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Hot madras chicken

  • 6
Hot madras chicken

This is a hot and pungent curry from Madras, which is sweetened with the use of star anise.


  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (or about ½ teaspoon ground)
  • 3 cups freshly grated coconut or thread coconut (or about 2 cups desiccated)
  • 5cm stick cinnamon or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 6 whole green cardamoms or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 8 cloves or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon each turmeric powder and garam masala
  • ¼ cup oil or butter
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 2 large juicy tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock
  • juice of one lime or ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves


  1. Toast the poppy seeds in a dry frying pan for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. In a grinder or food processor, put the fennel seeds, coconut, cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves, turmeric and garam masala. Process until finely ground.
  3. Heat the oil in a large-lidded frying pan and add the onion. Cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes untikl the onion is well cooked and softened and lightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic, star anise and chilli powder and cook another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomato juice has evaporated and the mixture becomes dry.
  4. Add the chicken, coconut spice mixture, poppy seeds and water or stock. Stir, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour until the chicken is well cooked.
  5. Add the lime or lemon juice and coriander leaves just before serving.

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