On the hunt for a quick and easy Indian curry that has the perfect balance of spices? This is one you can never go wrong with. But before you go ahead and give this Madras chicken curry recipe a try, scroll down and keep reading to discover more about it, and some cool tips and tricks to get the recipe right!
What’s So Special About the Madras Chicken Curry?
India is known for its flavourful and tangy curries, and amidst everything that there is out there, you must be wondering what’s so special about the Madras chicken curry?
Well, to make the curry, you’ll need a special blend of spices, which you can make from scratch, or use a packaged version. This is also one of those curries that take under 30 minutes to prepare, and you don’t need to marinate the chicken, which makes it a great quick meal option.
If you want even more curry ideas for your menu, make sure to check out this mutton keema pav curry, a creamy Shahi paneer curry, or this delicious mushroom masala curry. All are delicious and offer unique flavors and textures to round out your menu.
Ingredients For the Curry
You'll need two sets of ingredients for this recipe. One, for the madras curry powder, and the other for the curry. If you're using a packaged curry powder mix, you'll obviously need only the ingredients for the curry.
For the Madras Curry Powder
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Fennel seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaves
- Fenugreek seeds
- Star anise
- Curry leaves
- Turmeric powder
- Kashmiri dried chiles
For the curry
- Fresh ginger
- Garam masala
- Red pepper flakes
- Madras curry powder (ingredients above)
- Unsweetened coconut milk
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Lemon juice
Kitchen Tools Needed
- Cutting board
- Small skillet
- Spice grinder
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to Make the Curry From Scratch
In a small skillet, roast the individual whole spices one at a time until just aromatic. This includes the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds, star anise, and cardamom pods.
Once all are roasted, transfer the roasted spices along with the turmeric powder and red pepper flakes to your spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder.
In a medium skillet or wok, heat the ghee over medium heat.
Add in the onions, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until onions are just tender.
Next, add in the garam masala, salt, red pepper flakes, and madras curry powder, and saute for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Next, add the chicken into the sauce and cover.
Let this simmer for 15 minutes while stirring regularly. If the sauce begins to reduce too much, add water by ⅛ cup increments.
After 15 minutes, add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
Serve garnished with freshly chopped coriander alongside rice and roti or naan.
Yes, you totally can! While this recipe takes you through the quickest process of making the curry powder yourself, from scratch, you could totally just use your store-bought curry powder to cut down your cooking time and kitchen effort.
Yes! If you prefer dark meat, you can easily use it in this recipe. The directions would remain the same as listed.
No. While it adds a great flavor to this madras chicken curry, it is not required. You can substitute for heavy cream or cow's milk if you prefer.
To store leftovers in the refrigerator, simply place in an airtight container and eat within 3 days of cooking. If you prefer to store long term, place into airtight freezer storage bags or containers once completely cooled. Label and date the container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in a skillet to serve.
Tips & Tricks to Make the Madras Chicken Curry
Feel like you’re ready for the recipe? Wait up! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind before you begin!
- To replicate the nice depth of flavours that most Indian curries at restaurants have, add a couple of pinches of kasuri methi aka dried fenugreek leaves into the curry. Make sure you add this towards the end of the cooking cycle to keep the curry from getting bitter.
- Just like most Indian curries, the Madras chicken curry relies on the easy base of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. Make sure you cook this base well, and then add in and adjust the spices based on your taste and spice tolerance. Remember that adding in the coconut milk or cream will reduce the spice levels in the curry.
- Cook the base on high heat. That’s the secret behind getting this curry right. Make sure you keep stirring so that your ingredients don’t burn. Then, once you’ve added in the chicken and the rest of the ingredients, let the curry simmer on low heat.
- If you don’t have chicken or are trying to substitute with any other protein, you can try using lamb or paneer (cottage cheese cubes) as well. Remember that the cooking times for these both will differ from each other and from the chicken.
- To make the curry quickly, you can also make it in a pressure cooker or your beloved Instant Pot.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Indian curries taste best when paired with the classics, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment a bit. Here are a few ideas to help you serve the Madras chicken curry right!
- Serve it with some piping hot Indian chapatis or homemade naan. If you prefer rice, some steamed Basmati rice should do the trick.
- Love the spicy kick that Indian food brings to your taste buds? Serve this curry with some hot and spicy lemon rice instead of your regular rice.
- Indian curries also taste great when served with a side of onion salad, some pickle and roasted poppadum.
- Making this curry for a crowd? You might want to team it up with a vegetarian curry like Rajma masala or Aloo Gobi.
- For appetizers, you can think of a simple Bengali aloo posto or some Kurkuri bhindi.
- And of course, no Indian spread is complete without some dessert. Whip up some mango shrikhand or Gajar halwa to finish it all up.
Easy Madras Chicken Curry Recipe
For the Madras Curry Powder
For the curry
- ¼ cup Ghee
- ½ cup Onions chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic minced
- ½ tsp Ginger minced
- 1 cup Tomatoes diced
- ¼ cup Unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tsp Madras curry powder
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Red chili powder
- ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- In a small skillet, roast the individual whole spices one at a time until just aromatic. This includes the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds, star anise, and cardamom pods.
- Once all are roasted, transfer the roasted spices along with the turmeric powder and red pepper flakes to your spice grinder and grind into a fine powder.
- In a medium skillet, heat the ghee over medium heat.
- Add in the onions, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until onions are just tender.
- Next, add in the garam masala, salt, red pepper flakes, and madras curry powder, and saute for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Next, add the chicken into the sauce and cover. Let this simmer for 15 minutes while stirring regularly. If the sauce begins to reduce too much, add water by ⅛ cup increments.
- After 15 minutes, add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Serve garnished with freshly chopped coriander alongside rice and roti or naan.