How to pair Indian food with wines

Wine and cheese, we know, but have you heard of wine and rajma masala?
Last Updated 27 August 2022, 12:20 IST

When pairing food with wines, the first thought that comes to mind is cheese. The age-old combination works because different types of cheese influence or bring out certain flavours of various wines.

These days, various international and regional cuisines are paired with wines.

Wines can be paired brilliantly with Indian dishes if you know what tones and undertones go with Indian spices.

To understand this better, we spoke to Sonal Holland, Master of Wine and the Founder and CEO of Sonal Holland Wine Academy and SoHo Wine Consultants, about which wine goes well with our homemade delicacies and why. Let's take a look at some of the wine pairings we discussed.

Cabernet Sauvignon + Rajma Masala/ Chhole Masala/Seekh Kebab

Cabernet Sauvignon produces wines that are flavoursome, rich, and full-bodied. They pair beautifully with equally robust, heartwarming foods. A good, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon would pair impeccably with rajma masala, chole masala, or seekh kebab. Each dish is rich, heavy and full of spices that work incredibly well with a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bordeaux White+ Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is, again, very rich, creamy, and flavourful. An excellent Bordeaux Blanc (white) will pair nicely with butter chicken as the acidity will cut through the creamy sauce.

Pakoras + Sparkling Wine

Anything with an oily texture like pakoras needs a wine with a racy acidity that can cleanse the palate. For this, a sparkling wine that is lively and fruity would work perfectly.

Rosato Wine + Goan Fish Curry

Rosato wine has a pleasant salmon pink colour with hues of orange that bring out a magnificent aesthetic. The slightly fruity flavours of this type of wine pair well with seafood such as Goan fish curry. The rich flavours from the curry are balanced out with a dash of Rosato and make for a perfect evening in Goa.

Based on the alcohol content, the base, and the origin of the wine, they can be paired with Indian foods depending on the spice, creaminess, and base curries or masalas. For example, pair a fruity or sweet wine with a low level of alcohol for extremely spicy curries to help balance flavours rather than have one overpowering the other.

"When it comes to wine and food pairings, there are no specific rules, just guidelines," said Holland. "Remember to go for wines that will not overpower your food, but rather complement them to enhance the flavours of both the wine and the food. But in the end, it all comes down to what you want to drink and enjoy".

(Shreya Johri is a Delhi-based freelance writer.)

(Published 27 August 2022, 12:20 IST)

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