How to cook the perfect Butter Chicken - Recipe and Wine Pairing

**Preparation time:** For best results, overnight
**Cooking time:** 30 minutes
**Serves four people**

Butter chicken is a world-beating curry, and one of the planet’s most popular dishes. Originating in the north of India, it was brought to the UK and became a firm favourite in England, before spreading with the help of the British empire.

The secret of its success is surely its accessibility - here is a mild, creamy curry which is suitable for any palate, with balanced and aromatic spices designed to warm rather than challenge!

What you’ll need for the marinade:

  • One teaspoon of fine ground coriander
  • One teaspoon of fine ground cumin
  • One teaspoon of good quality garam masala
  • A pinch of hot paprika
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 100 millilitres of plain, natural yoghurt
  • The juice of one lime
  • Fifteen grams of crushed garlic
  • 2.5 centimetre piece of grated, fresh root ginger

What you’ll need for the chicken:

  • Four medium chicken breasts
  • 25 grams of melted, unsalted butter
  • Half a lemon

For the sauce:

  • One freshly grated white onion
  • 2.5 centimetre piece of grated, fresh root ginger
  • One hundred grams of tomato puree
  • A pinch of chilli powder (more if you want it hotter)
  • Two fresh chillis - small, red ones
  • Two hundred millilitres of double cream
  • Two crushed garlic cloves
  • One hundred grams of butter



First of all, make up the marinade by mixing all the listed ingredients in a bowl, until you have a thick, aromatic paste.

Coat the chicken breasts in the marinade, and keep in a covered bowl overnight in the fridge. This will infuse your meat with maximum flavour.


The next day, turn your grill onto its highest setting, and grill your marinated chicken breasts for three to four minutes. Regularly baste the meat with butter and lime juice.

Once you’ve sealed in all those flavours, roast the chicken in the oven at 200C for twelve minutes, or until the breasts are cooked through. Remember to keep on basting throughout this process to keep them moist.


For that thick and unctuous sauce, melt the butter in a pan and gently sweat the onions on a medium heat, until they’re very soft.

Stir in the ginger and the garlic, and cook these for a minute or so, before adding the tomato puree, chopped chillis and that hot chilli powder. Keep stirring, and cook for another couple of minutes. It should be smelling sensational!


Reduce the heat to a low setting, and slowly stir in the cream - it should turn a beautiful golden orange colour. Add the chicken breasts, and cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavours of the marinade blend with the sauce.

Serve with basmati rice, naan bread and chutneys.

Wine pairing for Butter Chicken

Want to add a little wine to pair with the flavours of this dish? One of the best wine pairings for butter chicken is Sauvignon Blanc.

Curry dishes are notoriously difficult to pair with wines. All those different flavours, all those spices… it presents a real challenge for sommeliers and regular wine drinkers alike. To add to this, there is little history of pairing Indian dishes with wine, so we can’t look to traditional pairings to help us.

Butter chicken is a mild, but complex dish, packed with different flavours and rich cream.

As such, an acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc can match it perfectly, as the acidity cuts through the buttery, creamy sauce and cleanses the palate without drowning out the taste of the curry.

Sauvignon Blanc without containing any sugar has a slightly sweeter fruit flavour and is less tart than other white wines, which will bring out the best in your butter chicken without any unpleasant clash on the palate.

And there you have it; the recipe for Butter Chicken and the perfect wine pairing.

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