Chicken Madras

This chicken madras recipe originated in Chennai the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu which is located in the South East of the Indian subcontinent

Curries from this region are known for their fruitiness and spiciness. This madras chicken is medium hot and well balanced. 

Preparation time: 20 minutes 
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Resting time: N/a
Total time needed: 80 minutes
Difficulty: standard

Chicken Madras

  • 3 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 onions, finely
  • One 2.5 cm / 1 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped(or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300 g / 10.5 ounces ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 70 ml / 0.42 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. garam Marsala
  • 2 red chilies (cayenne), finely chopped, – If you like it spicier add more
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste 
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)


  • In a large pan heat the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion, reduce heat to medium and cook until onions begin to become translucent, stirring them frequently in the process.
  • Add chilies, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Next add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon stick, coriander, curry leaves, lime leaves, palm sugar and chili powder and cook everything for an additional minute.
  • Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and add them to the pan. Add a little extra oil to the pan if needed and stir-fry contents of the pan till onions and chicken are golden brown.
  • Now add the finely chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and water. Stir everything gently with a spatula, partially cover with the lid, bring to the boil and let everything simmer gently for 40 minutes. During this time stir the curry a few times and add another 100 ml / 0.42 cups of water in case the mixture is becoming too dry.
  • Add coconut milk, salt and garam Marsala to the curry and let it simmer for 10 minutes before serving. The coconut milk mellows down the heat of the curry for those who enjoy it less spicy and adds another note of richness to it.
  • If needed add salt to taste and serve the chicken  madras curry hot with rice or naan bread.

Suggested variations

  • To add some extra color to the dish add a teaspoon of turmeric to the rice before you start to cook it. This will give the rice a rich yellowish color and taking into consideration that Turmeric has been attributed with many health benefits (for example assisting in cancer prevention) will add another bonus to the meal as well. 

Banana Chicken Curry

Bombay Chicken Curry

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Street food of Chennai

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