Chef Series Recipe: Sonal Clare, The Wilderness

Chef Series Recipe: Sonal Clare, The Wilderness

Chef Series Recipes: Sonal Clare, The Wilderness

As the title suggests, our Chef Series Recipes are usually created by the many talented chefs that we work with. However, in a slight change to the proceedings, our next recipe has been prepared by the brilliant Sonal Clare, who is Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier at The Wilderness in Birmingham. He has produced a mouth-watering recipe of Spicy Chicken Bites with Tomato, Red Onion & Coriander Chutney, which pairs fantastically with our Wiston Estate Rosé 2014.

We were absolutely delighted when Sonal approached us to provide our next Chef Series Recipe. Having known him now for a couple of years, previously when he was Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier at Michelin-starred, Purnell’s, and now as Head Sommelier at The Wilderness, Sonal has a superb palate and is an avid fan of our wines. Awarded GQ Sommelier of the Year 2018 and ‘Best Sommelier’ in the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards 2018, when not working Front of House, Sonal is loves nothing more than cooking up a storm at home so we were very excited to try his recipe.

In his own words, Sonal has shared his thoughts behind this dish and why he’s chosen to pair it with our Wiston Estate Rosé 2014 below:

“I have been a massive fan of the Wiston Estate range when trying them in 2019. After trying the Blanc de Blancs 2011 I had a real idea that this was a serious winery!

Over lockdown I went back to the roots of my heritage and did lots of Punjabi cooking.

As a sommelier our job is to match food and wine to create a fantastic experience: delivering flavour, balance and fun! By taking on some of the wines from Wiston I wanted to actually personalise classic Asian dishes to match the flavour profile to their sparkling wines! Creating these bespoke dishes allows us to showcase the fizz in all its glory!!

This recipe is Spicy Chicken Bites; very similar to the pakora. Gram Flour is used to create a lovely crispy coating, with nutty flavours. I have used chicken thighs as it has a nicer fat content and texture than breast when deep frying.

We have used a touch of lemon juice to help the balance in the sparkling wine.

I have focused on using a mixture of dried powders and crushed coriander seeds in the mixture to bring a balance of aromas and spices, but not to overpower the delicate flavours in the sparkler. I love how the seeds really come to the forefront (mustard, coriander and cumin) alongside fresh coriander, which really gives a lift to the dish.

I have also served a Tomato, Red Onion and Coriander Chutney to help elevate the red fruit characteristic; yet not overpowering the chutney with acidity! Touches of cardamom, ginger, bay leaf, apple and grapefruit zest together with brown sugar and white wine white vinegar help to lift the wine and bring life to the dish.

Spices work incredibly well with fizz and I love the idea of making easy dishes to create a perfect experience at home with one of the finest English sparkling wines on the market.”

Sonal can be followed on Instagram on @sogzyuk.




Spicy Chicken Bites with Tomato, Red Onion & Coriander Chutney 

For the Chicken Bites (Makes 10):

1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Crushed Coriander
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Salt
Gram Flour (enough to coat)
Small handful Fresh Coriander
1 tsp Lemon Juice
320g Chicken Thighs
Oil for Deep Frying

For the Chutney (Makes lots!)

1 tbsp Oil
2 Red Onions
5 Cardamom Pods
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 kg Roughly Chopped Tomatoes
2 Apples (grated)
20g Ginger (fresh grated)
1 Whole Grapefruit Zest
300g Sugar
300g White Wine Vinegar
Small handful Fresh Coriander



  1. Mix all ingredients and leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll into equal size balls.
  3. Heat oil and deep fry until golden brown and rises to the top of oil pan.


  1. Heat the oil to a medium heat in a heavy based saucepan, then cook the onions and spices until soft.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the pan with the apple, ginger and grapefruit zest.
  3. Add the sugar and vinegar, then reduce until a jam consistency. This will take approximately 40-50 minutes.
  4. Finish with fresh coriander.