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Kirsty Cookitup’s Cookery Corner: Curry Special – Madras

In the final part of Kirsty Cookitup’s curry specials, the Northumberland-based cookery expert brings you her finest Madras recipe.

Featured image courtesy of rovingl

Well, here we are – the last of my curry recipes. Madras is a spicy curry, not for the faint-hearted but a fantastic flavour. Serve it up with fragrant pilau rice, pappadums and naan bread. Remember to freeze any sauce you don’t use for an easy dinner when the craziness of Christmas shopping leaves you begging for 30-hour days!


Basic curry sauce


  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 4 tblsp oil
  • 4 tblsp crushed garlic
  • 4 tblsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tblsp ground coriander
  • 2 tblsp ground paprika
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Can of chopped tomatoes or carton of passata
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in large pan, add garlic, ginger and spices and cook until onions soft. Be careful not to burn the spices as they will become bitter. If becoming dry and catching, add a little water.
  2. Once onions are soft, add tomatoes or passata.
  3. Blend and add water if necessary to create a thick sauce.

To make the Madras


  • 2 tblsp oil
  • 6 (more for a vindaloo) whole small dried chillies or 1-2 tblsp chilli flakes
  • Half teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Basic Curry Sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves (if you can get them)
  • Half teaspoon garam masala
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a moderate heat.
  2. Add the chilli flakes or whole dried chillies and fry until they start to swell.
  3. Turn the heat to low, add 1 tablespoon of the basic curry sauce and stir round.
  4. Then, add the chilli powder, cumin, coriander and paprika and fry gently, stirring all the time, for a minute. Take care not to burn the spices or the curry will lack flavour and taste bitter.
  5. Add the rest of the curry sauce.
  6. Add the chicken or meat and salt and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done. Stir from time to time and add a little hot water if the sauce starts to catch on the bottom of the pan.
  7. 10 minutes from the end, add the garam masala and fenugreek leaves.
  8. Simmer gently for the last 10 minutes, stirring frequently as the sauce should now be nice and thick.

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