Chicken madras recipe

Typical south Indian curry – Chicken Madras, full of flavour and quite fiery due to the amount of chilli used. But I created a family-friendly madras recipe that is rather mild. Tender chicken, rich coconut milk sauce, and weeknight dinner is sorted. Uncomplicated yet full of flavour this easy recipe is a keeper.

Madras curry chicken thighs on a plate

Chicken Madras

chicken in madras sauce on a plate with basmati rice and fresh coriander leaves

Ingredients for this easy chicken curry recipe

Now we have spoken about how good this curry is for us, let’s see what we will need to make this easy chicken madras recipe. All simple ingredients, everything easily found in the supermarket or your local Indian grocery store.

ingredients needed to make chicken madras curry
  • Chicken thighs, skin on, bone-in, organic or free-range if possible. Feel free to use the whole chicken.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh curry leaves are probably the most important part of this dish, so try to find them.
  • Large onion, finely chopped. Any onion is fine, white onion, brown onion, red onion…
  • Garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped. Fresh is the best.
  • Fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Diced tomatoes, always use tomatoes in a BPA-FREE tin. You also can use tomato puree.
  • Coconut milk
  • Fresh coriander to serve
  • Madras curry powder or you can use my spice blend below.

Mild Madras Spice blend

  • Ground turmeric
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin
  • Chilli powder, skip it if cooking for kids!!
madras curry spice mix

How to make chicken madras curry

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped onion, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and gently fry for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Stir frequently. Low the heat if vegetables are starting to burn.
  3. Now add the dry spices such as chilli (if using), turmeric, coriander and cumin, and fry for 2 minutes, the spices should release the aroma.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and salt, stir and cover with the lid. Lower the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Time to add the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces around until they are fully coated in the spice mix. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes on very low heat.
  6. Now add coconut milk, stir and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. 
  7. Serve with fresh cilantro (coriander), fresh chillies, gluten-free naan bread, and basmati rice. Enjoy!


  • Make it Mild Madras. As I mentioned above madras is a spicy curry. You can omit the chilli powder or add just a little if cooking for the family and little ones. The curry is very flavoursome and well-liked by kids, so don’t be afraid to make it very mild, it won’t lack in flavour.
  • Make it Lamb or Beef Madras. You can easily swap chicken meat for red meat. Both lamb and beef will work in this recipe.
  • Make it Vegan Madras. Madras curry can be easily cooked as a vegetarian or a vegan dish. Cauliflower will be the best vegetable to use instead of chicken. Just reduce cooking time in step from five to ten minutes.
chicken madras curry served with basmati rice

Is Madras Chicken gluten-free?

Madras curry sauce is naturally gluten-free, as are most Indian food. The staples of Indian cuisine are meat, vegetables and spices. And if you skip the naan bread, you can enjoy most of the meals in your favourite Indian restaurant.

Remember though, if you are eating out, always check before ordering, some sauces might contain gluten.

This easy chicken madras curry recipe is absolutely gluten-free! As are all recipes on this site. Enjoy!

Is This Madras Curry Sause spicy?

The Madras is typically one of THE spiciest within the Indian curries. It contains Kashmiri chili powder which makes this a very spicy dish.

However, you are in total control of the spice level:

  • You can use madras powder to cook this dish and make it hot.
  • Alternatively, you can use my spice mixture in the recipe card below and make it completely mild. The choice is yours!

More Delicious Indian Recipes

How to store chicken madras

Have some leftovers? Refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

How to freeze

You can also freeze it in a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container. Defrost it naturally overnight and reheat it. If the sauce became too thick, simply add a splash of water or coconut milk.

chicken madras on a plate with fresh coriander and chilies

Chicken Madras Recipe

Elena Elliott
This simple chicken madras recipe is absolutely delicious. Tender chicken cooked in coconut milk with lots of spices such as coriander, turmeric, and cumin. Enjoy!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 kg chicken thighs skin on, bone-in You can also use Marylands
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed or finely chopped
  • 3 cm fresh ginger grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup good quality coconut milk
  • 1/2 tin organic diced tomatoes always use tomatoes in a BPA-FREE tin
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cummin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder skip it if cooking for kids
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh coriander to serve


  • Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Gently fry the onions, garlic, coriander, and curry leaves for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Stir frequently. 
  • Add spices such as chili (if using), turmeric, coriander, and cumin. Fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and salt, stir and cover with the lid. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add chicken turning them around until they are fully coated in the spice mix. Cover and cook for 30 minutes on very low heat.
  • Now add coconut milk, stir and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. 
  • Serve with fresh coriander and basmati rice. Enjoy!



This recipe is adapted from The Hot and Spicy Book by Charmaine Solomon.
Keyword chicken curry, Indian curry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    Habe das Rezept für Hähnchenflügel benutzt, es sehr lecker, und als Beilage habe ich auch einfach Reis gekocht, Danke Lenochka!!!

  2. 5 stars
    This chicken madras sounds so flavorful and I am thankful that you made it milder for those of us that can’t handle spice. I’m looking forward to making this for my family.

  3. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was a savory success! Definitely, a new favorite recipe; my whole family loved it!

5 from 5 votes

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