Published On: Sat, Dec 2nd, 2023

Doctor Who Releases Official Recipe For Sylvia’s Tuna Madras

Doctor Who Releases Official Recipe For Sylvia’s Tuna Madras
Doctor Who Releases Official Recipe For Sylvia’s Tuna Madras

Image for article titled Doctor Who Has Released an Official Recipe for Its Horrifying Curry

Image: BBC

When Doctor Who returned to our screens this past weekend in “The Star Beast,” it brought with it all sorts of weird and occasionally fearsome threats, from the mischievous Meep to the insectoid Wrarth Warriors. But perhaps nothing could send you scurrying behind the sofa than one single joke/threat: a fish curry made by Donna’s mom.

When we reunite with Donna and her family in “The Star Beast,” the Nobles are having a bit of a rough time. Having given away the lottery earnings the Tenth Doctor had surreptitiously gifted her with just before his regeneration, Donna is struggling to make ends meet with her husband and daughter, having lost another job herself. One area she remains enriched though, whether she wants to be or not, is the help of her mother Sylvia, who has taken to preparing meals for her daughter’s family to help lighten the load. While we hear legendary tales of a truly gigantic sausage roll, only one of Sylvia’s food experiments has captured the hearts and minds, for better or worse, of Doctor Who fandom in the last week: her perfectly-comedically-timed explainer of what’s on the menu before everything goes sideways in Doctor Who’s trademark style. A tuna Madras curry!

It’s one of the funnier moments in an already funny episode. Jacqueline King’s delivery of the simple line is pitch-perfect, and it’s the perfect microcosm of writer/showrunner Russell T. Davies’s worldview for Doctor Who, the bizarre mundanity of human life clashing with the bizarre, alien world of adventuring in Time and Space. But also: the idea of a tuna curry is just bizarrely gross to a lot of people, hence why Doctor Who fans have become obsessed. Remember, this is the fanbase that willingly tried Fish Fingers and Custard after the Eleventh Doctor snacked on it in his debut episode. A canned tuna curry is practically fine dining in comparison. But while “The Star Beast” left Sylvia’s tuna Madras behind in its alien mayhem, have no fear, culinarily curious Whovians: the BBC has provided an official recipe so you can make it at home. Check it out below!


  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Half teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 onion
  • Chopped 5 cloves of garlic
  • Chopped 2 tins of tuna
  • Drained 1 tin of tomatoes
  • Half a jar of black olives


  1. Fry the onion for five minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic, stir for two minutes.
  3. Mix in the spices, stir quickly, add in two tins of tuna.
  4. Stir again twice.
  5. Add the tin of tomatoes and the olives.
  6. Bring to a boil until the sauce thickens.
  7. Turn down low for ten minutes.
  8. Serve.

Although largely unheard of (perhaps for good reason, looking at this ingredient list), the tuna Madras is apparently a staple in Davies’ family, according to the commentary track for “The Star Beast.” So whether you want to either feast on the fuel behind one of the most influential minds of British television, or you need something to eat when Doctor Who returns this weekend… maybe you’re brave enough to try this and see what the Nobles missed out on?

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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