Madras curry by its name is not really found in the Indian subcontinent, it found its name in the UK, but the style of curry is said to originate from the South of India, and its main characteristics are a fiery hot, red chilli base, with the sweetness of coconut or the sourness of tamarind added to counter balance the intensity of the red chilli. Other spices and seasonings used are black cardamom, turmeric, paprika, curry leaves, lime, vinegar or lemon. The idea behind this style is the balance of the taste sensations of sweet, salty, sour and savoury. Made mainly with vegetables (as this is a Hindu style of cooking), it can also be translated into red meats and poultry.
If you like madras-style curries, here is an option to experiment with, a Rajastani-style curry called laal maas, which translates as ‘red mutton’. Traditionally made with game meat, the intense heat was added to mask the strong gamey taste. This is a recipe that was popular in aristocratic kitchens, due to its rich ingredient list.
I have used Kashmiri chilli for colour and fragrance and red chilli powder for the heat, you can of course vary the amount to suit your personal taste. You could make your own Kashmiri chilli paste by soaking 7–8 dried Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 40 minutes then blitzing to a paste. This can be used instead of the chilli powder.
Nowadays more popularly made with mutton rather than game, it is red, garlicky, with a thick sauce and definitely not one for the faint hearted!
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