One-Pot Chicken Madras (BIR style)

Chicken Madras

Peter Penguin says...

Simple, yet effective.

This is a simple one-pot chicken Madras (British Indian Restaurant style) that hits the spot. Hard. And it does so without the need for base gravy!


  • 500g chicken thighs (diced)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or cassia bark)
  • 2 sliced onions (thick cut)
  • 1 tsp ginger paste/puree (or finely chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp garlic paste/puree (or finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Madras chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp pinch garam masala (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (or to taste)
  • 1 cup pureed tomato (approx. 3 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 wedges of lemon
  • 1.5 cup water
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish


  1. Add the ghee and oil to the pan, heat up to a medium-high heat.
  2. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Fry off for a minute to release some flavour into the oil.
  3. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and salt. Fry off until the onions have softened up and have started to caramelise (they will go a light golden-brown in colour). The ginger and garlic should have caught on the bottom of the pan, so add half a cup of boiling water and deglaze.
  4. Lower the heat to medium, put a lid on the pan and continue to cook the onion mixture (it should be simmering) for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add the Madras chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, Madras curry powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Mix in and fry off for 20 seconds, don’t overcook it or it will become bitter.
  6. Add the pureed tomato. Stir well, increase heat to high, put the lid on and let it reduce/thicken for a few minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and use a potato masher to mash the onions into the gravy.
  8. Add the chicken and stir well. On a medium-high heat, simmer for 8-10 minutes with the lid on. The gravy should now be nice and thick.
  9. Squeeze in the lemon juice from the lemon wedges, stir it in. Add the lemon wedges.
  10. Add one cup of boiling water, stir well. Continue to cook on medium-high heat with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  11. Add garam masala, fresh coriander and kasoori methi. Done.