Chicken Madras Masala

We are back in India with another tasty recipe that will not enough leave your mouth feeling like its been on an amazing adventure and has spices and herbs that are really healing. Moving from spring into summer or summer into spring, I always have one crash and burn sickness and yes I never learn ! Coming out of a week of not feeling great I decided to get back into the kitchen and cook something full of spices and herbs. I always know I am feeling better once I want to get back into the kitchen. Some of the paste and garnish take a bit of effort but you can freeze or store them so make a big batch !

You will see some reference to ghee. This is clarified butter and is used in a lot of India recipe. It's supposed to be a much healthier alternative to butter as its easier to digest among other reasons. To learn how to make Ghee - Ghee Recipe

To make the curry base here is a good video Curry Base


  • 1lb boneless Chicken - Cut into pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp of Masala Madras (To make -8 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp black mustard seeds, 11 tbsp ground turmeric, 4 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp salt, 8 garlic cloves, crush 3 inches piece fresh ginger (ground), tbsp cider vinegar and 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 large spanish onion - Finely chop as small as you can
  • 1/2 cup ground or crushed tomatoes canned. I think ground worked really well
  • 1/1 tsp tamarind paste and 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped for garnish
  • Masala Madras Mix 2-3 tbsp of Masala Madras - To make -8 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 11 tbsp ground turmeric, 4 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp salt, 8 garlic cloves, crushed, 3 inches piece fresh ginger chopped, 1 tsp cider vinegar and 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • For the Garam Masala mix JUST to garnish To make - 1 tbsp Cumin Powder, 1 tbsp Coriander powder, 1 tsp salt to taste, 1 tsp garlic crush to a paste, 1 tsp ginger crushed into a paste, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds finely crushed, 1/2 tsp Chili powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1) How to prepare the Madras Masala mix

  • Heat up wok and dry stir-fry the coriander, cumin, and peppercorns for 1-2 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Add the black mustard seeds and toss constantly until they start to pop. Do watch the spices carefully that they don't get too dark or burnt.
  • Transfer the spices to cool on a plate. (The spices will continue to cook if you leave them in the wok to cool). Grind the cooled spices into a fine powder.
  • Add the turmeric, chili powder and salt, garlic, ginger and stir in enough vinegar to make a paste.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan at medium heat, fry the paste, stirring constantly until the oil begins to separate. Remove pan from heat and let the paste cool completely.
  • Keep the paste in a clean airtight container. Store in fridge and use it within 3 weeks.

Once you have all your spices ready, lets move and make the Chicken Madras Masala

2) Start with a good non stick pot that has a lid. Take ghee (See ghee above) and get it hot (ish) you don't want to discolor it. Turn to a low heat and cook onions until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. You can see from the video attached you want to cook the onions on a really low heat so they slowly caramelize. As in my previous recipe this is a true test of patience and I am not that patient but somehow with cooking its actually a nice game to go slow and take your time to explore all the flavors !

3) Add ground tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes again on a low heat, you want to make sure all the tomato is cooked through so keep stirring the mixture.

4) On a low heat combine the mixture with the Madras masala paste and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes. You should end up with something that looks like below:

5) Get your chicken and add to the mixture, you want to get the chicken covered fully with the Madras Masala. Cover the lid and let it simmer (low) for 15 minutes. Make the chunks of chicken big to absorb the flavor. Just keep watching it and stiring until you get a nice mixture as below:

6) Add the sugar and tamarind and lemon and mix well. Add the water slowly, keep stiring. Get that lid back on and leave it to cook for 20-30 minutes so the meat is melt in your mouth. You can serve with Roti OR rice !! For me I love it just by itself !

8) Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro and Garam Masala. I threw in some broccoli and corn roti to save eating with Rice or heavy wheat roti !

Enjoy !