Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) Recipe with Ghost Wines Clare Valley Pinot Gris

March 18, 2016

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) Recipe with Ghost Wines Clare Valley Pinot Gris

Timing: Marinating 2 hours to overnight (overnight is best!); Cooking time 30-35 minutes

Who doesn’t love Butter Chicken?  We can’t get enough of it and our Pinot Gris is the perfect accompaniment for this Moghul dish.  Our recipe is not for the faint-hearted!  It packs a calorie punch and will have your tastebuds going into overdrive (thanks to the chilli powder).  It’s getting cooler outside in the evenings now that we’ve moved into Autumn so this dish is the ideal Friday night stay-in dinner and can be adapted to suit your tastes (and level of chilli-comfort!) – just be prepared to wake early the next morning for a 10km run to work off the ghee.

The 2014 Ghost Wines Pinot Gris helps extinguish the heat of this dish with flavours of granny-smith apple and Japanese pear with a hint of cinnamon and just the right amount of acidity.

With this dish you'll have to bid a fond farewell to your local Indian takeaway!

Serves 4

Marinade Ingredients

  • 800g skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp ghee/melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ – 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 75ml natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp garam masala (to make your own garam masala, see Notes below)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 tbsp ghee/melted unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • Seeds from 1 cardamom pod lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 275ml passata
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 100ml double cream


  • Chopped coriander for garnish
  • Slivered almonds

Suggested side dishes:

  • Steamed basmati rice
  • Raita (See Notes)
  • Toasted garlic-infused roti or naan bread

Method:  Chicken and Marinade

Blend the ginger and garlic together to form a paste in a food processor or pestle and mortar.  Grind the almonds in a food processor or finely chop with a knife.  Put the paste and almonds in a bowl with all other marinade ingredients except for oil and blend together.  Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat thoroughly.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better!).

Preheat conventional oven to 180C.  Place a heavy-based dish with ghee/butter into the oven to heat up.  Once hot, add the chicken pieces, place back into oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the oven, turn over and brush with some oil and place back into the oven, baking for another 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Method:  Sauce

Heat the ghee/butter in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry until softened.  Add garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute only.  Add all other ingredients except for passata, lemon juice, butter and cream, stirring well, and fry for 1 minute.

Stir in passata and lemon juice and cook for a further 1 minute.

Add baked chicken pieces and the butter and stir gently until the butter has melted and the sauce becomes smooth.  Finally, stir through cream and garnish with fresh coriander and slivered almonds.


Garam Masala recipe:

You’ll need 8 cardamom pods, 2 Cassia leaves, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 2 tsps cumin seeds, 2 tsps coriander seeds, 5 cm cinnamon stick, 1 tsp cloves (will make 3 tbsp of the spice mix).  Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, break cassia leaves into small pieces, put into a pestle & mortar with the remaining spices and grind until a fine powder is formed.  Store in an airtight container.

Raita recipe:

  • 500g cucumbers, grated
  • 1½ cups thick yoghurt (we prefer Greek)
  • ½ tbsp oil (we prefer extra virgin olive oil but macadamia oil works really well too)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander, chopped

Wrap cucumber with absorbent kitchen paper and squeeze over the sink to remove excess liquid.  Mix cucumber in a bowl with yoghurt and season with salt to taste.

Heat a small saucepan over low to medium heat.  Once heated, add the mustard seeds.  Cover and shake saucepan until seeds start to pop.  Pour seeds over yoghurt sauce and sprinkle with coriander leaves to serve.

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