How To Match Wine With Your Favourite Indian Food
- Love a vindaloo? Try it with a spicy red. Source: Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation
Were not going to say forget the beer. Because beer IS a great match with Indian food. But if you think wine doesnt work with Indian food, how about trying this. Orange wine with tandoori chicken. Chilled red wine with curries. No champagne theyre often too complex but its yes to a glass of a bubbly thats less expensive, wilder, more crunchy Rajat Parrs favourite word when it comes to matching wine with Indian food.
When we decided to look for tips on how to pick wine to match the diverse and sometimes fiery flavours of Indian food, who better than Parr, an award-winning Indian-American sommelier turned winemaker and co-owner of Sydneys fun, irreverent Indian eatery, Dont Tell Aunty.
We also hit up someone else whos spent many, many hours over the past two years thinking about matching wine to the diverse flavours of Indian food: Australian Sarah Todd.
Todd, the former Masterchef star who jumped in the deep end three years to set up a restaurant on the island of Goa, has taken up the challenge again, this time with a wine bar in Mumbai with an ambitious plan to offer more than 300 wines from more than 30 regions around the world . Thats a lot of potential wine-food combinations to get your head around!
So what do Parr and Todd suggest we look for when matching wine to Indian food?
What White Wine Goes With Indian Food
We have for you an exquisite list to pair your Indian food dishes with some delicious wine!
- Papdi Chaat with a Sparkling Wine.
- Aloo Poori with Sula Chardonnay.
- Paneer Tikka with Sauvignon Blanc.
- Galouti Kebab with Pinot Noir.
- Biryani with a Sangiovese.
- Gulab Jamun with Port Wine.
- Kheer with an Indian Chenin Blanc.
The Best Wine With Indian Food: Surprising Pairings To Elevate Every Meal
Curious if wine with Indian food is a good pairing?
If youre overlooking the wine offerings at your favorite Indian restaurant, youre missing out on some incredible pairings. While more traditional drinks like sweet lassi or masala chai are probably the first to jump to mind and are pretty delicious, too an unexpected wine pairing can help elevate any Indian dish!
In this blog post, well talk about the best wines to pair with your favorite meals and the spices to keep in mind when making your perfect selection.
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Thai Yellow Curry And Wine
Thai Yellow Curry is the third famous curry variation from Thailand. Like its red and green siblings, Thai Yellow Curry is made from a curry paste, various vegetables and spices, and optionally meat or fish. For the curry paste, chefs use dried Thai chilis, garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander, cilantro, turmeric, and other spices.
Thai chilis are less hot than red or green chilis, making the yellow variation the mildest of all Thai curries. Although its perceivably spicy, it gives the different herbs and spices more room to showcase their aromas.
Like red or green curries, you can combine Thai Yellow Curry and wine that is off-dry to semi-sweet. Pinot Gris or Riesling are great choices. But you can also choose a dry white wine. Make sure it isnt too light otherwise, the meal might overpower it. Go for fruity flavors that you can find in Chardonnay wines from Australia, New Zealand, or California. Stick to unoaked styles. Unoaked Viognier can be a good wine pairing for Thai Yellow Curry, too.
Best White Wine With Indian Food
Riesling a great default for most meals if you are uncertain what to pair.Sauvignon Blanc wonderful with Saag Paneer, an Indian vegetable dish with cheese.Gewürztraminer drink this with Tikka Masala or meat curries.Grüner Veltliner drink this with green and creamy Indian dishes like Saag paneer.Pinot Gris the creaminess complement the creamy dishes in Indian cuisine.Rosé excellent with spicy dishes like Vindaloo .
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Pairing French Wine With Spicy Curries
Normally, to reduce strong spicy flavours, we pair spicy curries with raitas or buttermilk. Similarly, sweet white wines can also do wonders.If you are serving rich spicy curries like pork vindaloo or coconut prawn curry or vegetarian dhansak, then I would suggest Alsace Pinot Gris. The extra touch of sweetness with hints of musky notes will counterbalance the harshness of the spices.If your table is laden with mutton rogan josh, Mangalorean chicken curry or vegetable tikka masala, I would highly recommend Gewurztraminer. The mélange of honey notes and lychee scented aromas make this wine an ideal partner with hot curries.
What Wine Goes Best With Indian Curry
What goes best with Indian curry with red wine? People, on the other hand, believe that a wine with a smoky flavor, such as a Merlot, goes well with this type of dish. Furthermore, Guibord suggests pairing a wine with chicken tikka masala to highlight the smoky flavor of the tandoor cooking and subtle spices that will come off better when paired with a more tannins-forward wine. Merlot is an excellent wine to pair with Indian curry if you want something to sip with your next meal.
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Six Drinks You Might Not Have Thought Of Pairing With Indian Food
Asking what to drink with Indian food is a bit like asking what to drink with European food – its so incredibly varied – but there are pointers that should hopefully make the decision a bit easier.
* First of all how hot the food is overall, bearing in mind that not all Indian food is super-spicy. Theres generally a difference between shop-bought dishes which are likely to be milder and ones you might have in a restaurant or make at home. Stands to reason the hotter the food the more cooling you want your drink
* Secondly the basic ingredient, whether thats meat, fish or veggies. Not as important as the seasoning and the spicing but it does have some effect. As with other type of cuisine think in terms of lighter, fresher drinks with fish and vegetable dishes and more full-flavoured ones with meat
* Thirdly, and not least important, your own preference. Whisky? Fine – no problem – just dilute it a bit more than you would normally. You don’t drink? There are plenty of alcohol-free options these days
1. Beers that that are not lager
Maybe you dont associate cider with curry but try it. To my mind it goes best with a medium-dry cider – you need a touch of sweetness with most dishes but with milder fish and veggie curries it can be incredibly refreshing.
Remember That High Tannins Is Best With Meat
Since Indian cuisine has a lot of vegetarian dishes, it leads to a more flexible amount of wine to choose from. Wine favorites such as steak, reds, whites, and sparkling wines can accompany your Indian food.
With that said, you should never forget that high tannins are best with meat. Most common Indian food uses white chicken, lamb, and beef cuts. Red wines are the best for these dishes as they offer the highest tannins.
Indian cuisine also offers a wide variety of vegetables and vegetarian dishes. With these types of foods, you can choose from more variety, such as white and sparkling wines.
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Wines That Go Surprisingly Well With Indian Food
Aromatic wines such as riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer are generally considered the ideal wines to pair with Indian food but theyre not the only game in town.
particularly with lighter, less heavily sauced dishes that are that include green chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander. See this recent match of the week of Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc which highlighted how good it was with paneer with spinach
Especially with dishes with a creamy or buttery sauce like butter chicken.
Red wine wouldnt be my automatic go to for Indian food but medium to full-bodied reds like malbec and rioja generally work with Indian meat dishes the same way they do from those from other culinary traditions especially lamb ones like rogan josh or marinated whole leg of lamb . They can also work with Indian spiced game like this dish of tandoori-spiced grouse with a Tuscan-style Indian red.
Lighter reds such as Beaujolais and other gamays can also go surprisingly well with spicy vegetarian dishes as I discovered recently .
Rosé pairs remarkably well with a range of Indian dishes though Id go for the deeper-coloured Spanish rosados, or fruitier pinot noir-based ones rather than the pale Provençal style . Particularly good with chicken tikka masala
Sparkling wine – even champagne!
See also Pairing Whisky with Indian Food
Spicy Foods Dont Require Sweet Wine
When matching wine with spicy Indian cuisine, the degree of alcohol in the wine is the most important factor to consider. Low-alcohol wines are essential, Parr explains, noting that high-alcohol wines will make the meal even hotter. Big, bold CaliforniaCabernet Sauvignons are no longer available as a result. Off-dryRieslingsare a fantastic match for this dish, but they are not the only alternative. The residual sugar is essential, but its not that crucial, Parr says of the sugar content.
He also recommends pairing skin-contact orange wines with Indian cuisine.
In the grand scheme of things, Parr adds, imagine fresh, lighter wines.Its not heavy and rich. Chef Jessi Singh, who also runs New York Citys Babu Ji, oversees the kitchen of Bibi Ji, which serves Indian and Indian-influenced cuisine.
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Best Wines To Pair With Your Favorite Indian Dishes
It is simple to prepare butter chicken with a light and acidic white wine. The flavors of meat curry complement those of a red wine, such as a full-bodied Pinot Noir or a delicate Shiraz. Curries like chicken, seafood, or vegetables complement Pinot Grigio or Gewrztraminers quite nicely. According to the wine expert, the number of wines that complement Indian food is small. He enjoys earthier, spicier wines, such as syrah and cabernet franc, but especially those with no oaky or fruity flavors.
Wine Pairings For Lamb Korma
For those who appreciate a nutty, creamy sauce, you cant go wrong with lamb korma! Prepared with cashews, almonds, and numerous spices, this mild yet flavor packed dish lends itself nicely to wines with a bit of higher alcohol content and acidity. The next time you order this at an Indian restaurant, opt for a dry, semi-sweet Zinfandel or Viognier.
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Wines For Chicken Korma
“This would be the dish I’d roll the dice with for a Sherry-style wine: Amontillado such as Perez Barquero’s Gran Barquero. As long as the spices in the dish were more aromatic and less actually spicy, the fuller-bodied Amontillado could stand up to the dish but play with the aromatic component. “Carla Rzeszewski
“For Chicken Korma, choose rosé made from Grenache or a Grenache blend. The roundness of the coconut milk and yogurt provide a distinct texture component to the dish that needs to be addressed with the right rosé. I’d choose a Provencal-style Grenache based rose as opposed to the Spanish kind. The key is to provide some body in the wine without overpowering the dish. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, an Italian rosé made with Montelpuciano will work just as well.” Arthur Hon
“Chicken Korma tends to be a little more mild on the spice so you could try something like Gewurztraminer or a Condrieu. A little Riesling never hurt but something with some richness so perhaps something like Domaine Weinbach’s L’Inedit.” Sabato Sagaria MS
“An aged Mosel riesling, when it starts to have aromas of elderflower and yuzu or an aromatic wheat beer like the white nest from Hitachino.” Pascaline Lepeltier
Things To Consider When Pairing Wine With Indian Food
When it comes to pairing wine with Indian food, youll need to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, basic wine pairing rules almost go out the window entirely when it comes to Indian food.
Instead of fixating on whether youre having lamb or chicken in your curry, its important to remember that spice is the main star of the show in Indian cooking.
There is a massive variety of flavors and spices in Indian food, and it may surprise you to learn that not every dish is packed with an abundance of red chili peppers. Some of the biggest staple spices in Indian cooking like garam masala, cumin, and coriander dont necessarily pack a lot of heat.
These spices are a part of what can make Indian food so intensely flavored, so making a selection that helps bring out all these rich flavors is key.
For dishes that pack a ton of flavor but are a bit on the milder side, you can go with dry options like a Chardonnay or a rich Bordeaux Blanc. If you like a lot of spice, youll generally want to go with sweeter options like Riesling or Pinot Gris.
Another important thing to keep in mind when youre making your selection is the sauce youll be enjoying with your meal. The term curry is often a catch-all for any kind of South Asian dish serving as a gravy or a stew. However, theres a wide variety of tomato-based, creamy, and green sauces, and youll want to consider the flavors and acidity of the dish before you order.
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Save Your Best Bubbles
Despite the fact that champagne pairs beautifully with Chinese food, fried chicken, and a variety of other rich meals, Parr warns against serving it with Indian cuisine. Champagne is just too complex, he adds of the beverage. It is OK to pair the two, but it will not enhance the Champagne or the dish, according to the expert. Instead, Parr recommends pét nat, also known as pétillant naturel, an old French sparkling wine that is presently enjoying a resurgence in favor. In part because to the fact that it is not disgorged like Champagne and is not always filtered after fermentation, pet nat has a stronger funk than Champagne, which makes it a wonderful fit for the intense flavors of Indian cuisine.
A Bold Take On Wine Pairing With Indian Food
Butter Chicken. Photo credits to Rinku Bhattacharya
The first order of business when faced with pairing Indian food with wine is to move right past the gewurztraminer. Actually, better yet, save the gewurztraminer for dessert. The sheer diversity of Indian cuisine can make wine pairing an adventure or a challenge depending on your perspective but relying on sweet wines in hope of balancing strong flavors is rarely the most interesting or satisfying match. Because Indian food is not designed to be paired with wines doesnt mean it doesnt pair well with wines or that one style of wine is better than any others.
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Best Wine With Indian Curry
When it comes to pairing wine with Indian curry, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the heat level of the curry will play a role in what type of wine you choose. If youre making a mild curry, you can go for a white wine like a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. If youre making a spicier curry, you might want to try a red wine like a Shiraz or Grenache. In terms of what kind of curry youre making, its also important to consider the ingredients. If your curry has a lot of tomato-based sauce, you might want to try a Pinot Noir. If your curry has more of a coconut milk-based sauce, you might want to try a Chardonnay. And if your curry is really heavy on the spices, you might want to try a Gewürztraminer. Ultimately, the best wine to pair with Indian curry is the one that you enjoy the most. So experiment and find what works best for you.
Chicken Tikka Masala Wine Pairing
The sauce used in Chicken Tikka Masala is a creamy tomato-based sauce. So choose a wine that has a high acidity to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes and also a wine that has strong flavors so it doesnt get overpowered by the sauce. Pick a riesling, pinot grigio or gewurztraminer to drink with your chicken tikka masala and you wont be disappointed!
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Pairing French Wine With Indian Deserts
Indian deserts are intensely sweet. Therefore, it is important to pair them with sweeter wines, otherwise the deserts will render them exceedingly tart.If you are wrapping up your meal with milk-based deserts like gulab jamun or mango kulfi or rice kheer, then go for Muscat de Rivesaltes. The acidity from the citrus notes and the complex aromas from ripe apricot and peaches matches perfectly with creamy deserts.If you are ending your meal with besan barfi or mysore pak or jalebis, then go for the Clairette de Die Tradition. This pale-yellow coloured drink with bouquet of apple, pear, honey scents and floral notes is an ideal companion to these desserts.
The Best Pairing For Indian Food Its Not Beer
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By Eric Asimov
A recent dinner at Indian Accent on West 56th Street began in a typical fashion. Papadum and other crisp wafers arrived with an assortment of sweet and spicy chutneys, though, in an elegant expression worthy of high-end aspirations, the wafers were presented vertically, their edges anchored in a bed of dry lentils.
Next came a little something unexpected: a small circle of warm naan stuffed with blue cheese as an amuse-bouche, a delicious union of soft, lightly smoky South Asian bread and pungent European funk. Then, a surprise: the wine list, a world-class collection of bottles spanning the world, including inexpensive obscurities and fine, pricey Burgundies and Champagnes.
Many people, conditioned by the vast majority of Indian restaurants, would never imagine ordering fine wine with Indian food. Beer, they insist, is the go-to, especially with spicier dishes.
Over centuries in European and Middle Eastern wine-drinking cultures, wine and food developed in tandem, dovetailing naturally at the table. Some cuisines outside historic wine regions, like Cantonese and Vietnamese, have proved themselves amiable companions to wine. But Indian food, with its intricate spicing rich, integrated sauces, and occasional chile heat, has often posed a difficult riddle to wine lovers.
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