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Madras Curry Sauce

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A Madras curry sauce  just like you get at the best curry houses!

In my cookbook, ‘The Curry Guy’ I featured a lamb Madras recipe to serve four. The thing is, that madras curry sauce doesn’t have to only be served with lamb.

Madras curry sauce

Madras curry sauce with chicken. You can add the main ingredient of your choice. Paneer is good!

When you go out for a curry and see the madras option on the menu, you also get to choose your main ingredient or ingredients to go into your curry. 

When you cook a madras curry sauce at home, you can do the same thing. Make the deliciously spicy madras curry sauce with the main ingredients of your choice and you will be in curry heaven!

You might like to try the madras curry sauce with tandoori chicken or paneer for example. Make this curry sauce and you can have it the way you like and it will be even better than you get when you go out. 

Pre-cooked ingredients are used in curry house style curries.

You will want to plan your meal so that you can make it just like they do at the best curry houses. For best results, add pre-cooked ingredients to your madras sauce such as tandoori chicken tikka, lamb tikka, jumbo prawns or paneer. 

Ingredients like jumbo prawns and paneer cook quickly so you could cook them in the sauce from raw. That said, your curry will be even better if you have it with marinated and grilled paneer or prawns. 

Meat such as beef and lamb could also be cooked from raw but they will take much longer, up to an hour, to cook in the sauce.

For flavour and time reasons, therefore, try grilling up your main ingredients and you will love the results even more. 

Curry house style curries use a base sauce.

All curry houses use a base sauce (gravy) to make their traditional British curries. The base sauce is quite bland, like a chicken or vegetable stock is bland. The magic happens when you add that base sauce to your madras sauce!

Do I have to prepare a base curry sauce to make a restaurant style curry?

The answer to that question is yes and no. If you want to make a madras curry sauce like you would expect from a great curry house, you need to make the base sauce. My ‘go to’ recipe is here. Use that authentic base sauce recipe and you will get a madras curry that is even better than when you go out. 

On the other hand, you could make your madras curry sauce using more authentic Indian cooking methods. The result won’t be that smooth sauce you find at quality restaurants but it will still be delicious. 

Madras curry ready to serve.

Dig in!

If you like this Madras sauce recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house favourites too…

Tikka masala sauce
Korma sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chasni sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Ceylon sauce
Pathia sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Vindaloo sauce
Phaal sauce

Yield: 1 - 2

Madras Curry Sauce Recipe - BIR Curry House Style

Madras curry sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 dried Kashmiri chillies
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) base sauce
  • 1 tbsp smooth mango chutney or lime pickle
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat your pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the dried Kashmiri chillies and cardamom pods.
  2. Move these whole spices around in the oil for about 30 seconds and then add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Add the green chillies followed by the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and mixed powder and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon in the tomato puree followed bye a ladle full of the base sauce. This is the perfect time to add your main ingredient of choice. You could also just keep making the sauce to serve later with any main ingredient.
  5. Stir in the mango chutney and lime juice. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes only stirring if the sauce is obviously sticking to the pan.
  6. To finish, sprinkle the garam masala over the top, garnish with the fresh coriander (cilantro) and season with salt to taste.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 633mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 5gSugar: 23gProtein: 3g

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I hope you enjoy this authentic madras curry sauce recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Friday 23rd of February 2024

Hi Dan,

Just to say thank you because I love your recipes - the Chicken Tikka Masala is my personal favourite - using the Tandoori Partridge marinade followed by the stovetop Dhungar smoking method.

But I'm struggling to get to what I'm used to for this BIR Madras recipe. I'm doing all the steps ie Base gravy, mixed powder, pre-cooked meat and the cooking method. I even bought a proper chef's curry pan from a supplier in Coventry (I live in Australia by the way).

I get pretty close when I add 2tsp Sugar, 2tbsp Yoghurt & some extra whole spices ie Star Anise, Black Cardamons (like you might see in a Rogan Josh).

Do you think that BIR restaurants would be adding these particular ingredients into their Madras or Vindaloo curries?

Thanks John

Dan Toombs

Saturday 24th of February 2024

Thanks for your message and I appreciate your comments. I think there is a good chance some BIR restaurants use those ingredients so for for it. Dan


Friday 19th of January 2024

Hi Dan,

I have 2 of your books, the BIR recipes are amazing, especially for an American!

I don't have any dried Kashmiri chillies, but I do have the powder. Can I substitute the dried chillies for the powder?

If yes, how many tsp/tbsp would I use per dried chilli?


Dan Toombs

Friday 19th of January 2024

Yes if that’s all you have use it but it will be hotter than the dried ones. I’d say add it very gradually to taste but you’ll probably only need about a teaspoon. Thanks for buying my books! Dan

Ian McIntosh

Monday 17th of October 2022

is this recipe for 4 people?


Thursday 21st of September 2023

@Dan Toombs, Hi Dan. Do I chop the green chillis? Was wondering as can't see where else the heat comes from as no chilli powder is going in.

Dan Toombs

Friday 21st of October 2022

The recipe is for 2 people. Thanks Dan


Saturday 11th of June 2022

Hi, any idea why when I made this it tasted very sweet? Not sure where I went wrong. I tried to make it again without the chutney but it still tasted sweet

Caroline Toombs

Tuesday 14th of June 2022

I'm not really sure either. There are no sweet ingredients in it. Just keep experimenting. Thanks Dan

Ashwell Bistro

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

Hi Dan, went out of the way to make the Madras Curry Sauce together with your Garam Masala Mixed Powder and Curry Base Sauce. Amazing. An incredible sauce and probably like you enjoy the chillis at the end together with the lime. Absolutely amazing. Thank you.

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

Really pleased you enjoyed it so much. Thanks Dan

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