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Easy chicken Madras recipe

Easy chicken Madras recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Chicken breast

Instead of ordering a takeaway, try this easy recipe for Indian chicken curry, made with spicy hot Madras curry powder, tomatoes and onions.

24 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red chilli peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 (5cm) piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 splash water, or as needed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 25g Madras curry powder
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 25g freshly chopped coriander, or to taste

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:1hr5min ›Ready in:1hr25min

  1. Place onions, chilli peppers, ginger and garlic in a blender with a splash of water. Blend into a smooth paste; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large, high-sided pan over medium heat. Cook paste until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add Madras curry powder; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix into the paste.
  4. Cook and stir chicken in the spice paste mixture until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in tomatoes. Fill the tomato can halfway with water and pour in too. Simmer over medium-low heat until liquid is reduced, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter fresh coriander on top.


Substitute 450g of mixed vegetables or seafood for the chicken, if preferred.

See it on my blog

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Chicken Madras Recipe

Aug 4, 2019 · Modified: Jun 14, 2020 by Foodies Terminal 12 Comments 2761 words.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full discloser by Foodies Terminal for more details.

Restaurant style Chicken Madras Recipe that’ll become your new favorite. It’s even better than takeout, I say this because it’s made with a special homemade spice mix known as Madras Curry Powder. The secret taste lies in the masala powder & how you cook the whole recipe. Don’t miss the Video! 3 methods of cooking shared – Instant Pot or pressure cooker, slow cooker & stove top.

What is chicken Madras curry?

The preparation For chicken Madras can be divided into three parts. They are pretty independent so that you can prepare them separately at different times.

  1. The curry gravy has a thick and creamy texture, which forms the body of the curry. Some restaurants make a large batch and use it as the base for different curries. You can keep it for a few days in the refrigerator and a few months if frozen.
  2. The Madras curry powder is the indispensable ingredient for chicken Madras. The curry powder is prepared with a specific blend of spices that sets it apart from the other curry powder. The taste is different if you substitute it with another blend of curry powder. There is ready-made Madras curry powder available, so you can grab it from the Indian grocery store to save time. I have the recipe for you (in the note section below the main recipe) if you prefer to make it at home.
  3. The third part is the chicken itself. It is cooked with curry gravy, the Madras curry powder, and more herbs and spices. You can dish out the chicken Madras once you have the curry sauce and curry powder ready in less than twenty minutes.

Most regular curries consist of a blend of browned exciting spices, including fresh curry leaves, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, and cardamom. They tend to be yellow, with just a hint of spice and lots of savories.

While the specific spices involved can tend to vary in taste, It blows up the typical curry spice blend by including red chili or a combination of chili and paprika. The resulting flavor is quite spicy, which works wonderfully with creamy coconut milk and fresh herbs.

Traditional yellow curries and these days Madras curries both also tend to include garam masala, which is a mixture of all or some of the following roasted spices: cumin, coriander, green and cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves nutmeg, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel, mace, and dried chilies. It’s unexpectedly easy to make your own roasted garam masala combination right at home!

What is Madras curry?

Now let’s discuss what a Madras is. Back in the old days, you had three choices at British Indian restaurants, mild, spicy and very spicy.

The curries were all made the same way, just the amount of curry powder used was what made the difference between a chicken curry, a Madras which had about a tablespoon of chilli powder in it and a vindaloo which had three or four tablespoons of chilli.

Boring right? Over time, curry house chefs upped their game giving each of their curries their own characteristic flavour.

Mild chicken curries stayed about the same. Madras curries were flavoured with other ingredients seen often in southern Indian curries. Fresh green chillies were introduced for example and as in this recipe, a good dose of sweet mango chutney.

Vindaloos were made a lot more like the authentic Goan pork vindaloo. That said, pork wasn’t used as most curry houses are muslim run but they did add ingredients like vinegar and spicier fresh chillies to give their vindaloos. This gave them them a flavour that was different but equally as delicious to the Madras.

Madras curries are still medium heat curries where vindaloo will often give you a spicy kick to remember.

So that’s enough of all that! This chicken Madras curry is one of my all time curry house favourites. I hope you enjoy it too.

Easy Chicken Dinners

You don’t need to be a pro in the kitchen to whip up these delicious chicken dinners. Even beginner cooks will find that these no-sweat recipes come together with ease.

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Easy Southern Style Madras Chicken

My southern style Madras chicken gets paired with rice. I love having a veggie with every meal.

Given the Indian nature of this site, I thought I would hit things off with a good ole’ Indian curry.

This particular recipe comes right from my Mom’s cookbook. I’m sure there are variants as it’s super basic but at home we call it Madras Chicken. Although basic, this Southern Style Madras Chicken is super tasty and user friendly, with a spice level that is easy to adjust to your taste.

Getting Started with your Madras Chicken

An important step to this recipe is grinding up all of your spices. I personally like using our coffee grinder but make sure you wash it out first. You don’t want any coffee flavor in your Madras Chicken.

I use my coffee grinder to grind the cashews for this southern recipe.

My favorite thing about this recipe actually happens to be that it comes together WITHOUT the use of coconut milk. Now – I do love coconut milk so stop your gasping. It’s great in a lot of cuisines! I just get a little tired of google searching, “X Curry” and getting 10-ish entries of, “Add x curry paste from store, dump in gallon of coconut milk.” Which does taste great, really it does! But, sometimes I need the seduction of creativity and maybe something that’s a little easier on the waist line. The end result ends up being a savory, comforting recipe that, I want to say, is the #1 recipe I request when visiting home.

A pot of my southern style madras chicken always fills the kitchen with a great smell.

I paired this Southern Style Madras Chicken with brown rice in the final photo because I’m told it’s good for me. That being said my family would find anything short of long grain, white rice to be an abhorrent miscalculation. It really can go easily with any carb – white, jasmine, basmati rices, pita bread, roti, you name it. When no one is watching, I put it on wheat toast for breakfast…but that’s just me.

Note: I apologize for my dishonesty, EVEN with people watching, I still put this Madras Chicken on wheat toast for breakfast. #shameless

Not feeling Indian Food tonight? Try my Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana – It tastes even better than Olive Garden’s!

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Hashtag them #thehappyhaandi. And tag me @thehappyhaandi.

Absolutely, this curry can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for 3 days or the freezer for 1 month. Remember to defrost before reheating in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes.

Indeed it is… I have adapted an old recipe that uses a huge amount of oil to make is completley Syn Free when following the Slimming World plan.

If Chicken Madras is a little too spicy for you or not really your thing why not check out one of my other delicious curry recipes?

Everyone knows a curry is not a curry without a naan bread to mop up the sauce. Check out my Mini Low Syn Naan Bread recipe.

Madras Lentils

Have you ever tried these delectable little packages?

I adore them. Quick, easy, and seriously delicious.

My favorite is the Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, which tastes like an Indian-flavor-infused hearty vegetarian chili. Which is obviously right up my alley.

While you really can’t beat one-step-one-minute convenience, you CAN make a huge batch for really cheap in just a few hours at home.

Don’t be put off by the time it takes to make this madras lentils recipe. Out of the two hours total, only about 20 minutes is active time.

There’s lots of simmering action, so feel free to go about your day while your house starts to smell completely amazing.

I decided to use a mixture of adzuki and mung beans because they perfectly replicate the texture of this dish. If you have a hard time finding adzuki beans, use regular “small red beans.” The adzuki beans are really tasty, you can find them here on Amazon.

Don’t forget to plan for time to soak the adzuki beans overnight!

Mung beans are green and very round. When cooked they retain their shape and toothiness, so they add lots of great texture.

Unlike the adzuki beans, they don’t need to be soaked so they just get thrown in halfway through the cooking time.

So…. the elephant in the room.

Madras Lentils… without any lentils?

Yep. I tried making this with regular brown lentils, red lentils, and French lentils but it just wasn’t the same.

Trust me on this one and just go with it.

If you want to get really crazy you can double this recipe in a big ol’ 6-quart pot and stock your freezer with your very own instant Madras Lentils.

If you keep frozen prepared naan in your freezer (Trader Joe’s!) you’ll be seriously ready for lunchtime nirvana.

How to make chicken madras

Instant Pot Method


Step 1 - Turn on the instant pot to sauté (normal) and add the oil to the steel insert. Wait for the display to show HOT, then add the dry red chillies, cardamom pods and cloves.

Step 2 - When the spices start sizzling (a few seconds), add the onions and fry until they the just begin to brown. There is no need to caramelize them completely. Do stir them now and then to prevent uneven browning. This should take about 5 minutes.

Step 3 - Add the powdered spices and salt and stir rapidly for a few seconds. Add a couple tablespoons water immediately if you find the spices sticking to the bottom. You can even turn off the pot for a few seconds at this point and turn it on again when you are adding the rest of the ingredients. The heat that is built up already is enough to roast the spices.

Step 4 - Stir in the minced ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. As before, if the masala is sticking to the pot, loosen it with a few splashes of water.

Step 5 - Add the tomato puree, lemon juice and sugar. Mix everything well. Cancel sauté.

Step 6 - Slide in the chicken pieces and 1.5 to 2 cups water. Deglaze the pot and close the lid. Pressure cook for 7 minutes on high. Once the timer beeps, do a pressure release after 10 minutes.

Step 7 - Open the pot and sprinkle the kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves). Serve hot with naan or rice.

Stovetop method

Step 1 - Put a deep, heavy bottomed pan on the hob and add the oil. When the oil turns hot, add the dry red chillies, cardamom pods and cloves. They will sizzle in the hot oil.

Step 2 - Add the onions and fry until they the just begin to brown. There is no need to caramelize them completely. Do stir them now and then to prevent uneven browning. This should take about 5 minutes.

Step 3 - Add the powdered spices and salt and stir rapidly for a few seconds. Add a couple tablespoons water immediately if you find the spices sticking to the pan. You can even turn off the heat for a few seconds at this point and turn it on again when you are adding the rest of the ingredients. The heat that is built up already is enough to roast the spices.

Step 4 - Stir in the minced ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. As before, if the masala is sticking to the pan, loosen it with a few splashes of water.

Step 5 - Add the tomato puree, lemon juice and sugar. Mix everything well.

Step 6 - Slide in the chicken pieces and 2 cups water. Mix well and cover with a lid. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Give the contents a good stir once or twice in between.

Step 7 - Once the gravy has thickened and you can see the oil has left the sides of the pan, sprinkle the kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves) and mix well. Serve hot with naan or rice.