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How To Make Easy Chicken Madras Curry From Scratch

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Chicken Madras

Making chicken Madras from scratch is super easy. I love this curry!


Ever wondered how to make easy chicken Madras curry from scratch? Many people have asked me whether they can make curry house style curries like this chicken Madras without a base curry sauce.

You might know that I have an easy chicken Madras curry recipe here on the blog using a curry house style base sauce. But as you will see with this recipe,  the answer is most definitely yes. You can make chicken Madras from scratch! 

At curry houses around the UK and even around the world, chicken Madras is one of the most ordered curries there is. This easy chicken Madras is really simple but it’s not necessarily easier than curry house style Madras curries.

The difference is what some people call ‘easy’. I like to make curries the curry house way with a homemade base curry sauce. To me, that is what easy is. You might rather skip making the base sauce, slice up some onion and make your Madras as in this recipe. 

So what’s different with this easy chicken Madras curry recipe?

In this recipe you use more authentic Indian techniques for making the sauce. With this style of authentic cooking will will get excellent results. I can promise you your curry will be just as delicious but different to what you get at your local curry house.

What’s more, this recipe uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand in your freezer and/or larder (pantry).

So if you happen to be one of those people who doesn’t want to make or doesn’t have freezer space for the base sauce, this one’s for you.

How to make this easy chicken Madras curry recipe your own…

As you are reading this, you probably already know that Madras curries can be quite spicy, just under vindaloo on the heat scale.

When you make your own, however, the spiciness is completely down to you. Therefore, that is what I suggest you do. 

I used a rounded tablespoon of Kashmiri chilli powder but you could use less or more. Doing this will help ensure you get the right spiciness for you.

If you like the flavour of a Madras but not the spiciness, you could also substitute paprika which gives a great colour. 

I always add a few extra green chillies to mine.

Usually at curry houses, a special mixed powder is used like the one I have in my cookbooks. The mixed powder is essentially just a fancy and quite intense curry powder. If you have some, use it instead of the curry powder in the recipe.

If not, go ahead and use shop bought or homemade Madras curry powder

Madras curries are not usually really sweet but they do have a nice sweetness to them. For this reason, I recommend adjusting the sweetness to taste with more or less mango chutney than called for in the recipe.

What if I don’t eat and/or like chicken?

No worries there! Curry house curries are  all about the famous sauces. Therefore, you can substitute whatever you wish for the main ingredient just like you can when you go out for a curry. 

And I do mean anything. For instance, try red meat, veggies like cauliflower or jackfruit or just choose to use some cubed paneer. If it sounds good, it will be.

The curry will take longer to cook if not using pre-cooked meat and/or vegetables as a main ingredient. 

Making easy chicken Madras

Heat the oil and infuse those spices!

Making easy chicken Madras

Fry the onion until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and ginger paste.

Making easy chicken Madras

Stir in the chillies and ground spices and then add the tomatoes and water.

Making easy chicken Madras

I used pre-cooked tandoori chicken. You could also add raw chicken but the cooking time will be longer.

Making easy chicken Madras

In goes the mango chutney.

Making easy chicken Madras

A squeeze of lime juice is always a nice touch.

Making easy chicken Madras

Sprinkle with the kasoori methi and season with salt to taste.

Yield: 1 - 2

Easy Chicken Madras From Scratch

Chicken Madras
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 dry Kashmiri chillies (optional)
  • Seeds from two green cardamom pods
  • One large onion - finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 200g (7 1/2 oz) tinned (canned) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 300g (3/4 lbs) chicken (pre-cooked if you can.)
  • 1 tbsp smooth mango chutney
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp coriander - finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the dried chillies and cardamom seeds. Let these spices infuse into the oil for about 20 seconds.
  2. Add the chopped onion to the oil and fry for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Now add the green chillies, ground spices and chopped tomatoes and fry for another minute or so. Pour in 250ml (1 cup) of water and simmer for another one to two minutes.
  4. Stir the cooked chicken pieces. If you would rather use raw chicken, you might need to add a little more water to cook it.
  5. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, stirring regularly until the tomatoes and onions break down in the sauce. This will break create a sauce that is very similar to curry house style sauce. Unless you are in a hurry, there really is no hurry! Simmer the sauce, adding more water if needed until you are happy with the consistency.
  6. Stir in the mango chutney. Then season with salt to taste, squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with coriander to serve.

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Easy Chicken Madras Curry

Dig in. This one is so good if you’re a Madras fan.

So there you have it… how to make easy chicken Madras curry from scratch! I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you do give it a try, please be sure to let me know in the comments. 




Monday 14th of November 2022

Yet another fave in our house and so easy. I like to marinade the chicken in salt and lemon juice and then shallow fry to colour it before adding it too the curry. Thanks Dan 10/10

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

Really good to hear and great idea about the marinading. Thanks Dan


Saturday 4th of June 2022

Hello mate, if I wanted to make this with 1kg of chicken, should I double all the ingredients? Cheers

Caroline Toombs

Monday 6th of June 2022

Yes, just double the ingredients but may be a bit careful with the hot spices, add those gradually to taste. Thanks Dan


Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Excellent recipe. The sauce has a wonderful consistency. I am not convinced base gravy is at all important. It just speeds up the process.

Dan Toombs

Friday 21st of January 2022

Thanks very much for letting me know, good to hear. Dan


Friday 4th of September 2020

I LOVE this recipe ... I've made it a few times and my family can't get enough of it... <3

Dan Toombs

Sunday 6th of September 2020

Good to hear. Thanks Dan

Ian Porter

Tuesday 24th of March 2020

Hi Dan - how much onion did you use ?



Monday 13th of April 2020

There’s no onion in the ingredients list :-)

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 25th of March 2020

I used two medium onions as that was what I had on hand. One large will do the job too. Don't worry too much about it. It all cooks down into the sauce. No need to get your scales out. :-)

Thanks, Dan

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