Inspiration / Food & Wine

Spiced chicken with cardamom and viognier


Fiona Beckett Fiona Beckett
Fiona Beckett's book Wine Lover's Kitchen

This comes from Fiona Beckett's book Wine Lover's Kitchen, a collection of recipes for cooking with wine, all sumptuously photographed, and with wine recommendations to go with each.

Fiona says that while it may not be orthodox to put wine into what is basically a korma, it works remarkably well, as does the almond butter which gives the dish a rich, creamy texture. If you need to make it dairy-free leave out the cream and add coconut milk.

Fiona Beckett is a leading food and drink writer, journalist and broadcaster and wine columnist for the guardian. She also has her own website

Spiced chicken with cardamom and viognier

Spiced chicken with cardamom and viognier

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4–6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 20g/¾oz ginger, peeled and grated (a microplane works particularly well for this)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of ground chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 60ml/¼ cup viognier or chardonnay
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 200ml/1 scant cup chicken stock
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 25g/1oz toasted flaked/slivered almonds
  • 75ml double cream or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 mild green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
  • Salt
  • Rice, to serve

Cut the chicken breasts into three if large or in half if smaller. Heat the oil in a shallow sauté pan and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until lightly coloured. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook over a moderate heat until soft and beginning to brown. Add the crushed garlic and grated ginger, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garam masala, cardamom pods, bay leaf, chilli and turmeric, stir and cook for a minute then add the Viognier and cook until almost evaporated. Stir in the almond butter. Add the stock and stir until the sauce thickens then return the chicken pieces to the pan. Turn them over in the sauce, put a lid on the pan and leave over a very low heat while you cook some rice. Check the seasoning and remove any cardamom pods you can spot.

Stir in half of the flaked/slivered almonds and most of the coriander leaves, leaving some to sprinkle over the finished plates. Stir the cream into the sauce. Serve the chicken with rice, sprinkling each portion with a few almonds, coriander leaves and slices of chilli for those who want them (or serve the latter separately).

Wine suggestions:

Fiona recommends serving with the viognier or chardonnay used to make the dish. We would advocate choosing something that has the creamy texture to match - South African chenin blanc or chenin-based blends also work well, or even an off-dry rosé or the spice grape itself, gewurztraminer.

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