5 Wines to Pair with Indian Food Classics

 


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5 Wines to Pair with Indian Food Classics The best Indian food I ever had was when my friend Aman’s parents would visit from Ahmedabad and his mother would cook wonderful meals for us. Beautifully seasoned, all vegetarian, and all made with love in the traditional style of Gujarat. Unfortunately, I never wrote down the names of any of the dishes and have never seen anything like them on a menu since.

Indian cuisine is highly diverse as you’d expect from a nation of 1.2 billion people with a wide range of ingredients, religions, and different histories that all come together to shape the local dinner table—a table that traditionally hasn’t featured wine. 

But Indian food has found wide popularity around the world due to centuries of international trade and the South Asian diaspora. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to skip a thesis-length examination into pure, authentic Indian cuisine and instead focus on the dishes that are commonly found in small family restaurants and takeaway shops outside of the subcontinent. 

This genre has often been cited as notoriously difficult to pair with wine, but I think that stems from lack of experience as well as a fear of working without a net: no established rules like red with beef and white with fish (which I break all the time). You can have fun with all sorts of surprising combinations. You may not find these wine options at your neighborhood restaurant, but you can certainly enjoy them back home with piles of steaming basmati rice and slightly crispy naan. 

Photo credit: Amber Indian Restaurant

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Comments

  • Great. I would love to have these dishes prepared and served each wine choices you have picked.thank you for opening me up to a new way of paring.

    Nov 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM


  • Snooth User: pamela2
    Hand of Snooth
    348797 10

    Have you ever tried Caymus Connumdrum with Indian food? I did a few years ago as part of a pairing exercise to match this wine with the most typical take out foods of NY and my favorite was the Chicken Tikka Masala.
    Try it and have fun!

    Nov 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM


  • Snooth User: cma238
    1295124 214

    Pamela2 that sounds wonderful! Any options for...naan & cheese?? I know paneer is a cheese but what else?

    Nov 14, 2014 at 1:57 PM


  • Snooth User: pamela2
    Hand of Snooth
    348797 10

    Naan, even with cheese, is very mild: any light red or white will do. I'm biased to Beaujolais this time of year but this one is an easy pairing. I love that bread (and I am French so it says a lot), but usually get cheated by my kids who jump on it before we have anytime to get some.
    :)

    Nov 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM


  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,058

    I love Indian food but never sure about the wines. Thank you for clarifying.

    Nov 14, 2014 at 4:26 PM


  • Beer always comes to mind as the best alcoholic beverage to accompany Asian or spicy food, but wine is also quite appropriate when correctly chosen. All of the wines you suggest are great with Asian or spicy food, but your choices are so good because I believe you have picked exactly the right varietal to go with its most appropriate dish. Well done! I have chosen the same or very similar varietals to go with Thai food. Fresh water should be served with the wines and save the tea for before or after the meal.

    Nov 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM


  • Snooth User: catseda
    1112970 21

    This is a great article. Not only beautifully written but crave-inducing also. Guess I'll be having Indian food for dinner.

    Nov 14, 2014 at 5:40 PM


  • Snooth User: Ben Carter
    1265097 20

    Glad you all enjoyed it! The research was delicious.

    Nov 15, 2014 at 7:30 AM


  • Snooth User: Damndit
    551960 218

    This might sound strange but believe me this paring works with most Indian dishes. Australian Sparkling Shiraz, good ones would be Seppelts, Rockwood, Turkey Flat and the soon to be released Molly Dooker. As mentioned in the article a wine with a touch of sweetness generally pairs very well with Indian food. Sparkling Shiraz does have this sweetness as well as the spice Shiraz has along with its mocha and red berry flavours topped off with the oak imparted flavours of Vanilla and coconut, it just seems to compliment the spice and coconut flavours in the food. Give it a go and I think you will be very pleasantly surprised!

    Nov 19, 2014 at 3:53 AM


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