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Restaurant Style Chicken Madras Curry Recipe

Updated on February 21, 2014
4 stars from 16 ratings of Restaurant Style Chicken Madras

Madras is an East Indian curry dish that originates in the southern part of the country and is highly popular in British Tandoori (Indian) restaurants. It is characterised by its strong spicy, slightly sour taste. Here I have given a recipe for Madras using chicken but it can also be made with beef, lamb or pork if you prefer. If you are not a meat eater then it can also be made with the vegetables of your choice. Here I have used my curry base sauce as the basis for the recipe, you can find out how to prepare this here in one of my earlier hubs. The curry base sauce itself is very versatile and can be used to make a wide variety of different types of curry such as Jalfrezi, Bhuna, Tikka Masala etc. Here I have chosen Madras simply because it is a favourite of mine, but no doubt you’ll have a favourite curry of your own.

The recipe here is in the style of British Indian restaurant cooking and the result should taste very similar to what you are served in a typical tandoori restaurant. It won’t be exactly the same because each restaurant has a slightly different way of cooking but the method of preparation and main ingredients of this recipe are basically used universally.

If, like me, you love curry then I’d encourage you to roll up your sleeves and give this a try, I think you’ll like it. If so then feel free to experiment by changing some of the quantities and maybe some of the ingredients to suit your own tastes. I’d be interested to hear how you get on, so please let me know. Okay curry lovers, let’s get started!

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves two people

The Spice Mix

  1. This spice mix is very versatile and can be used in various different recipes. You can make it up in whatever quantities you like, when made it can be stored in an airtight container for use later. Making the spice mix this way saves you the trouble of measuring and adding individual spices to your curries each time you cook them. For this reason spice mixes are popular with chefs in Indian restaurants where dishes need to be made and served quickly. To make the spice mix we’ll need six different spices, they are Curry Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, Turmeric and Garam Masala (all ground). You can buy these spices readily in most supermarkets. The quantities for the mix are as follows:
  2. Add them all together in your container and stir together until thoroughly mixed. Voila!
Spice mix ready to use or store
Spice mix ready to use or store

Ingredients for Spice Mix

  • 2 x Curry Powder
  • 2 x Cumin Powder
  • 2 x Coriander Powder
  • 2 x Paprika Powder
  • 3 x Turmeric Powder
  • 1 x Garam Masala Powder

To Cook Your Chicken

Cooking the chicken this way isn’t totally necessary but I think it is well worthwhile doing. If you want to skip this part of the recipe then simply dice your chicken and boil in water until thoroughly cooked. However cooking the chicken using the method below will allow your chicken to take on an enhanced flavour of its own which will greatly complement the taste of the finished dish. I’d recommend that you give it a try.


  • Two tablespoons of cooking oil (vegetable or sunflower)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 6 Cardamom pods
  • 2 pieces of Star Anise
  • Half a Cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste (puree)
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic puree
  • 1 teaspoon of Ginger puree
  • 1 tablespoon of Spice Mix powder (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • Water to cook

Ingredients added to our pot
Ingredients added to our pot
Chicken pieces added
Chicken pieces added


Add the oil to a saucepan and place over a low heat. To this add the Bay Leaves, Cardamoms, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Tomato, Ginger and Garlic Paste, Mix Powder and Salt. Mix the ingredients well and add your chopped chicken pieces and stir in until well coated. Now add a little warm water until the liquid reaches about three quarters of the way up the chicken.

Cook very slowly on a low heat for about thirty minutes. This will allow the chicken to cook thoroughly and also take on the flavour of the spices.

When cooked separate your chicken pieces and set aside. Be careful to separate the chicken from the spices, we don’t want to be biting down on a piece of cinnamon stick when we’re enjoying our finished meal. Ouch! When added to the sauce the chicken will have a succulent texture with a fantastic flavour.

Chicken cooked and set aside
Chicken cooked and set aside

If you prefer to add vegetables to your curry they can also be cooked using the same ingredients and method. Cooking vegetables this way allows them to again take on an enhanced flavour of their own which also complements the overall flavour of your finished dish.

Madras Curry Sauce

This Madras sauce is a British Indian restaurant style curry and as such will result in a hot, spicy, slightly sour but full flavoured sauce. If you don’t like your curries to be too hot then simply omit using the Chilli powder, the result will still be spicy but won’t be spicy hot.

Chopped, dried fenugreek leaves
Chopped, dried fenugreek leaves
Lemon - very important for the Madras taste
Lemon - very important for the Madras taste


  • Two tablespoons of cooking oil (sunflower or vegetable}
  • One batch of curry base sauce
  • One batch of garlic paste
  • Two medium size chicken breasts (cooked as above)
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Tablespoon of Garlic puree
  • Tablespoon of Ginger puree
  • One medium size onion
  • One small green or red chilli, sliced finely
  • One tablespoon of tomato paste (puree)
  • Two tablespoons of spice mix
  • Two teaspoons of Chilli powder (optional)
  • Tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • Teaspoon of chopped, dried Fenugreek leaves
  • One lemon
  • Coriander leaves, fresh (chopped finely)

Onions and chopped chilli frying gently
Onions and chopped chilli frying gently


Prepare and cook your chicken (as above)

Add the oil to a deep frying pan or wok and heat on a low setting.

Chop onion very finely and add to pan and fry very gently for 10 minutes.

After the onion has been frying gently for 10 minutes add the chopped chilli and fry gently for 2 minutes with the onion.

Garlic, ginger and tomato paste added
Garlic, ginger and tomato paste added

Then add the ginger puree and garlic puree and continue frying gently for another 5 minutes.

Now add one batch of curry base sauce along with salt. Mix this around with other ingredients and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

Spice mix and chilli powder added
Spice mix and chilli powder added

Add your spice mix and chilli powder (optional) and blend into the base sauce and ingredients. Continue frying for another five minutes. Note the sauce will thicken as you add the spice mix powder; add a little water if you think it is becoming too dry.

Sprinkle fenugreek leaves and mix
Sprinkle fenugreek leaves and mix

Add the white wine vinegar and mix well, then add the fenugreek leaves and mix. Continue frying for another two minutes.

Chicken added
Chicken added

Now add two teaspoons of the garlic paste, mix and cook for two minutes (note this is not garlic puree but rather the garlic puree we cooked whilst previously making our curry base sauce).

Add chicken pieces, stir these into the sauce ensuring they are coated and continue frying for another five minutes to ensure it is fully heated.

Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander leaves
Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander leaves

Add around a tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander leaves and stir in. Now slice the lemon and squeeze around two desert spoons full into the curry. Mix and continue cooking gently for another 10 minutes.

Chicken Madras sauce, ready to serve
Chicken Madras sauce, ready to serve

Divide into portions and serve with rice or naan bread.

Chicken madras is delicious served with pilau rice. A well made pilau rice will really complement the taste of your curry and turn your dish into really tasty and authentic east Indian meal. In my next hub I’ll give the recipe for, and show you how to cook Mushroom Pilau rice.


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    • jgwhite66 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Goodwin White 

      2 years ago from Scotland

      You're quite correct, Tony. Most of the classic restaurant curry dishes that we know today were originally invented by Indian chefs working in the UK, and they were created to suit the British palate. I've never travelled the region but I'd imagingine that someone on the Indian sub-continent whould have no idea what a Chicken Madras was. The names of these curry dishes, madras, bhuna, jalfrezi etc still persist in British Indian restaurants menus today. When we choose a curry from a restaurant or takeaway we know what we're going to get. They may not be authentic to the style of food eaten in the region but nevertheless they are usually delicious.

      Interestingly enough the Madras curry has not yet become the Chennai curry, and Bombay Potatoes haven't become Mumbai Potatoes, so I suppose the old names are going to stay that way for the sake of simplicity.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 

      2 years ago from Yorkshire

      The recipe looks very good, but I'm sorry that I must correct you on something.

      I've travelled to this region several times in my search for authentic Indian cooking and recipes. If you were in eastern India no one would recognise the term Madras curry. It's a British dish. They don't even use the term curry in India apart from explaining a dish to a westerner.

      The city is now called Chennai, the original City of Madras was a major centre for trade in spices from the early 17th century.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Was is the bas curry sauce? And how much is a batch

    • jgwhite66 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Goodwin White 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      I've found that one teaspoon of the garlic paste is enough per portion of curry sauce that you are making. After using this recipe for a while I've also found that one tub of curry base sauce can make up to four single portions of curry sauce, depending on how thick you like your sauce to be.

      Try adding a level teaspoon of Garam Masala (per portion) as a final ingredient - this definitely enhances the final taste :-)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      with regards to adding the garlic paste you made along with your base. You have said add 2 teaspoons on this hub however in the other hub you have said that you should divide it into 4 containers and that each combination of paste and base will make a curry? Just wondering if its 2 tea spoons or the 1 whole container? Thanks :)

    • jgwhite66 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Goodwin White 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Andy, the base sauce recipe is covered in an earlier hub. I'd use one chicken breast, chopped into cubes, per portion.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      what is the "base" curry sauce that you mentioned and how much is a batch? Also, what quantity of chicken do you use?

    • jgwhite66 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Goodwin White 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Thelma

      Its very tasty indeed :-)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      I have not eaten Madras Curry in my life. Thanks for sharing the recipe. This sounds yummy to eat.

    • jgwhite66 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Goodwin White 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for your comment, glad you like it.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      5 years ago from India

      Madras Curry Recipe... that is really a good style to get a different great taste. Yummy, thank you for this delicious recipe.


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