Chicken Madras is a mild, Indian curry dish, original from the Southern part of India, near the city ‘Madras’. It’s a mild, creamy rice-dish with a hint of sweet and sourness because of the apple you add at the very end. It is the perfect food for a weekday supper at home. Because it’s not very spicy, it is also the ideal Indian dish to start with when you are still in a learning curve regarding (spicy) Indian food.
I really like Chicken Madras, but unfortunately this dish is so often made with a ready-to-cook sauce you buy in the supermarket, and you only have to add chicken and rice. These supermarket sauces are full of sugars and E-numbers, and I always wonder how you could conserve a sauce like that for months, outside the fridge? Probably because of all the (unnecessary) added ingredients.
Anyway, a Madras Curry paste is easy to make yourself, but takes a bit more time and effort. It’s a good idea to make your paste a day (or more) upfront. First of all the flavours have time to infuse and mix, and the second reason is that when you are in a rush during weekday cooking hour, you have your paste ready! But of course you can also make both the Madras Paste and the actual dish on the same day. Today I will share this great recipe to make your own Chicken Madras. Without packets and sachets or pre-cooked sauces.
For the paste
Ingredients (for four people)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, roasted and grounded
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and grounded
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ tablespoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon paprika powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chilli or cayenne pepper (powder)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1,5-2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Other: sterilised jam jar
Dry roast and ground the coriander and cumin seeds. You can also use coriander and cumin powder, but keep in mind you’ll need a bit more then, as the seeds are stronger in taste than the powder. Also ground and add the mustard seeds, and then rest of the dry ingredients (paprika, turmeric, black pepper, chilli powder). You can do this in a bowl, mortar or shake it all together in a jam jar with the lid on.
Now take a bowl, crush garlic and grate ginger. Add the dry ingredients together with the oil and lemon juice. Mix all with a fork or in a mortar until it’s a paste.
If you don’t use it direct: Put the mixture in a sterilised jam jar and (as long as there always is thin layer of oil on top) you can keep in in the fridge for a week, or two. Now your base for the Chicken Madras is ready!
This paste is also ideal for other curry recipes, such as vegetarian chickpea curry, or us it to rub in fish before frying.
This is how your Madras paste will look like…. Right, not very attractive. But that doesn’t matter! It’s about the flavour.
For the Chicken Madras
Ingredients (for four)
350 gram chicken fillet, room temperature
4 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1-2 red chilli pepper(s), finely chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and in cubes
280 gram chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
150 gram green beans, blanched and halved
3 tablespoons Madras curry paste (see recipe above)
400 ml coconut milk (1 can), or Greek yoghurt if you prefer so
6 spring onions, finely chopped, in rings
coriander, the leaves, roughly chopped, to serve
basmati rice, to serve
naan bread or roti, to serve
pepper and salt
*Note: if you’d like to keep the Chicken Madras a real mild curry, you could leave out the red chilli pepper
Cut the chicken in stripes and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Peel the tomatoes: cut a cross at the top of the tomato, dip in boiling water for about 40 seconds and then dip in ice water. Take away the peel and cut in cubes. You can use this water to cook your rice in later, so don’t throw it away but let it simmer over low heat.
Chop the onion, crush the garlic, blanch and half the green beans and drain and rinse the chickpeas.
Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and fry the chicken until golden brown at all sides. Take the chicken out and keep aside in a bowl.
Heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok and sauté the onion over medium heat in 4-5 minutes until soft, but not coloured. Add the garlic, red chilli pepper, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the curry paste and stir-fry a few more minutes. Then add the coconut milk (or yoghurt), stir in and add the chicken back again. Simmer for about 10 minutes, so the sauce will thicken. Taste the sauce and season if necessary. If the sauce remain too thick, simply add some water.
In the meanwhile cook the rice in the peeled tomatoes water, with a pinch of salt. Peel the appel and cut into cubes.
Prepare your roti or naan bread as described on the packaging.
Add the apple and half of the coriander the last minutes to the Madras Curry, stir in.
Serve the curry, together with the rice, roti or naan bread and fresh coriander.
Optional: Make a simple cucumber raita with yoghurt, garlic, cucumber, pepper and salt, to serve with.