer for further 10 mins with the lid off.
    All in all I just followed the recipe and took the comments into account and I got a perfect result. Definitely the best chicken madras I have ever cooked, and it was not a faff at all either. Good luck!!!

  98. Hi, i tried as well today, with of course some modifications as i don`t have curry leaves or ginger roots, used some ginger powder i found but that was the worst idea as it started fry immediately and got stuck on the fry… Other than that, it was a delicious result, a bit more hot that expected, as i used some green pickled chillies and also some powder of red ones but nevertheless the taste was not too altered.
    I also haven`t got the problem of too watery sauce, maybe the ginger powder from the begining took care or i simmered them “really good”.
    So, good recipy, easy to be done and tastefull in the end.
    Thanks for sharing ;)

  99. Made this tonight for my family and they could not believe it was made without a jar or packet mix. All fresh ingreients and I quote “the best tasting madras they have had outside a take away”
    I was so pleased.

  100. Just made this curry tonight in readiness of National Curry Week for my pub. Here’s hoping the customers will enjoy the results. I did also find that there was to much liquid so will reduce with water in the next batch. Many thanks for great easy to follow receipe.

  101. Hi, recipe sounds lovely. I’m making this tonight for my boyfriend however I prefer more spice than him so may ease off the chillies a little!….Looking forward to giving it a go! Thanks.

  102. Hi,
    I have tried your vindaloo recipe and it turned out great. I’m going to give this one a go.
    I’ve never used curry leaves before and i’m not too sure what to do with them.
    Do you put them in whole and remove later like bay leaves? Or do you chop them up and
    add them and that’s it? Any advice appreciated.
    Thanks.

  103. Great recipe, we love madras but it’s normally out if a jar, this was a very easy to follow recipe and tasted great. The consistency was perfect and the heat was spot on for our taste (I used 3 chillies), I also used chicken stock instead of just water. I won’t ever be using a jar of sauce again.

  104. I made this tonight, added 1tsp tomato puree and fried for a minute or two just before adding the chicken, plus a couple of extra chillies as I like it spicy. I increased the simmer to rapid to solve the watery issue some people have complained about. Great recipe, thanks for putting it online.

    Mikef

    P.S. As someone else suggested, a shallow, wider pan is better than a saucepan for making curries.

  105. Excellent Curry. Loved it. I thought it was going to turn out watery, but cooking with the lid off concentrates the flavours. I liked the idea of adding a bit of yogurt and extra chillis. Will cook that again. Thanks.
    Best way to get rid of half a dead turkey left sitting in the Freezer. I may even say I still like turkey (but only if it is currified – “NO MORE TURKEY SANDWICHES PLEASE”.

  106. Wow superb near restaurant quality, glad i read other peoples comments the tips did help 1/ don’t cut your chicken breast to small because if simmering for 30 mins will turn them into rubber don’t forget we have already fried them , def no more then 200ml of water , skim off the tomato skins and curry leaves these little things will make all the difference and as all good chefs will say keep tasting , my best curry yet thanks Dave , one last tip i simmered for 10 mins then took the cover off for the next 20 , adding a little tomato puree

  107. Tried this tonight, and seemed a bit bland. The heat was just right, but as I used tinned tomatoes it did seem a bit to watery (I’m only reading the comments now – fail), so I simmered it uncovered for the time specified, and the consistency turned out right. Maybe simmering uncovered lost some of the taste?

  108. Got it cooking at the moment, smells great! Will let you know how it is. Was nice and easy to prepare, thanks for the recipe!!

  109. Oh wow – delicious. I used coconut oil instead of vege oil as it goes so nicely with curry. I also didn’t add any water and coiked for 6 hours in the slow cooker. Thanks for this recipe.

  110. This is a great recipe. I have made this 10 – 15 times in the last few months. I have tried the recipe as is the first time, and then modified it numerous ways after. Most of the time I have not used curry leaves, as they are really hard to get hold of. I substitute a couple of bay leaves with the onions at the start instead of adding curry leaves at the end. My favourite modification so far, is to add a ton of dried Kashmir chillis as they give a really nice flavour along with potato, spinach and creamed coconut…although probably not a Madras after these mods it tastes gorgeous. Standard recipe is easy to make and is a complete winner… the only other thing that is a MUST is to brown the onions for much longer (I do mine for around 25mins) until they are deep brown and almost crispy, it will give your curry more depth. 10 / 10.

  111. i made this curry last week,i thought it was better than a indian takeaway,
    after reading reviews i used 250ml of water not 300ml and simmered with no lid,
    perfect.

  112. Hi David,

    Read every comment on here and tried it slightly different to your recipe. I used 250g of natural yogurt then 150ml of water. I used everything with ingredients like you mentioned. I brined the chicken in 1 litre of water with 1/4 cup of sea salt then 1/8 cup of sugar for 4 hours in the fridge. I simmered for 40 mins, 20 mins covered then 20 mins uncovered. My take on this is to simmer uncovered for 40 minutes but only add 100ml of water. The secret of this recipe maybe in the brining with using 6% seasalt and 3% sugar with brining the chicken. I am confident that next time I cook this dish it will be perfection, the first time was good using a rapid boil to reduce fluid for 5 mins. I used ripe tomatoes and peeled them, don’t use tinned chopped tomatoes it will be too watery! The recipe is perfection if you brine the chicken. Over all I was very pleased with David’s recipe and next time I do this it will be perfection. Best madras i’ve ever tasted, honestly!

    Turv.

  113. I made this tonight and kept the Chilli to a minimum. It was just right and one of the freshest and most tasty curries I’ve ever eaten. Also, the very first one I’ve ever made.

  114. With respect, I’d recommend using the coriander stalks – finely chopped – during the cooking process and leaving the leaves for garnish at the end.
    Of course, this depends on taste and how much one likes coriander, but my Indian and Pakistani friends always use the stalk for extra flavour.

  115. nice :) what i do is blend the toms then add em the same after the spices and reduce all the water out of em so it makes like a thick paste then chuck the chicken in and cover it with water then simmer it all again till it’s as thick as i like..i also chop the coriander stalks and put them in too..GOD I LUVS THI CURREEEEEE!!!

  116. Great recipe for a curry novice like me. First attempt at making it I made it a bit too hot, and also got confused and used tablespoons instead of teaspoons for measurements. Managed to boil it down though to take away the slightly gritty texture. Always been a curry fan and have only ever used pastes in the past. Will definitely be using this recipe in future.

    Thanks

  117. I made this dish for a party of 6. I made a few alterations based on necessity and previous comments (I’ve read them all, sad I know).
    I doubled up on all the ingredients. I made it using beef rather than chicken and upped the amount of meat to around 2.5Kg. I was a bit conservative with the chillis and the chilli powder, some of my guests do not like too much heat. I reduced the amount of water to just 150ml and also blitzed the onions in a food processor rather than chop them finely as per a previous suggestion.
    I could not get curry leaves locally so I substituted them with lime leaves; I can’t say that I really noticed they added anything but they certainly didn’t do any harm.
    First problem was that I was unable to fry off the onions due to them being processed, they were more of a paste than chopped. I also processed them a few hours before cooking and there was quite a high water content by the time they went in the pan. I cooked them for longer than the recipe suggested, about 20 minutes. I then had problems browning the meat. I suspect this was due to having double the quantity and cooking in a large saucepan rather than a wok – there was not enough surface area of the pan to transfer the heat to the beef. I used fresh tomatoes rather than tinned and they went in chopped complete with skins and seeds.
    I cooked it gently with no lid for an hour and a half then put the lid on it and let it get cold overnight. The following day I brought it back to the boil and again let it simmer slowly for another hour before serving. I find that most curries are best on day 2 or even day 3. The long slow cooking seems to bring out the flavours much better.
    The result was superb – one of the best recipes I have found and will certainly be doing it again.

  118. I made this tonight. Used exactly what was stated, apart from mild chilli powder, rather than hot. The parents don’t really like spicy food so much. It was really amazing and the whole family enjoyed the curry. Thanks a lot for the recipe, will definitely use this again!

  119. Made this tonight for me and the missus, it was very nice. I also changed a few things I blitzed the tomatoes then added the water to the tomato juice I also used the juice of a full lime added a nice bitter citrus taste to it so all in all a great recipe just don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and I stress a little keep the core of the recipe just put your own twist on it.

    • Ashlee – Sorry, but I don’t own a slow cooker and have never used one, so can’t help, but perhaps someone else may be able to provide some instructions?

  120. Hi

    Just made this today and am leaving it for a couple of days to develop it’s flavours, but typical of me with curries, I had to keep trying it. I added the lemon at the end as it was not mentioned in the cooking guide (did not see your comment until after) . I do like hot curries, but the older I get the less they like me, so I adjusted the heat to a little more than medium, and it is just delicious. What I especially like is how low fat it is ( I also added less oil than you said) and in the last 10 minutes of cooking, added some small cauliflower pieces. Then when it was finished added a tin of rinsed lentils. You’ve guessed it, I try to be a really healthy eater and add lentils and veggies to anything I can without it affecting the flavour ( bolgnaise, beef curries, hamburgers, shepherds and Greek shepherds pie, anything at all that will suit them)
    Well enough rambling. This is my first comment and I think I got carried away.
    Bottom line, loved it so thank you David.
    How do I post a recipe, because I think maybe people might like some of mine, like the Greek shepherds pie, which I also have made a vegetarian version of?

  121. I am not the best cook in the world but did this recipe word for word and it was bland and not at all hot despite using hot chilli powder and 3 chillies, one with seeds in… very disappointing :(

  122. Hi,
    I recently tried this one, very good results.
    For those that thought it was bland, only use freshly bought spices, and store in an airtight pickle jars. the ones with the rubber seal and wire locking clamp. The spices will last a lot longer that way.
    Like yourself, I also use a wok, as this gives a more even heat.
    If using tinned tomatoes, you may have to reduce the amount of water used, as some brands contain a lot of water.
    Next time I will try it using fish, and will let you know how that turns out.
    Also, try adding 3-4 green Cardamons for extra flavour.

  123. Oy! At what point to I add the lemon juice?
    Niels
    PS: By the time this email is received by you my madras will be cooked and I will be asleep on my matress… so… I am just going to add it now. Toodaloo… Next time I’ll try the vindaloo

  124. i made this and loved the taste although was HOT!
    Next time though I’m gonna blast the onion mixture with te blended skate sauce is smoother rather than small bits of onion. Looking forward to trying again, gonna put some veg in too. Thank you

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