indian restaurant madras curry

Indian restaurant madras curry is one of the great ones. Madras curry is on every single restaurant menu for a reason. It’s absolutely delicious.

It’s on the hotter end of the scale. A spicy curry. It can even be a really spicy curry. Some restaurants go a little overboard I find. I like blazing hot madras curry. But not everybody does.

So this version isn’t so hot – medium spicy really. That’s the nice thing about cooking it yourself.  You control the heat.

Like it blazing hot? Add more kashmiri chili powder or use one the hotter Indian chili powders. Want your kids to eat it? Roll the kashmiri chili back a bit. It’s up to you.

This is how they do it in restaurants

This madras curry is done in the restaurant style. Like you get when you eat out. Pretty much exactly. It’s all about the prep. Cooking it takes 10 minutes. 

Restaurants don’t have big pots of curry sitting around hoping somebody will come and order it. They cook to order. 

It’s totally different from home style cooking. Homestyle is about low and long braises. Restaurant style is about speed and efficiency. But with lots of flavour.

Chicken madras in an Indian copper bowl from above.

Curry base is the secret

Curry base is a game changer. It’s the way they do it. The foundation of Indian restaurant style cooking. Amazing stuff.

Indian curries generally rely on caramelized onions. That’s what makes them what they are. You need to get that into your dish. And curry base is how restaurants do it. For madras curry. For pretty much all curries.

There’s not much to curry base. It’s basically a whole lot of boiled onions with some flavouring. Tastes like a weak onion curry soup. Bland.

You’d never guess that something so bland can become so good. That’s where the technique comes in.

Bowl of chicken madras curry with rice and lentils from above.

High heat and enough oil makes Indian restaurant madras curry work

The key to making this work is heat. High heat. At the right time. When the curry base hits the pan you want it caramelize. Fast. 

It’s a balancing act. The oil can’t be too hot when you bloom the spices. They will burn. Medium heat. Garlic ginger paste goes in next. Tomato after that. 

Once you have some wet ingredients in your pan your spices are safe. That’s when you crank it. High heat. 

Curry base goes in a bit at a time. You don’t want to cool your pan down too much. Maybe half a ladle at first. Then a full ladle. Then the rest. Somehow it works if you do that.

Read the Indian restaurant curry technique guide

There’s a post that covers the technique and the ingredients you need here. Do yourself a favour. Read it. It will help you understand what you are trying to do.

The recipe below does cover madras curry accurately. If you’ve made a few curries in this style you should have no problem. But if you are just getting started read the guide. It makes things so much easier.

Do your prep before you get started. Make your curry base and have some heated and ready to go. Pre-cook your meat. Measure out your ingredients. Have everything at hand. Put on some old clothes – making restaurant curries is messy stuff.

Watch the video

Chicken madras doesn’t have to be chicken

Indian restaurant madras chicken curry. Just like they make it in restaurants. But at home.

Almost all the restaurant style curries on glebekitchen can be made how you like. This is a chicken madras. But you can make it with lamb or beef just as easily. You can even make it with chickpeas or masoor dal for a vegetarian option.

Chicken madras is my favourite but lamb is a close second. And a madras curried dal is third. That’s me. You can do what you want. Make this your madras curry. Whatever you want. Just make it. 

Madras curry is a spicy dish that’s sure to please. At the top of my list. If you are a fan this is for you. If you haven’t tried it before now is the time.

Chicken madras, masoor dal and rice serving bowls from above.
Bowl of chicken madras with rice from the front.
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4.86 from 57 votes

indian restaurant madras curry

Indian restaurant madras curry is a classic dish on the menu of just about every Indian restaurant out there. Now it can be on your menu too.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword madras curry, restaurant curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 535kcal
Author glebe kitchen


The spice mix

  • 1 tsp indian restaurant spice mix or curry powder – recipe link below
  • 2 tsp hot madras curry powder or use more indian restaurant mix powder if you don’t have any madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder or 1/4 tsp cayenne mixed with 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

The curry ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp oil
  • 2 inch piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp onions minced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic/ginger paste – recipe link below
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste with enough water to dilute to the consistency of pasatta
  • 15 oz curry base – recipe link below
  • 10-12 oz pre-cooked chicken or lamb
  • 1 Tbsp coconut milk powder in enough water to get to coconut milk consistency (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice – about 1/6 of a lemon


  • Make the spice mix.
  • Dilute the tomato paste with enough water to get to the consistency of passata.
  • Dilute your coconut milk powder enough with water to get it to the consistency of coconut milk.
  • Heat your frying pan (don’t use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the cinnamon stick. Toss is around the pan for about 15 seconds until bubbles start to form around it. It may crackle a bit.
  • Add the onions and stir constantly until the edges of the onions start to brown. This takes about a minute.
  • Next comes the garlic ginger paste. Add it into the pan and cook it, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Turn down the heat and add the spice mix. This is the critical step. Stir it constantly for 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. This is important. The heat is what caramelizes the onion base and gives the curry it’s Indian restaurant flavour. As you become more comfortable with this technique try pushing it. Add the diluted tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Think lively boil. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here. Sticking is OK. Just scrape it back into the base. Burning is bad.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form. Add the lemon and diluted coconut milk powder. Turn the heat down to low and add the pre-cooked lamb, beef or chicken.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don’t add water.
  • Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh cilantro and serve.


The recipe for curry base is here.
The recipe for indian restaurant spice mix is here
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
If you haven’t read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are making multiple curries, have your curry base warming in a pot on the stove. If you are just making one, microwave it to warm it up right before you start cooking.
Indian restaurants pre-cook their meat so it’s ready for service. This recipe assumes the same. To pre-cook chicken, simply simmer it with a bit of curry powder and salt in chicken stock for about 10-15 minutes – until it’s barely cooked.
To pre-cook lamb or beef, do the same but plan for 1 to 1/2 hours for lamb and 2 hours or more for beef. You are making stew meat so you are braising until tender. You will need to keep an eye on the level of the stock. For beef use beef stock.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 806mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg

134 thoughts on “indian restaurant madras curry”

  1. Hi,

    On the chicken madras how much curry powder do I need to pre cook 10 to 12 oz of chicken please?

    Many thanks again

  2. Hi,

    Just starting out with the chicken madras…

    Can I use a non stick frying pan to pre cook the chicken or would stainless steel be better?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Any pan is fine to pre-cook the chicken. You are poaching the chicken so the coating makes no difference.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Roman, just a quick question. I’ve been making this recipe for a couple of years and it’s always awesome. Has the spice mix been toned down? I swear there used to be some combination of hot chili powder in there, and the last couple of times I’ve made it it’s turned out very mild. If not, any suggestion on how to ramp up the heat ( I’m using Lalas MCP)?

    • I have not touched this recipe since it was originally published. Maybe you have a different brand of kashmiri chili powder or were using a hotter brand of madras curry powder? In any case if you want more fire a 1/4 tsp of Indian hot or extra hot chili powder will kick up the heat without substantially changing the flavour profile.

  4. Having a bash at this tonight. Made your chicken tikka masala on Monday and it was bloody good! Can’t wait for this.
    One question – why do you suggest staying away from a nonstick pan?
    Many thanks for the work you put into the recipes and videos.

    • You are very welcome. I find the flavours don’t develop as fully when the pan is non-stick.

  5. 5 stars
    the legend lives on – I used this recipe the first time you posted it – I have now come back and have seen you added metrics to the recipe, which is so helpful for us in the uK. I cooked this again tonight and I must say, the legendary status of your recipes being outstanding every.single.time lives on….

  6. Thanks for taking the time to share your recipes and techniques, I’m having a lot of fun cooking those!

    I was wondering was kind of madras curry powder you used? (Or if you have recipe) In the end I used some I had left from Épices de Cru (a reliable source of spices in Montreal) and it was very good.

    Also, if you wanted to make this with masoor dal how would would go at it, cook the lentils with turmeric until creamy and incorporate at the end or keep it a bit more Al dente?

    • You are very welcome! I usually use Lalah’s brand (red container and available at every Indian grocer in Ottawa. I bet the one from Épices de Cru is really good (I will have to check them out next time I hit Jean Talon Market – soon I think).

      If you wanted to push this towards a Dhansak with the lentils I would cook them until creamy and mix about 4-5 tablespoons in at the end for a nice consistency. I might bump the spice up a tiny bit as well as the dal will mute the flavours some.

  7. 5 stars
    Romain, Romain, you are the man.

    Made your south indian garlic chilli restaurant style a few months back and left you a comment on how happy everyone was with it. Now i made this and well, I figured another comment was in order.

    Got a bit bolder with the heat as you suggest in the recipe. Definitely could tell the difference in how the sauce sticks and thickens. This one was really perfect. Madras was always my favourite curry growing up, my dad and i would order it basically every saturday. This was so bang on it really took me back with unexpected photorealism to sitting at the dinner table in Auchinairn of the 1990s lol, where our local curry joint The Gulistan was literally visible from the dinner table looking out over the back garden fence. Insane. Thanks for the memories XD!

    In-laws loved it so much they said so about 10 times (i sent them this link, i cannot take credit for this), and my wife whose birthday is this weekend asked that i make it again. So away I go to the kitchen.

    May you have the most wonderful of days!

    • May you have the most wonderful of days as well!

      I’m very happy to hear that you made the leap to push the heat a bit. That makes a surprisingly big difference.

      Please wish your wife happy birthday for me!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a few other recipe/instructions and they did not give the richness or sweetness from a typical restaurant Madras. The cooking instructions provided here are worked well and I got a really good taste first time. I did vary the ingredients a little (I used a little left over veg curry as a base, so cooked extra amount of onions). The only thing I got wrong was too much tomato puree, I balanced it out with a bit more veg curry and it still came out well.

  9. Hi, Romain.
    I have been making BIR style curries for a number of years now, following the recipes of some great online curry people and have more often than not been impressed with the meals produced but since discovering Glebe Kitchen early last year I have used no other recipes than yours. Every one I have followed, not only are they some of the finest meals I have made but also taste better than most we can get in a restaurant.
    I usually ask my wife what she fancies for Saturday night and she she now just says ” the same as last week, that was a good one” so after making your Jalfrezi for 2 months solid I decided to mix it up and snuck this madras onto the menu, now after four weeks of Madras being demanded, tonight I’m making your restaurant Korma so it will probably be Christmas before I’m allowed to make anything other than Korma. I just thought you should know. Romain, you make my wife very very happy.
    Thanks for all your hard work.

  10. Hi Romain,
    I’ve made a couple of your BIR curries and they have been ok, tonight I decided to do the madras I used pre cooked steak and again ok, but I want to get better, as I only cook for one I only use one cup 250ml of base gravy, but follow the recipe as regarding the spices, do you think it would be better to half the quantity or would that be not be necessary, I’m nearly there but not quite, your help would be much appreciated. Regard. Bob Portlock

    • If I understand you correctly you are effectively doubling the spice quantities recommended in the recipe (by halving the gravy). That is a lot of powdered spice. I would suggest if you are halving the recipes that you halve them in their entirety. You might want a bit more than half the initial oil though, depending on the diameter of your pan. You want the spices to have enough oil to bloom without having them stick to the bottom.

      Or you could follow the recipes as written and have a lovely lunch the next day.

    • Hi i cant find area to make a comment and question so sorry to jump in..i just made my first Madras also used slightly more chilli but still it is not confused

    • Glebekitchen is about balanced flavours. It is not about hot. If you want hot just swap out some or all of the kashmiri chili powder for extra hot chili powder. You will give up some balance of flavour but it will get you the heat you crave.

  11. If I want to make this for four people do I just double everything up? I’m a bit wary of doubling up the spices (particularly the hot madras powder) in case I burn the mouths off my guests!!

    • Ingredients double up just fine. The challenge is in getting your pan hot enough to really fry the gravy. I’d recommend a 12 inch skillet and cranking your heat up or just making two batches, keeping the first one just warm in a sauce pan on the stove.

  12. just realized, it’s the video on this site for
    Indian restaurant madras chicken curry that hasn’t got a captions option -ie: the indian restaurant curry at home video does have that option. so I guess I’ll use that 🙂

    • Sorry – I misunderstood. Getting closed captioning on this site is something I’ve been working on but it’s a bit of a challenge. I do have curated captioning on the videos on YouTube if that helps…

  13. Hi Romain, I’m doing your indian restaurant curry Madras tonight. Decided to add some chillis @ the pureed garlic&ginger stage. Also instead of Elmlea, gonna use Alpro single vegan cream. Wish me luck! (making it x4 times so end up with x8 portions) btw, can you get subtitles on the video? Can’t hear you as I’m virtually deaf & hearing-aids help some, but still struggle to hear you. Thanks. Barbara🙂

    • Awesome! Good luck. You’ll do great.

      I checked and I’m not sure if something was wrong but I see the subtitles working on the video now.

  14. Thanks for getting back to me Romain:) I’ve managed to get Elmlea vegan double cream, so gonna put a little of that into the Madras. Let u ken how it turns out🙂

  15. A question: What would happen if one were to make this recipe (or Vindaloo) using the hotel base gravy instead of restaurant base sauce?

    • The spicing isn’t that far off but the technique is completely different. There are a bunch of additional ingredients in the hotel base as well. There are recipes for hotel style madras and vindaloo posted in the hotel section.

  16. Just made this up for a couple of friends coming onFriday night. My friend said he won’t eat anything but Madras so this has a lovely kick to it for him hope he like it.
    Will definitely use again 👍

  17. I made this last night with lamb. Amazing! Of course, I added additional heat in the form of a spicy chili powder as well as adding some dried Thai chilis along with the cinnamon stick. Perfection.

    • Sounds awesome. The recipes on glebekitchen are all spiced to about medium but a little extra heat is always good for those that like it!

  18. Hi Romain,

    I’m making this tomorrow, I’ve made several of your other curries and they’ve all been fantastic. Quick question, as someone that is yet to buy a, how can I put it, non-non-stick pan, is it imperative to use one? I get the bits sticking to the pan is desirable, but does it make a huge difference? I’ve only used non-stick so far as it’s all I have and they’ve turned out delicious, but I’m wondering how much better it actually makes it?


    • Imperative is a strong word. It is not imperative.

      An uncoated or non-non-stick pan makes it a bit harder. I recommend an uncoated pan because I want everyone to succeed and that is easier to do with an uncoated pan. However, if your technique is good, there is enough oil in the pan and you fry your curry base hard you will be fine. At the end of the day, as long as you are happy with what you are cooking, does anything else really matter?

      FWIW an uncoated aluminium pan from a restaurant supply store is quite inexpensive if you really want to find out.

  19. Hi!

    Im making this today but want to use tender beef.

    I was going to pre cook the beef in my slow cooker (after searing it)

    Do you think that will be ok?

    Thanks in advance

    • I’m assuming you are using a cut suitable for stew/braising. If so, yes, however you like to braise beef will work.

    • Awesome. Thank you so much for your reply.

      I also have another ingredient I bought on a whim, that I was considering adding but I don’t want to do so the wrong way. Fresh Red Chillies ‘Ot Hiem’ or ‘Mean Mouth’ chillies, from Vietnam. I’ve seen pictures where madras is garnished with chillies or has slices or fresh chilli inside which made me curious. I do want this curry to be fiery but not inedible.

      What stage in cooking, if at all, would you recommend adding these or should i leave it be?

    • I have no direct experience with ot hiem chilies but google tells me they are around 30,000 Scoville which is not insanely hot (for me). I would taste a bit of one. If you can handle the heat then you should be OK. If you cut them into fairly large pieces you can always eat around them if you run into trouble.

      I typically add chilies in with the garlic ginger paste right before adding the powdered spices.

  20. Hi. Could I add a bit of naga pickle at end of this? Have a jar and only have restaurant base gravy left (run out of hotel gravy) Love naga flavour but not sure if it might ruin it. Thanks!

    • That’s exactly right. Naga is a sledgehammer. It will be tasty I bet but it will be a naga curry if you add more than a pinch.

  21. I have recently begun watching all the great info and videos you post, and am
    thrilled to begin my journey into Indian style dishes. But, I found myself watching the indian restaurant curry base post where it said “watch the video here” there was no such video. Also forgive my ignorance, but when you say the curry base is the foundation, I am confused as a few of the recipes do not mention adding the curry base, what am I missing?

    • I’m not sure where you found the broken link? If you can point me to it I will fix it ASAP!

      There are 4 distinct types of curries and associated techniques on glebekitchen.

      Traditional or homestyle – There is no curry base involved. This is Indian home cooking

      Restaurant style – This is where the curry base gets used. This style will get you curries you would eat in restaurants.

      Nearly restaurant style – This is a hybrid approach I came up with. It relies on microwave onions to get you similar results to when you cook restaurant style. It works well. It’s for people who either don’t want to make curry base or are simply out of it.

      Hotel style – This is a new approach I’ve been working on. Similar to restaurant style but with more depth of flavour. Think the very best Indian restaurants.

      Hope this helps clear things up.

    • Thank you for getting back to me, I have since figured out my uncertainty and have made the curry gravy base which is excellent. The page where I could not find the video is “Indian Restaurant Curry Base” when you scroll down to “the magic is in the cooking technique” just under there it says you can get a quick lesson on cooking indian restaurant curry here
      it takes you to the next page “indian restaurant curry at home and finally when you scroll down it says “this video should help you get started” there is no link. I apologize for the lengthy dialogue, but I hope it helps. Regardless it has been a great awakening for me, thank you for all your expertise and suggestions

    • Glad you sorted it out. I checked. There is a video at the bottom of that secion that I could see on desktop and mobile. Perhaps it didn’t load correctly for you?

  22. 5 stars
    Total game changer finding your recipes on here. I always wondered why my curries didn’t taste like they do when I go out for a meal. Now they are pretty much there. It’s the curry gravy!!!
    Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes. My chicken Naga was fantastic! Thanks

  23. Romain,

    I am compelled to write you a thank you note. I just cooked the best curry I’ve made in over twenty years of trying. I followed your recipe, and also made my own Garlic/Ginger paste for the first time (who knew it was so easy?).

    The result looked, smelled and tasted like a restaurant served Madras. You inspired me to get into my local Indian store to hunt out some of the less common ingredients, put in more effort, and get better results.

    Another benefit is that now I have the curry base I can create another in under 15 minutes!

    I’m grateful for the research you did and your willingness to share it ? Thank you so much!

    • I am so glad to hear that! Thank you for saying.

      Have fun hunting the Indian stores. I’m always in there finding new things.

  24. Hi Romaine, thank you so much for the lovely recipes you have posted on here, so far i have made the bombay aloo, the Palak Paneer and the Tikka masala and the dhansak, I had never ordered it at a restaurant but my boyfriend loved it! He said it was as good as any Dhansak he had before at a curry house! So now i have taken his title of t he house hold curry master, my next mission is Madras. I am servicing the CTM but want to do a beef version of this Madras. Im wanting the meat to be really tender but unsure how to cook this without it affecting the curry when i add it. Any ideas? Many thanks for all the cooking inspo, especially in this covid crisis! 🙂

    • You are very welcome and I’m delighted you are enjoying the recipes.

      For beef I would simply follow your regular stewing technique. I like to braise my beef in a Dutch oven in a 325F oven until tender.

  25. Hi. I’m excited to try this recipe. It looks like you are using shallot at the beginning of the video, though you say onion. Is this the case? With the curry base, what type of onion do you prefer?

    • I switch between onion and shallot pretty regularly for onions that go into the curry itself. My local Indian grocer stocks the little red Indian onions. If I don’t have those handy I tend to use shallots as a substitute. Failing that I use white onions. For dishes like a jalfrezi or dopiaza where the onion pieces are quite large I usually go with white or red onions as it’s hard to get big pieces otherwise.

      For curry base I use a plain brown skinned yellow onion. Nothing fancy there.

  26. 5 stars
    Another superb recipe…thank you Romain. I’m going to try a Korma next. If you are reading Glebe Kitchen recipes and drooling over the photos I can attest that it really is possible to make a fantastic curry that looks just like the photos! Thank you again Romain.

  27. 5 stars
    Simply excellent! I have been using the enforced idleness of the pandemic to lift my Indian cooking skills and Romain’s recipe’s have been my friend & mentor. I have done 6 or 7 dishes restaurant style and the madras is definitely one of the best (the other family fave is the restaurant Korma). Follow the instructions – especially cranking up the heat when adding the base – and you will have a madras better than you get from most restaurants 🙂

    In various iterations I have tried adding some more fenugreek leaves as I love that underlying taste. Also tried adding curry leaves. A few green chillies. A little more kashmiri chilly powder. A little garam masala at the end of cooking. Increasing the cinnamon a bit (I don’t like the taste of cinnamon but it sits underneath the medley of tastes beautifully in this recipe). What absolutely nailed it for me was increasing cinnamon and Kashmiri chilli, adding curry leaves and 2 green chillis. Stunning.

    But if you don’t want to play with the tastes, just follow the recipe & you will get a truly exceptional madras! Keep up the great work Romain!

    • Peter – I absolutely love how you are taking these recipes and making them your own! Your madras is starting to sound a lot like a Ceylon recipe I have on my list to post.

    • I usually go for roughly two to three times the volume of the tomato paste in added water. I have never actually measured the exact amount of water I am afraid.

      It isn’t super critical. It’s your safety blanket. You will use it to put the brakes on the spices frying so as long as it’s wet it will do the job. The water will get driven off as you fry the tomato paste before you add the curry base. There’s a lot of evaporation going on in Indian restaurant curry cooking…

  28. 5 stars
    Have just made a restaurant chicken madras. Absolutely delicious could not believe I’d ever get to make a curry like that at home,

  29. 5 stars
    Hey Romain, Have been watching your videos and cooking tips on how to cook a madras for a couple of weeks now in an attempt to get organised and ready to cook this for the wife Saturday night. Whilst the wheels almost came off a couple of times the final result was fantastic. Thank You.. However, during the critical stage of frying the spice mix before adding the tomatoes I have at least half of the ingredients in my pan as you did and when I did add the tomatoes again there was still very little in the pan. Although once I started to add the base everything fell into place thankfully!!!! Any ideas WHY !! Oh and I ended up with an unused box of Amchur powder where have I conjured this up from as I don’t see it in your curry base or madras recipes.. Thanks again..

    • That’s awesome to hear. Yes, the wheels do tend to come off when you are starting out but a bit of practice and you’ll be a master in no time!

      Maybe a bit more water in the tomato paste to give yourself a little margin of error? And don’t worry – there are quite a few recipes that use amchoor (spell it like that in the search bar) on the blog and more coming as I love the stuff!

    • Hey Romain, Decided to try the Chicken Vindaloo recipe as this has always been my wifes favourite. Boy oh Boy am I in the good book now, she loved it, says she hasn’t eaten a curry like that in many a year. Many Thanks. Also got to use up my spare box of Amchoor powder making the chicken Biryani which was very tasty but a little dry. Many Thanks again

  30. I’ve tried so hard, so many times to make an authentic ‘Indian’ curry and failed. I read everything you wrote, followed your instructions to the letter and…. OMG!!!!!! What an absolute triumph. My cup sizes of water were a bit big initially when making the curry base but once I adjusted that? Best curry I have EVER tasted. My wife just stood there open mouthed in amazement when she tasted it. I loved all the preparation, how everything came together and the authenticity of the taste was exact. I felt compelled to let you know and offer my heartfelt thanks, I am truly grateful. Kind regards, Stephen Ward. (Wales, UK)

    • I’m delighted to hear that! Now you know all the techniques you are unstoppable. I can’t wait to hear how your future curries turn out.

  31. Hi Romain,

    Excellent collection of recipes here. I recently did the dhansak and loved it. One quick question: why use tomato paste and dilute to passata consistency rather than just use passata? Same question regarding coconut powder instead of coconut milk.

    Many thanks!

    • Thank you for saying so!

      It’s a matter of portion and convenience really. Tomato paste keeps for a long time in the fridge and takes up little room. Opening a jar of passata is a bit of a commit for a couple tablespoons. Same goes for coconut milk. I do use coconut milk sometimes when I have it around.

    • Hi, just making base sauce for the first time and have just realised(been cooking for 45
      Minutes) that I added 1 and half tablespoons instead of teaspoons of salt and turmeric
      Should I just throw away and start again or can I somehow save it?

      Maybe not add salt or turmeric to any curry recipes?

    • The salt will be fine. Just don’t add the salt in the recipe and then adjust at the end if needed. You’ve added roughly an extra 4 teaspoons of salt and recipes usually call for 1/2 tsp so for 8 servings it works out about even.

      Turmeric I have no idea. That’s a lot of turmeric. Might be a bit odd tasting, might be fine. Might be completely overpowering. You could try one curry recipe without adding the protein and see what you get. Would be good practice cooking restaurant style in any case.

    • Hi Romain, Barbara here again:) Can you tell me what I can use in place of coconut? I am once again cooking one of your amazing recipes -this time your restaurant style madras, but as I am also cooking for a daughter who cannot ingest coconut, can I use soya milk or soya single cream, in it’s place? many thanks.

    • Sorry – I somehow missed this one. You can just leave it out. It will be a little more strongly flavoured but will still be very tasty. I’ve done it both ways.

      You could try a bit of heavy cream as well. I haven’t tried that but it would smooth things out. Hope your daughter enjoys!

  32. 5 stars
    Brilliant !!! I have bought dozens of cook books trying to replicate my local restaurant curry without success but if you follow this recipe exactly to the page it is actually better. I prefer a whole large 2” fresh red chilli wafer thinly sliced added in at the same time with the spice mix, as too much chilli powder to get a hot madras is bitter and doesn’t digest well, but great recipe thank you for posting ??

  33. 5 stars
    Just made this curry.
    Amazing and I thought quite easy, time consuming but fairly straightforward.
    Cannot thank you enough

  34. 5 stars
    This may be the single best source for authentic indian curry on the internet. Great job, now I have a reason to buy a kitchen scale!

    • If you need to thicken the sauce my guess is that you didn’t push the boil/fry of the curry base hard enough when you cooked the curry. Please watch the video for an idea of how hard it needs to boil.

      If you’ve made a curry and it’s too thin then yes, simmer the sauce to reduce but be careful not to overcook the protein.

    • Of course you can ask:-)

      This technique relies on what is called the Maillard reaction and to a lesser extent caramelization of onions to give the curry its flavour. Basically heat plus sugars plus amino acids react to generate a whole lot of flavour compounds. Some sticking seems to intensify the flavours and that sticking doesn’t happen with a teflon coated pan. Think of making a homestyle curry. The first step is almost always to deeply brown the onions. It’s the same basic idea although much, much faster when cooking restaurant style.

      Another example of this effect happens when you pan fry a steak. You’ll never get the steak to brown like you do in an uncoated pan. That brown stuff on the steak is Maillard.

      It will still be curry if you use non-stick. Just possibly not as good as it might have been. I might still make this if I only had non-stick but I wouldn’t expect it to turn out as intended. Maybe think about getting a cheap aluminium pan at a restaurant supply store when you have a chance?

    • Thanks for the in depth reply it makes perfect sense. I have followed everything up to now so i will get a non nonstick pan before I continue.

  35. 5 stars
    I have just made and eaten a madras using this recipe to the letter. It was absolutely outstanding, cannot praise it highly enough. I’ve eaten curry the length and breadth of the U.K and at 51, I honestly thought I might never recreate the “Restaurant taste”, at home. I cannot thank you enough, delighted beyond all my expectations. If I walked into an Indian Restaurant in the West End of Glasgow and was served a Madras as good as this, I’d recommend it to all my friends.

    • I am so happy I was able to help you find your way to this style of cooking. The challenge now is that all your friends will want your Indian cooking rather than going to their local favourite. You have the power:-)

    • For small batch curry cooking I prefer the nearly restaurant style technique here on the blog. There is a madras recipe in fact.

    • Yes. If you use prawns you can either pre-cook them perfectly like in this Singapore noodle recipe or toss them in raw at the same time that you would have added pre-cooked meat and just cook them until done. You need to be fast from stove to table if you cook them in the sauce though. Prawns go from perfect to rubbery fast.

    • I’m so glad you picked on of my recipes for a special event!

      It’s a funny thing with me. I’m not a big fan of pork in curries. Love it everywhere else but for some reason it doesn’t work in curries for me. If I was to try it, I would use pork shoulder and braise it (pre-cook) until tender as I would lamb. Probably take somewhere around an hour or so depending on how big the pieces are.

    • I almost never get take away Indian any more. Once you figure out how to make it at home it’s so much better!

  36. Hi, I would love to try this for a dinner party tomorrow night. Im cooking for 6 people, can I just triple the recipe? Thanks!

    • Megan, Indian restaurant style cooking does not scale very well. When you have too much curry base in the pan it doesn’t caramelize properly. What I do when I’m cooking for a crowd is make it once, transfer into a pot to keep warm and repeat as needed. So for 6 people you would make the curry three times and combine them to keep them warm. That will work and it’s good practice as well:-)

    • I make 12 curries at a time using this fantastic recipe, this is only able to be done with a very big steel pan and an incredibly hot heat. I have a wok gas ring that I have changed to nozzle on to be able to do this. I always make sure that my base gravy is hot to go in and that on that step it heats and bubbles up completely before continuing on, takes a while but worth it if you want to batch cook 😍

  37. 5 stars
    I love a challenge and this restaurant curry series would be perfect! Thank you so much for all the helpful tips and straightforward instructions, will hopefully decrease my chances of failing 😉

  38. yay! I love your curry series! I didn’t realize that the tomato paste has to be watered down to pasatta consistency! I learn something new from you everyday 🙂 I can’t WAIT to use up my lamb with this! 😀

  39. Honestly… I love my curry on fire!! Unfortunately, the hubbs does not. I seriously might have to divide my curry in two, just so that I can bring the heat in mine . . .

    Why is that you recommend not using a non-stick pan, out of curiosity???

    • Restaurant style curry relies on the caramelization of the curry base over high heat. A non-stick pan doesn’t let the base stick and caramelize properly. Also, you can’t divide the recipe. That doesn’t work. And you can’t make double either. You won’t get the caramelization to work. This is really one of those techniques that really has to be followed exactly for it to work. Not unlike baking in that respect.

    • Oh that’s brings up another question! Sometimes, you know my caramelization turns to stuck on burnt. 😛 Flavour nonetheless! but do you recommend I find a way to ‘deglaze’ that?

    • A bit stuck on is what you are going for. A little bit of sticking at the edge so you can scrape it up with your spoon. If you go too far though, just leave it in the pan. You don’t want the burnt taste in your curry.

    • 5 stars
      This was mind blowing it was so delicious the spices of the curry had so many layers of flavour, so glad I found your web site I’ve made four curry recipes so far can not fault any Thankyou.

    • 5 stars
      This is an outstanding recipe ! I’ve cooked a lot of Indian dishes, and if you read this properly and do everything they say your outcome will be truly beautiful!!

    • 5 stars
      I made a beef madras tonight ( your recipe) have to say best madras recipe I have ever tried. It was delicious!

    • 5 stars
      I have always struggled to get that restaurant style sauce , your base is a revelation ! I have done butter chicken and Sag aloo twice now with amazing results. Lamb Madras next as I like it a bit fiery ! Thanks for sharing with us

4.86 from 57 votes (36 ratings without comment)

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