Mmmm Chicken Madras

Is this the BEST Chicken Madras Recipe Ever?

Quick and Easy Chicken Madras Curry

This is my favourite Chicken Madras recipe – And believe me, I should know as I’ve pretty much tried all of them…But time and time again, this recipe is the one I keep going back to.

Loosely based on a Gordan Ramsey recipe, over the many years I’ve been making it, it’s has been “tweaked” and “tuned” into what is most probably the most liked Chicken Madras Recipe online Don’t believe me?  Check out the comments section below…

What are the origins of a Chicken Madras?

Is this the best Chicken Madras Recipe?

Chicken Madras Hmmmmm nom nom

The Madras curry is thought to have originated in what was the city of Madras, which is now known as Chennai.  Chennai is in the south east of India in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The dish is popular in other parts of India as well as in many other countries, including the UK, where it is often served with rice or naan bread.

It’s a spicy curry that can be made with chicken, pork, beef and even minced beef or lamb as a Keema Madras.

Vegetarian 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.

You will also need to reduce the cooking time depending on what vegetables you decide to cook with.

What’s in a Chicken Madras?

The ingredients of a traditional Chicken 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.

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.

Picture of Gordan Ramsay wearing a lamb scarf

Good old Gordon Ramsay

Anyway, as I’ve already mentioned this recipe is loosely based on a Gordan Ramsay Chcicken Madras recipe which has been adapted slightly for a spicier palette.

The ingredient quantities as listed below should be enough to make 4 portions and should take approx 40-50 minutes total time with 10-15 minutes prep time and 30-40 minutes cook time.

Authentic 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
  • 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 less spicy
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1–3 tsp (or more!) hot chili 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)

How to Make 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 approx 1/2 of 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!).

Chicken Madras

What to Serve with your Chicken Madras Curry?

I usually have it with rice or a Garlic and Coriander Naan bread with a big dollop of Mango Chutney.

It is equally as good with chips(!), a jacket potato or even and this is controversial…in a large Yorkshire Pudding!

Mmmm Chicken Madras

Authentic Chicken Madras Recipe - No more takeaways!

This is my all time favourite recipe for Chicken Madras, and I should know as I've tried most of them over the years.
It's quick and easy to make and is a great Friday Night treat. Once you've tried this you'll be ditching the takeaway menu...It really doesn't get any better than this.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 300 kcal


  • 4 chicken breasts one per person!
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm block of fresh root ginger peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 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 to taste
  • 400 g ripe tomatoes chopped or tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 handful Coriander leaves to garnish
  • 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
  • 3 tsp or more! hot chilli powder, to taste Adding more or less will vary the hotness
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1/2 juice Juice of half a lemon or lime


  • Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and season with the salt and pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onions and cook until they start to soften.
  • Add the chillies, the garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry leaves and chilli powder and cook for approx 1 minute
  • Add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken begins to go golden brown all over.
  • Add some 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
  • Simmer for 20-30 minutes and add water if the sauce begins to stick or becomes too thick
  • Add the garam masala and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Add water as necessary
  • Add the lime / lemon juice and stir, garnish with the chopped coriander and serve


As with most curries this Chicken Madras gets better if you cook it the day before and leave it to sit overnight in the fridge.
From a unique slant on an authentic Chicken Madras, instead of normal chicken, I sometimes use the chilli chicken tikka made from this recipe ...
  1. Cook the chicken as per the chicken tikka chilli recipe and set aside
  2. Make the madras sauce as per this recipe
  3. Add the Chicken Tikka at the end and warm through until hot.


Calories: 300kcal
Keyword Chicken, Madras, Spicy, Curry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Chicken Madras Q & A

If you’ve read through any of the hundreds of comments below about this chicken madras recipe, you’ll see there have been lots of questions asked about this recipe over the years, so I’ve answered some of the most popular ones here…

Is this Chicken Madras Recipe Spicy?

If you love spice, then you’ll love a madras curry. This Indian dish is packed with flavor and heat, making it a perfect choice for those who enjoy a little bit of spice in their food. While the level of spice can vary depending on the recipe, a typical madras curry is going to be fairly spicy. If you can’t handle the heat, you can always tone it down by adding less of the spices that make it hot. But if you’re looking for a dish that will give your taste buds a workout, a madras curry is definitely worth trying.

Is a Madras Curry Spicier than a Jalfrezi?

Yes it is and that’s just how it should be.   A madras should always be hotter than a jalfrezi.  This is because you should be adding more chilli when making a madras curry.

What’s the Difference between a Madras and a Vindaloo?

There are many differences between a Madras and a Vindaloo, but the two most notable differences are the ingredients and the level of heat. A Madras is a curry that originates from the South Indian city of Madras (now known as Chennai).

The dish is usually made with a mixture of spices including chilli powder, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The level of heat in a Madras varies depending on how much chilli powder is used, but it is generally considered to be a relatively spicy dish.

A Vindaloo, on the other hand, is a curry that originates from the Portuguese colony of Goa in India. The dish is usually made with a mixture of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and other spices. The level of heat in a Vindaloo is usually much higher than a Madras, and it is often considered to be one of the spiciest dishes.

Does this Chicken Madras Recipe have Dairy?

If you follow this recipe and cook with vegetable oil instead of using a traditional ghee, then your madras will be daIry free.

Is this Chicken Madras Recipe Healthy?

The recipe as it stands is delivers approx 250-300 calories per serving and provides you with approx two of your five a day suggested vegetable and fruit portions.  You can reduce the amount of oil or could even add some more veg to recipe in order to make it as healthy as possible.

Don’t forget that many of the ingredients of this recipe are also known to provide health benefits…

Coriander (Cilantro)

Rich in immune boosting antioxidants and may help lower blood sugar. It may benefit heart and brain health and it can even help fight infections


Several compounds in turmeric may help to ease depression and the curcumin in turmeric can help fight inflammation and keep blood sugar levels steady. Some studies have even shown that turmeric can help lower LDL levels of cholesterol.

Chilli powder

Chilli can improve heart health and help with nasal congestion. It can also improve eye health and build immunity to fight certain diseases.


Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, compounds that prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA. They may help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy ageing.


Packed with nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and lycopene among others.

What Defines a Madras Curry?

When made correctly, a Madras curry should be a balance of heat and flavor.

The chili powder & chilli peppers provide the heat while the cumin, coriander and turmeric as well as the grams masala give the dish its signature flavour.

Try My Other Recipes…

Chicken Madras not hot enough? Try my Chicken Vindaloo Receipe or for a new slant on the UK’s favourite curry, take a look at my Chicken Tikka Chilli Masala Recipe

Thanks for reading and please feel free to post any questions in the comments, – Or why not just tell us about how your chicken madras turned out?

289 thoughts on “Is this the BEST Chicken Madras Recipe Ever?

  1. Matt

    Wow. Simply put, this is the best curry I have ever cooked; and I’ve cooked a few! 10 years on from the first comment… just shows how good this recipe is. Made it with some mushroom rice and it was an absolute hit! Will make this again, and again 🙂

  2. Daniel Hayes

    I know I’m VERY late to the party….but this is an absolute triumph! Delicious curry and a great recipe.

    I went for chopped instead of fresh tomatoes, and I’d use a bit less water next time (easy to reduce by taking the lid off early).

    I’ve got plenty to freeze and I can’t wait to have it for dinner again!

  3. Jenny

    Really enjoyed this curry. My husband who likes restaurant tasting curries occasionally loved this.
    Will be making this again and have saved it in my good food file.

  4. Kate

    Thanks for a really good curry recipe. I made with paneer instead of chicken and added mushrooms carrots and some leftover sweetcorn. Served with Basmati & wild rice and pitta bread. I’ll def do again. My husband loved it too

  5. Tim

    Is this the longest curry thread out there? Making mine now with Madras powder but still using cumin and more chilli flakes. Tastes great but i’m letting it sit in the pan for hours until eating later.

  6. Jack

    Without a shadow of a doubt the best curry I’ve ever cooked, I mean its the only curry I’ve ever cooked but beats the local Indian takeaway by a country mile! Thanks for the recipe. Cooking this for my girlfriend and her mates tonight, going to double the amount of chillies and see what happens.

  7. Wyn

    Really good madras one of the best I’ve made .
    I used boneless chicken thighs , tin of chopped tomatoes , some fresh tomatoes and 2 green one red chillies as variants plus a 20 curry leaves ( i grow them so easy to get) .
    Also added a splash of cream in the end … superb

  8. Liam Kearns

    Hi David.
    I’ve made this curry 4 times now and it’s gets better every time.
    Most recipes for Madras on the web are very complicated and require a lot of ingredients I don’t stock and wouldn’t usually buy, this one is nice and simple but still requires a little effort.
    I had had the problem of it being too watery but just added more Garam and Tomato paste and they always come out great.
    It’s always too hot for the missus but tbh I love it hot so it’s great for me.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. TomH

    This is a very basic curry recipe not really a Madras . Id suggest heating the spices in the Oil to start and then add the chilli/garlic, its called a masala .
    Heat the spices thoroughly and as soon as they become aromatic add the Onion/Tomato mixture , sweat the whole thing down , then transfer to a blender with fresh Corriander STALKS! and blend it .
    Then return to the pan , add Salt , Ghee and cook through for 15 mins, then add the Chicken and slow cook for another 20 mins making sure the sauce doesnt evaporate , the oil should eventually rise to the surface once this happens its ready , you can add Garam at the end but it can leave the curry with a masked flavour if you havnt made it yourself , ie blended the spices yourself to make the Garam .
    Just my 0.2 cents

  10. Claire

    Making this now! I had all the ingredients in so I’m giving it a go. I’m not a fan of big lumpy bits of tomato and dont have a blender so I’ve literally just removed the chicken and got my potato masher out. It’s certainy got rid of the lumpy bits and double whammy it has thickened the sauce. Not served it yet but it tastes lovely. Next time I will use pasata and think I will cook the chicken before hand and add it just before serving which works for us as there is only 2 of us and I can freeze the sauce I don’t need for a quick curry if we feel the need. Thankyou very much for this recipe, I love my local takeaway and would be in there everynight if I could but my wallet and waistline won’t allow it. Making my own – I know exactly what is going in and I don’t feel guilty at all because there is practically zero fat. Need to find your vindaloo now!

  11. Dave Edwards

    Fantastic recipe. I have made it loads of times. I did wonder when the lemon juice went in though. Most Madras recipes have whole cardoman & cloves which I am not a fan of.

  12. Carol Holmes

    So I just made a vegetable version of the ‘Chicken Madras’. I like spicy food so put in 2 red chillis with 1tsp hot chilli powder. Unfortunately the dish was way overpowered by the hotness of the chillis so we couldn’t eat it…really disappointed. I will therefore make it again without using the chilli powder, unless I use 1 chilli with the powder. Please be aware that this dish does not require 2-4 chillis + 3-4 tsp hot chilli powder!!!

  13. Lynne

    I had a probem with the amount of liquid as alot of others did. I just added some cornflour so that the chicken was not over cooked. Tastes lovey and will make again. I didn’t have curry leaves so i used fenugreek leaves and it tasted great. Spot on thank you

  14. Lee D

    I thought it is a great recipe . I’m an experienced cook but not of Indian food , so thanks for demystifying it a little for me.
    I’ll try the vindaloo next!

  15. Ben c

    Great recipe I’ve made this curry about a dozen times now and still for me the favourite one me and the family eat it and really enjoy it

  16. Julian Chalmers

    I use 3 tsp of naga pickle rather than fresh chillis and less water and the result is so good I don’t go to the local restaurant any more.

  17. Andrew

    Thank you Dave! It isn’t a long time ago when i had chicken madras in well known indian restaurant. I felt in love in curry dishes. So i tried this recipe and i must say that this madras that i’ve cooked was even better than in restaurant. Thanks a lot.

  18. Monica

    Didn’t use water, a tin of coconut milk instead and some natural youghrt. Didn’t use chilly powder, but madras powder instead. Everything else the same, but did add the lemon juice. Very easy and quick. May use some more chilly next time, like it spicy. Very good!

  19. Scott

    Great recipe, I’ve made this several times.

    I’ve tried it with and without curry leaves and I don’t think they really add anything to it so to reduce cost I’d say these can be left out.

    For an even more ‘BIR’ style taste and consistency I’d recommend the following:

    Blitz the onions into a paste after roughly chopping them
    Use pasata instead of tinned tomatoes
    Add a small amount of fenugreek powder before the final simmer (maybe just over half a teaspoon) – this makes a huge difference.

    Also for convenience I tend to use the jars and garlic and ginger paste.

    Really great recipe though and the final result has been much better for me than recipes that use a base gravy which can be a huge task to prepare (especially when cooking for 1 or 2).

  20. Les Watson

    I made this last night, best Madras ever!
    I’m not an experienced cook, this is actually my first attempt at making something other than using sauces or ready mix sachets. I used about 230ml water instead of the recommended 300ml, and I used 400g fresh vine tomatoes. I followed your instructions and everything was spot on! Onions browned after 5 mins exactly, so I knew the gas ring was at the right temperature and I timed everything up to the end. Thanks for this, I look forward to trying your other recipes.

  21. John

    As for the onions. I would fry them for around 30 minutes odd until they caramelise then add the spices. The trick then is to blend it all into a paste and then add the chicken and add water to the consistency that you want. I do believe that is what most restaurants do.

  22. Camir

    I would recommend using fresh tomatoes as stated in the recipe, hold the water and add as the sauce reduces.
    As for the coriander, I would say definitely DO add the stalks (finely chopped) as they contain the most flavour.
    On the whole, a good recipe, worth trying.

  23. Chris

    This is a very good curry. I would say I was an advanced cook. If you’re getting a bland curry or it’s too watery you’re not cooking it right. Fresh spices are key along side cooking them properly. They need heat. I added a little brown sugar at the end, I left out the garam masala (if you want your curry tasting of cloves and cardamom then add it) and I chopped up a hand full of coriander (with stalks) and stirred this through right at the end. Tasty and hot!

    If you’re adding all these spices and it’s not hot I suggest two things, go see a doctor as you have no tongue, or use better ingredients! 😉

  24. Robin

    Very nice with a few mods. I used chicken thigh rather than breast for the same reasons as the previous commenter. To start I used ghee rather than oil and fried 4 lightly crushed cardamom pods and a 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick for 1 minute before adding the onions which I blitzed rather than chopping. Other than that ingredients as above.

    For water I added enough to cover the chicken then covered and simmered for an hour to bring out the flavour. I then removed the lid to reduce to the required thickness (I prefer slightly drier than you will get from your local curry house)

    Served with boiled rice and a few poppadoms on the side (and the obligatory cold beer!)

    Nom nom!

  25. Maria

    Wow, I made this last night and it is DELICIOUS! So easy to made and so tasty. I added green chillies and extra chilli powder for extra spice….hot hot hot. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  26. james

    Made this yesterday for a party of 12..i basically just trebled the ingredients but instead of 3 tins chopped tomatoes i used 2 after reading a few of the previous comments. .when making be generous with the teaspoons of ingredients i used heaped teaspoons..was absolutely amazing everybody anyone can say its bland i have no idea, been eating curry for 20 years+ and this is up there with the best of them..i also blitzed the tomatoes in a blender and added a few teaspoons of tomato puree to thicken it up a bit..many thanks for this recipe..

  27. George

    I’m from Tamilnadu of which Madras (now Chennai) is the capital. In Tamilnadu, curry is an accompaniment for rice. A little curry is mixed with the rice and eaten. That’s why the curries tend to be watery. Great recipe. Ironic that I had to get it from a foreign source!

  28. Sam

    Hi there

    Can I just say to all the people out there who have hated on this recipe, really stop. I am of Indian origin (but born and raised in England) and was looking for a good curry recipe and happened to stumble upon this recipe. It really is quite like the base for sauces that my mum uses for her regular curries, so if you think that you can do better, then you are doing better than my Indian mum. So congrats!

    One difference to the recipe that has been suggested here, is that my mum will put the tomatoes in and allow them to fry out after the onions have cooked for a while and after you have fried off the spices. Allow the oil to come out on top of the tomatoes (I have heard my mum say that so often and thought what the hell! but it makes sense when you are cooking it) and then cook the chicken. Once browned add the water and on and on as suggested. Eat with cucumber raita….ahh, bliss.

    Great recipe though and as I say this is one that I grew up with and love it so much. It takes me back to my childhood.


  29. Kim

    Used lime instead of lemon. Fantastic. Used home grown chilli which was hotter than the shop bought ones. Great recipe. Thank you

  30. Sara

    I made this this evening and it was delicious!
    I used fry light instead of oil and chicken thig rather than chicken breast as I find it is more tasty and less likely to dry out.
    The heat was spot on, we love our food spicy!
    Oh, and for everyone who says there is too much liquid in the recipe, well I used more than the recipe suggests…..
    Once bought to the boil, I simmered the base sauce for an hour to really reduce it and enhance the flavours, after 60 mins I added the chicken, garam masala and lemon juice. With 15 mins to go I added button mushrooms and just before serving I stirred in a whole bag of baby spinach. This is now my favourite curry and I will definitely be making the base sauce in a big batch for the freezer.
    Thanks for the recipe David, next time I will try the vindaloo!

  31. Andy


    Great recipe, I’ve been using a very similar one for years and the only big difference is that you use lemon or vinager which I’ve never used in mine. It’s interesting though that the change in ratio of the cumin, turmaric and corriander really makes a big diffrence. I’m going to try your recipe tonight using my home grown Indian chillies.


  32. LisaTM

    Have made this about 15 times over the last few years and my whole family love love love it. I tend to take the meat out at the end and blitz the sauce to give a smoother, thicker texture. Might try the addition of a spoon or 2 of cream as someone suggested earlier. I serve it wit a big dollop of cucumber, mint and pomegranate raita.

  33. Colin Tutill

    400 ml is WAY too much water – 150 ml is closer……. Otherwise excellent and easy to make – hardest part is finding some of the ingredients here in a small Midwest city lol!

  34. Daniel Martel

    I have tried a few other recipies and found this one easy and delicious. I added potatoes and more spices to taste. Thank you for the recipie. I will try your other next. 🙂

  35. Katy

    Hi, do you use dried or fresh curry leaves? Going to give this a go, my husband complained that the last madras I made was a bit bland and watery, this looks right up his alley!

  36. Sam

    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

  37. Niels

    Oy! At what point to I add the lemon juice?
    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

  38. malcolm

    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.

  39. Carol

    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 🙁

  40. Champannie


    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?

    1. David Post author

      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?

  41. James

    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.

  42. Josh

    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!

  43. Andy

    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.

  44. Michael Bristow

    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.


  45. Ian

    Just made this curry, didn’t have any ginger tho still very tasty, will definitely make it again.

  46. danny

    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!!!

  47. Chris

    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.

  48. Moli

    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.

  49. Turv

    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!


  50. stuart

    Making this tomorrow, marinading the chicken first over night in yogurt garlic and cumin for tenderness. Cannot wait.

  51. adrian

    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,

  52. Ravenseed

    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.

  53. Tanya

    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.

  54. Rich

    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!!

  55. Jason

    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?

  56. ray newman

    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

  57. will

    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”.

  58. mikef

    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.


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

  59. Kate b

    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.

  60. Neil

    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.

  61. marie

    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.

  62. Anita

    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.

  63. Colin Stapley

    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.

  64. Cosmin

    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 😉

  65. Sam Herts

    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!!!

  66. ray

    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

  67. James

    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?

  68. Keith

    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

  69. Hugh

    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.

  70. Kate


    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 🙂


  71. Dave Riley

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

  72. Lesley

    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

  73. liam

    Just cooking this now but using scotch bonnets instead of red chillies,
    Will let you know how it goes

  74. Michael

    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 .

  75. Col

    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.

  76. Patrick

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

  77. Daniel Manley

    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?

  78. pete

    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;400gram of spices say madras powder costs £3.50 thereabouts.CHEEEEEEEAP!!!!it taste just like takeaway .infact wife luvs it so much i have make another lot quickly…

  79. Paulh

    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

  80. robyn

    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!

  81. Becky

    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.

  82. Michael M

    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

  83. Kirsty

    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.



  84. billy


    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

  85. Kay Manuel

    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.

  86. Mike

    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!

    1. David Post author

      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 🙂

  87. Adam


    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.

  88. Jimmy

    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…

  89. Nina

    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

  90. Maeve

    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

  91. Rory

    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.

  92. Rachel

    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

  93. Dave B

    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!

    1. David Post author

      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 🙂

  94. Kath

    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)?

  95. Pete in Coin

    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.

  96. Macro Man

    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!

  97. Jonni

    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!!!

      1. Caroline

        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

  98. bristolgirl83

    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.

  99. Bridget

    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!

  100. Josh

    Going to make this later in the week! Off work with a broken ankle so going to do a few different curry’s I think!

  101. Nat

    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 🙂

  102. Richard

    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!!!

  103. Juls

    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. 🙂

  104. Sano

    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?

    1. David Post author

      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.

  105. kerry

    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

  106. Michael

    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

    1. David Post author

      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.

  107. Deepak

    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!


  108. Alison

    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!

  109. Maria Across-the-Pond

    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!


  110. Matthew

    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!

  111. annmarie

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

  112. Jo

    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.

  113. Joe

    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.

  114. Victoria

    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!

    1. David Post author

      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.

  115. kevin

    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

  116. Lyndsey Hickman

    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

    1. David Post author

      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

  117. Kay

    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.

  118. Scott

    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

  119. Spek

    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


  120. nic

    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

    1. David Post author

      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…

  121. Mike

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

  122. Jez

    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.

    1. David Post author

      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…

  123. Mogens

    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 🙁

    1. David Post author

      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?

  124. paul

    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

  125. Cathal

    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 🙂

  126. John W

    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.

  127. Sam

    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!!

  128. Derek

    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………..

  129. Joey

    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

  130. Halie

    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!

  131. Katie

    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.

  132. Elyzabeth

    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!

  133. Carmine


    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.

    1. David Post author

      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 🙂

    2. Nathan

      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.

  134. flynn

    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?

  135. Charles T

    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.


    1. Joe

      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!).

      1. Joe

        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.

  136. Steffan

    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.

  137. bobby

    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!

  138. Carla

    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 !!!

    1. David Post author

      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 🙂

    1. David Post author

      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)

        1. George

          Zinzi, Curry Powder and Curry Leaves are totally different things. Curry powder is a powder made by grinding dry chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, lentils etc. Curry leaves are aromatic leaves that lend a special flavor. One cannot be a substitute for the other 🙂 Still, great that you turned out a great dish!

  139. Amanda

    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…

  140. Mal

    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.

  141. johnny

    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

  142. freshgoat

    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.

  143. rachael

    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!!!!

  144. Gerri

    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

  145. gingieboi

    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!

    1. David Post author

      Hi Patricia

      Did you use tinned tomatoes? I’m guessing so. I’ll be amending the recipe to make it clear regarding tinned / fresh tomatoes

  146. shaun

    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

    1. David Post author

      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?

  147. Lisa

    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?

  148. Tony

    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.

  149. jamie

    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

    1. David Post author

      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

  150. Alex

    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?

    1. David Post author

      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.

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  152. Craig

    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.

    1. David Post author

      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.

    2. Pearson

      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.

  153. karl

    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

    1. David Post author

      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 🙂

  154. mark

    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!!

    1. David Post author

      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.

  155. Kate

    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?!

    1. David Post author

      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?

    2. Carl

      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

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  158. Mark

    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

    1. David Post author

      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!

  159. Curryaddict !

    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 !!!!

  160. simon

    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

  161. Pingback: Chicken Madras – Is This The best Recipe? | chickenoofmadras

    1. David Post author

      Hi Mike

      Thanks for the kind words! I’ve tried a couple of other madras curry recipes recently and I have to say that this is still the best

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  163. lyndsey

    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

    1. davbel Post author

      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…

      1. sandya rao

        this is a good one. i am an indian from madras n i can tell u we seldom use coconut in our curries its in kerala that they use coconut.

      2. Pommesvapeur

        In 30 years of Madras tasting I never had coconut milk in one before either. But I just made one with it and I must sat it was a tasty variation. Just need to rename it maybe to a Chicken Coconut Madras?

    1. Geoff

      I have never had a Madras that has coconut milk in it or i n fact anywhere near it!
      I would say I have eaten hundreds of Madras curry’s in my life made by many different people and from many different restaurants.
      That’s not to say that it wouldn’t make a good tasting dish ( but it wouldn’t ) but it would not be a Madras.

    2. Rich

      A madras served in an Indian restaurant wouldn’t have coconut milk in, so I’m not sure where you’ve been having yours from

    1. davbel Post author

      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 sweet/sour effect. Why not try both and let me know which you prefer?

      1. John kerr

        Hi, thanks for clearing that up. I made your madras and didnt think to look at the comments. I put the lime in at the end. Gave a nice freshness(along with some coriander.) excellent recipe. Thanks for sharing it.


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