nearly restaurant style chicken madras

If you want Indian restaurant style results but aren’t ready to dive into everything that involves, near restaurant style chicken madras is right for you.

It takes way less prep and you still get the flavours and texture from your local joint.

It isn’t quite the same. That’s why it’s nearly restaurant style chicken madras. But it’s pretty close. And it’s a lot easier.

Big, bold chicken madras flavour in a rich sauce. Sound like what you get in the restaurant? It is. Read all about it in this guide to nearly Indian restaurant technique.

Onions are the key

You can make Madras chicken curry at home that will rival what you get in Indian restaurants

Onions are the foundation of most Indian curries. Homestyle, restaurant or nearly restaurant. Doesn’t matter. For homestyle you need to cook the onions slowly until brown.

That takes a lot of time to do right. Like 20 minutes. Maybe more. And you need to watch them. Pay attention. You want them brown but you can’t let them burn. Work. Tasty results. But work.

Indian restaurant style goes a different route. You boil a ton of onions and puree the result. That’s called curry base and it’s used in pretty much every restaurant dish.

Nearly restaurant style splits the difference. That’s the beauty of it. You pre-cook the onions but you use the microwave. They cook away untended while you prep the rest of the meal.

No hovering over the pot watching onions brown. No planning a day in advance to make curry base.

Zap the onions in the microwave then puree to make an onion paste. Good to go. It’s really that easy.

chicken madras in Indian dish from above

Just like a restaurant Madras from here

The rest of the recipe follows lessons learned from restaurant style. Bloom the spices in oil. That’s important no matter what style you go with.

Then all you have to do is fry up the onion paste and add the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is done. Eat. Smile.

This version of chicken madras will have you wondering why somebody didn’t think of this sooner. Try it. You may never look back.

Hungry for more nearly restaurant style curries?

Spinach and chicken – chicken saag

Chicken jalfrezi

Chicken tikka masala

chicken madras in an Indian copper dish
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4.93 from 13 votes

nearly restaurant style chicken madras

You don't need to dive into full blown Indian restaurant style cooking to make an absolutely delicious chicken madras.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword madras curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 433kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


The onion paste

  • 2 cups onions - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

chicken madras

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3 pieces per thigh.
  • 2 tsp indian restaurant mix powder - see notes
  • 3 tsp madras curry powder - available at any Indian grocery
  • 2 tsp paprika - for colour
  • 1-2 tsp mild kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 1/2 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark - also called cassia bark
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - use a bit less if you are using table salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste plus enough water to dilute it to the consistency of tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/6 lemon - juiced


The onion paste

  • Place the onions in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely. Microwave at 70 percent until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes 10 minutes in my 1100 watt microwave. I can't predict how long it will take in yours...
  • Remove the onions from the microwave. Be careful. They will be hot. Let them cool slightly. Place the onions, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 cup of warm water in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

chicken madras

  • In a small bowl, combine the mix powder, paprika, Kashmiri chili powder, madras curry powder, kasoor methi and salt. This is your spice mix.
  • Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Toss in the cinnamon bark and let cook a few seconds. You will see little bubbles forming around the bark.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste and cook until it stops spluttering.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the spice mix and stir continuously until it starts to smell really good - around 30-40 seconds. Watch it carefully. If you burn the spices at this point you have to start over.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the onion paste and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. The curry will darken a bit as it cooks. Don't worry if it seems a bit dry. The chicken will release juices as it cooks and you should be left with a nice amount of sauce.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the chicken and stir. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done. It's done when you measure the internal temperature and it says 170F, about 12-15 minutes. An instant read thermometer is a handy thing to have here...
  • If the curry is a bit thick add a bit of water or chicken stock and stir. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Let the chicken madras simmer another minute or so. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
  • Garnish with a bit of cilantro and diced red finger hot chili pepper if desired.


The recipe for Indian restaurant spice mix can be found here.
You can buy garlic ginger paste but it's easy to make and homemade is way better. Here's an easy recipe for garlic ginger paste. If you cook Indian fairly often it's so worth it to whip up a batch. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 915IU | Vitamin C: 9.7mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2.8mg

27 thoughts on “nearly restaurant style chicken madras”

  1. Love this recipe 👌.I’m in the uk 🇬🇧 we have some excellent curry houses here this recipe is nearly as good as you say 😊 thanks🙏

  2. Hi, made this today. Very delicious. However, I had a couple of tablespoons of your makhani sauce in the freezer and I substituted for the tomato. Probably changed the flavour profile but was delicious. Enjoy your traditional recipes. Keep up the great work.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times now , I’ve got to admit it’s the best recipe ever, even my brother loves it and he’s not a fan of spice

  4. 5 stars
    Mind blowing! I need to translate the recipe now, because my parents loved it so much, that my mom also wants to make it! This is the first step of converting them to follow glebekitchen, like me!

    • Awesome! Delighted you liked and your parents liked it enough for them to want to be able to cook it themselves:-)

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, some days ago I cooked this dish and it was awesome again! My wife could not stop eating, the children loved it. And I was happy and also enjoying it! Less salt this time, it is amazing that blooming the spices seems to cause less salt necessary, due to the intensity of the spices. And I have to admit that I used ghee instead of vegetable oil, just because I had a can open and I wanted to use it. It worked out fantastic, no separate fat, everything was mingling together perfectly. And it was full of flavour, very delicious. Now I have the feeling that I am more in charge of the proces rather than performing alien steps without knowing what I am doing. Exciting! Never I cooked a curry and the pan was empty so quick! (With previous recipes we put the scraps in the freezer and never touched it again!) Great method, great recipe. We loved it! Can’t wait to cook the next one! Thanks and regards, Daniel and family.

    • That is just awesome to hear Daniel (and family). It sounds like you are on your way to mastering this. I can’t wait to hear how the next one turns out! You always know when you’ve done well if there’s no leftovers:-)

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and cooking tips. I don’t have a microwave so I used my pressure cooker to cook the onion and it worked well. The food was absolutely delicious, great recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    Usually make BIR curries using base but wanted a quick one, but still having that restaurant taste. Wow, so glad I found your recipes, works a treat.

  8. 5 stars
    Authentic restaurant style curry and really easy to make!
    Thanks be to your site. I will try many more of your recipes

    • So glad you liked it. There are a few more nearly restaurant style recipes here and more on the way!

  9. How long would you cook the onions for without a microwave or can you just use the restraunt curry base in your pathia recepie?

    • I’ve never tried doing this without the microwave so I don’t know how it would work out. If you have the curry base why not just make this madras instead?

    • 5 stars
      Andrea, i brown the onions in a pan with some oil. it adds much more flavour to the finished dish. i am intending on trying a little chicken stock instead of water next time also. this is a great recipe! as close to a restaurant madras as i have found.

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