Madras Chicken Curry

Like many others Indian dishes this Madras chicken curry has great appeal. The Indian cuisine is outstanding in its sheer endless possible variations and the amazing play on the taste buds   

This curry originated from the Southeast Indian province of Tamilnadu with its capital city Madras or Chennai as the Tamil people of this region call it. Chennai is the 4th largest city of India.

Preparation time: 45 minutes 
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Resting time: N/a
Total time needed: 105 minutes
Difficulty: normal

This recipe was inspired by:  David from


  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into cubes
  •  Some coconut oil
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • One 3 cm / 1.2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300 g / 10.5 ounces ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 100 ml / 0.42 cups tomato puree
  • 250 ml / 1.05 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 red chilies (cayenne), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne chili powder, to taste – If you like it spicier add more
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 4 lime leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 100 ml / 0.42 cups fresh cream (optional)

Madras Chicken Curry

  • 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 continue to stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Next add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon stick, coriander, curry leaves, lime leaves 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, 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.
  • Then add the garam masala and let everything simmer gently for another 10 minutes.
  • If needed add salt to taste and serve the madras chicken  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 turn the rice into 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 note to the meal as well. 
  • Add fresh cream to the curry and let it simmer for 10 minutes before serving. This mellows down the heat of the curry for those who enjoy it less spicy and adds another note of richness to it. 

Serves 4

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