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4.65 from 14 votes

Indian Chicken Madras Curry Recipe

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!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time23 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 227kcal


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 ½ 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
  • ½ 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. 
  • Serve! 

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. 


Recipe Notes: 
  • 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 ½ 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! 


Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 890mg | Potassium: 856mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 630IU | Vitamin C: 20.5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2.4mg