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Simple Madras Curry Recipe

Updated on September 20, 2017
tonymead60 profile image

Tony is a curry maniac, and has been cooking them since 1970. He has travelled to India many times in search of recipes.

Madras India

I’ve traveled a lot in India and love it. The people are fantastic, as warm as their climate and as friendly as you will meet anywhere in the world. Their food and culture is wonderful. It is a place full of mystery and exotic sights.

Here in Britain, we have had connections with Madras since the 17th century. Not always a happy relationship, but it worked well at times for everyone concerned.

Madras is known these days as Chennai and is the capital of Tamil Nadu.

This is my favourite curry, one I eat at least once a week, especially when I’m enjoying the cricket of the IPL.

Although, to be honest, there is no true Madras curry. It is another British Curry House curry. It has come to represent a slightly hotter-than-usual curry here in the UK.

You can use whatever meat you prefer for this, or try a vegetarian option and use lentils and chickpeas to replace the meat. Potatoes and chickpeas make a great alternative.

Madras Curry

5 stars from 2 ratings of Madras Curry

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours 15 min
Yields: 4 good sized portions


  • 2 lb [1kg] meat [your choice], cubed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, washed
  • 4 green cardamom pods, split
  • 1 fresh ginger, chopped very fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmir chilli powder
  • 1 dessertspoon each of turmeric, cumin, paprika, corriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pint meat or vegatable stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes, tinned or fresh.
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine

How to make your curry

  1. Chop and prepare your vegetables. Get everything ready before you start will making this dish easier.
  2. Measure out your spices, and set them aside for when you need them.
  3. Toast your spices in a warm pan. Once they start to give off a wonderful fragrance, you are ready for the next stage.
  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter [ghee is better]. Stir and melt into your spices mix into a paste.
  5. Add 1/2 pint of stock and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Take this pan off the heat.
  7. Put the onions and celery into a pan, and sweat for 5 mins.
  8. Add some oil or a little more ghee and fry until the onions are transparent.
  9. Mix the spices and the onions together, and make sure there is enough liquid to cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Cook you cubed meat in a medium hot pan, and then add it to the spice and onion mix. When the meat has coloured slightly, make sure you keep stirring it well.
  11. Add the tomatoes cloves, garlic, and cardamom pods.
  12. Transfer to a cook pot, and place in the oven for an hour.

Always be patient with your cooking. Don't skip or hurry sections of it, or it will show in the finished dish. Also, cook with love in your heart, that way those who eat it will receive your love.

chopped ready for the pan
chopped ready for the pan | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The spices slowly cook and give off the most wonderful fragrance.Cooked in a cast-iron pan.Raita, the perfect accompaniment to any curry.
The spices slowly cook and give off the most wonderful fragrance.
The spices slowly cook and give off the most wonderful fragrance. | Source
Cooked in a cast-iron pan.
Cooked in a cast-iron pan. | Source
Raita, the perfect accompaniment to any curry.
Raita, the perfect accompaniment to any curry. | Source

Madras modern day Chennai

A markermadras -
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
get directions

Using a Tandoori cooking pot

My favourite cooking pot is definitely my well seasoned Tandoori pot. It is so well seasoned that I hardly need to add any seasoning to the food cooked in it. If i could only take one cooking pot to my dessert island then this would be it.

Tandoori Oven

my favourite cooking pot Tandoori oven
my favourite cooking pot Tandoori oven | Source
cooked to perfection in this well seasoned pot
cooked to perfection in this well seasoned pot | Source

What shall I eat with my Curry

I usually eat my curry with chapatis, I've added a link to my site giving easy directions how you can make your own.

You can eat it with rice, try adding pomegranate seeds, cloves or coconut milk to your rice for a really interesting flavour.

Make a Raita using yogurt, cucumber and mint as a really nice side dish.

try a light rose wine, or a white with a sharp edge pinot blanc or similar


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    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire


      thank you for kind comments. Yes I have been to India and SriLanka a number of times, but now that the visa is £250 pp I'm not sure that I will be back. Perhaps to Sri Lanka that I do not need a visa to visist. Wonderful country, peaple and food.



    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Really enjoyable. You have done a fine job. Also glad to know that you have some India travel experience. Please see some of my hubs related to Indian Tourism. Thank you for sharing.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire


      thank you for the comment and for calling by, I hope you try my recipe and enjoy it.



    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire


      thank you for calling by and for the comment, I hope you try it and enjoy it.



    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire


      Hi thanks for dropping in again my friend. Appreciate the vote and more. Give it a try, it's my favourite.

      regards Tony

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, this is interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 4 years ago

      Lol! Tom, you've got an entire city named after you!

      Hi tonymead60 thanks for the recipe!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend this is such a awesome recipe and will try this because i love anything cooked with curry. Nice to see you used my name brand of chilli powder because it's one of the best.

      Vote up and more !!! Sharing !