This Indian chicken Madras recipe puts together all the know-how you have developed over the last three articles. The curry created here is spicier and tastier than you’ll get from any store-bought cook-in sauce, and is much more in the BIR – British Indian Restaurant – tradition, so it’ll taste like you bought it from a takeaway or at the restaurant. You’ll stun your friends and family with this one!
Remember in Part 1, we talked about the crucial items required to make a great curry. Then in Part 2, we jumped in and set about making a wonderful masala powder, or mix powder. Last time, in Part 3, it was time to produce a versatile base gravy or curry sauce, which can be made ahead of time on a fairly large scale. Then it can be separated into portions and stored in the freezer for use later on. Okay, let’s get cooking!
Ingredients For Chicken Madras
- 2 chicken breasts diced into bite-sized pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- half inch cube of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- fresh chilies, finely chopped (to your own taste – I normally use 3-4 jalapenos)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp Madras curry powder (store bought is fine)
- 1 tsp Mix Powder
- 1 tsp hot chili powder
- 0.5 tsp tandoori masala (optional, adds a nice flavor but omit if unavailable)
- 1 cup (approx half pint) Base Gravy
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- juice of half a small lemon
- oil for cooking
How To Cook The Authentic Chicken Madras
Once you get going with this recipe, things happen quite quickly. It is best to do all the preparations beforehand. So chop the chicken, and the garlic, ginger and chilies and have them ready to use. If using frozen Base Gravy, obviously leave time for it to fully defrost before attempting the curry.
Seal the Chicken
First, get your wok or pan hot and then add some oil (1 tablespoon should suffice for this size of recipe). Then add the cubed chicken and stir-fry for a few minutes until it has sealed and turned white.
Spice it Up
Next, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to combine, cooking for a further minute or two. Add the tomato puree followed by the powdered ingredients (Madras powder, Mix Powder, chili powder, tandoori masala). Be careful at this stage – you might want to turn down the heat for a while. I usually slide the wok off the heat while I stir to combine all the ingredients and coat the chicken in the spices.
Be careful not to burn the mixture at this point as the burnt taste will pervade the entire curry – the point of no return, and you’ll have to ditch it and start over. You DO need to cook for a while though – gently – to cook out the tomato.
Add the Base Gravy
Next add about a quarter of the Base Gravy and stir to loosen everything up and coat all the meat. Once everything is incorporated, you can gradually begin to add the rest of the Base Gravy, one ladle at a time.
Every time you add a ladle of curry base, stir to combine and make sure nothing is sticking to the pan or burning, but otherwise leave it to cook out for a while and reduce. Keep adding the sauce until you have added it all. Then add the salt, sugar and lemon juice before turning down the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing burns to the base of the pan or wok.
Garnish and Serve
At the end of cooking, turn off the heat and add half the cilantro to the curry. Stir it in to combine. Serve with rice or Indian breads and garnish with the remaining cilantro. Then enjoy!
I hope this series has been useful, and I will post more curries in future so that you’re not stuck with just Madras. As with most cookery, feel free to modify with your own ideas – you could add some vegetables if you like. Or try a different meat instead of chicken. And you can make this as hot as you like – or remove some of the chilies if you like your curries a little milder. Have fun experimenting.