Pairing of Indian dishes with wines is one topic about which I’ve changed my mind over the years as a wine enthusiast.
Curry and Spices Let me be honest, Indian food and Wines do not naturally make a heavenly pair. The quintessential spicy Indian curry is a fierce match for the delicate wines and can be best avoided. However with a new generation of revolutionary chefs, this matrix is set for a change for better.
Turning Point My own revelation of how wonderfully a wine can pair with Indian food happened a few years ago at The Spice Market restaurant at New Delhi. It is run by a couple, both of whom happen to be talented chefs.
Indian Kebab with Red Wine So in this restaurant I was served something called as Galouti Kebab with Spanish Red Wine. As with any good food with wine, a pleasurable sensation engulfed my palate. The kebab paired so well with the wine that I became a convert and started to believe and even profess how well wines can go with Indian food.
More Experiments After this pleasant culinary discovery I followed it up by trying various other Indian dishes with both Indian and International wines. More about it later in the post, but first some trivia on the Galouti Kebab.
Galouti Kebab: The Melt-in-the Mouth Delicacy Originally Made for a Toothless King The legend goes that the Nawab (Chieftain) had lost most of his dentures due to old age, but his penchant for kebabs was far from dying. So for their toothless Nawab, the seasoned khansamas (cooks) came up with a popular variant which needed no chewing yet had the same rich flavours and taste of a kebab. It was christened as the Galouti Kebab.
Red wine with Chicken Tikka Chicken Tikka is another Indian delicacy which can go well with both red and white wine.
Last But Not The Least
During Covid times, Delhi Wine Club conducted a webinar with owners of the renowned Mauro Sebaste Winery in Piemonte, Italy.
The discussions took a surprising turn when Ms Shraddha, an Indian intern with the winery revealed as to how Dal Makhini, which is a staple lintel dish in most of homes in India, pairs very well with the Barbera wine produced by the winery.
Over the period of time I have been subjecting my palate to a variety of Indian dishes paired with wines. Staring as a non believer, I am now a firm advocate of such pairing.
With all such experiences also came a revelation about what clicks in any good wine and Indian food pairing and today I share the same with everyone.
The Secret lies in a thoughtful preparation of food. Selection of assorted Indian spices from different parts of the country is the first step. Thereafter special ways of preparing the meal, for example slow cooking at a right temperature on a dim flame, and other such techniques are the key to ensure the ultimate pleasure of pairing Indian food with wine.
PS: Longish post but I do hope you enjoyed reading it. Do also share your own views and experiences in comments. Cheers !!