Last updated on December 19th, 2018 at 10:38 am
Tender chicken wrapped in a slightly spicy tomato sauce, this Chicken Madras is the perfect gateway Indian chicken curry recipe! If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at Indian curries, this is the recipe to start with!
Fragrant, spicy and creamy, I’ve had a love affair with Indian curries for years. When the weather starts turning chilly, nothing beats a bowl of One Pan Indian Coconut Chicken Curry , Chicken Korma, Easy Skillet Chicken Biryani or Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry with a side of naan bread! Ah, but this Madras Chicken? This is the Indian chicken curry recipe that I make over and over again.
In the interests of full disclosure though… this is not an “authentic” Indian curry dish, but rather a British take on south Indian chicken curries. Named for Madras, a city in the south of India (since it’s based on the curries from that region), Chicken Madras was actually created by British restaurants in the 1970’s. So, when traveling to India, don’t expect to find this on the menu!
So, why am I so enamored of Madras Chicken?
Why you are going to love this Indian Chicken Curry Recipe:
Let me count the ways…
- it’s very quick to make (even if you don’t have an Instant pot).
- you don’t need any exotic ingredients – everything you need for the recipe you can find at your local grocery store.
- You can make it milder or spicier depending upon your tastes.
- It’s a “freezer meal” dream!
- The technique for making the sauce is one you are definitely going to want to use in other recipes!
Have I convinced you yet? Excellent! Let’s get to it, shall we?
How to make Madras Chicken:
Step #1: add the onions, garlic, ginger, and pepper to a food processor or blender…
Step #2: Blitz it! This technique is awesome BTW because (a) you don’t get chunks of peppers (ouch!) and it gives the sauce great body!
Step #3: Add the onion mixture to your instant pot (or to a skillet!) and cook off some of that water… then add the spices and cook for another minute or two!
Step #4: Add the chicken and cook until it’s browned on all sides. Then add in the crushed tomatoes. If using the instant pot, add the lid and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. If using a skillet, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and add a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step #5: When the curry is done cooking, remove the chicken and cook the sauce down if it’s a bit too watery. Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve!
Tips for making Madras Chicken:
- Worried the dish will be too spicy? Start with half a jalapeno. If the sauce isn’t spicy enough, you can add some cayenne pepper.
- If this Indian chicken curry turns out spicier than you’d like, serve it with some plain greek yogurt to tame the heat.
- For a vegetarian curry, substitute chickpeas for the chicken – just remember you’ll need to adjust your cooking times accordingly!
- I like to serve this over rice, cauliflower rice or with a side of my yogurt flatbreads or naan if I have it.
- Double the recipe and freeze the other half!
I hope you enjoyed this Chicken Madras! If so, you might these other Indian Recipes.
Madras Chicken: Indian Chicken Curry Recipe
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and blotted dry
- 1 onion
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 knob ginger one inch
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon garam masala OR 1 teaspoon each, cumin, coriander and pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons hot chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno to a mini food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is pureed.
- Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat the oil in the instant pot on the saute setting. Add the onion mixture and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.
- Add the spices and salt to the onion mixture and cook for 1 - 2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook until all sides are brown, about 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir.
- Place the lid on the instant pot and set to pressure cook for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes do a manual release and, once the steam has escaped, open the instant pot. If the sauce is too watery, remove the chicken and cook the sauce on the saute setting until thickened.
For cooking in a skillet:
- Follow steps 1 and 2 above. Add the oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat.
- Add the onion mixture and saute for 3 - 5 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Add the spices and salt and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken and saute until the chicken has browned all over. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a lid on the pan. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165 on a meat thermometer) and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too thin, remove the chicken and boil the sauce until the sauce is thick enough to coat the chicken. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Remove from the heat and serve.
- This recipe only uses 1 Tablespoon of oil so make sure you blot the chicken well with a paper towel to keep it from sticking!
- If at all possible, use garam masala! Check out my Indian Market Shopping Guide for details about this spice! I love using this spice mix and find many uses for it in my kitchen in dishes like this One Pan Indian Coconut Chicken Curry and this Spiced Potato Hash.
- If you are worried this Madras Chicken Recipe will be too spicy, start with half the jalapeno called for. Also, you could use regular chile powder instead of a spicier version.
- This indian chicken curry recipe is really more of a template. Feel free to add some vegetables to it if you wish - cauliflower and peas would be a great addition.
- If you'd enjoy a creamier version, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
- If the curry is still too spicy, add a few squirts of lemon juice and/or serve with plain greek yogurt to tame the heat!