Can high-end Indian food work with wine? Yes you can, and very delightfully.
There’s a common misconception that Indian food doesn’t go with wine. There’s very little margin for error when you try to match Indian food and wine. Any ingredient could respond in a different way to the wine. Indian food takes it to another dimension. There are so many things to consider. The sequence of dishes is a challenge, as is the buildup of spice on the palate. Indian food has lots of personality, so you don’t want anything too powerful.
Where does your palate fit?
• The western palate tends to prefer combinations of flavour. Creamy wines coat the palate. Buttery whites combine with the flavours of Indian food quite well.
• The Indian palate often wants a wine that is mineralic and acidic, which adds to the spices and brings them out.
Something to calm down the spice: go for something sweet such as Pinot Gris or Riesling or Gewürztraminer that have some residual sugar.
Ridge Montebello Chardonnay 2004 Sonoma, California is a nutty, smooth, toasty and intense with smooth creamy character. Nicely integrated oak with lovely balance and a hint of minerality. Sophisticated stuff. 92/100. The creamy Chardonnay is quite rich and accompanies the Butter Chicken really well.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Nashik, India is a fresh green herby nose with minerally methoxypyrazine nose. The palate has nice bright fruit. Herby and minerally with good acidity. Crisp, fresh and very stylish. 88/100. Served with Chicken Tikka Masala, the minerality and gentle herbiness of the wine work really well with gently sweet-spiced food.
Mont de Toit 2003 Wellington, South Africa is a red blend from the Cape showing rich, bold sweet blackcurrant fruit. Quite lush and pure with a slightly green herby edge. Smooth with real personality – a ripe yet sophisticated wine. 91/100. An interesting combination here: Chicken Korma. It’s a rich, mildly spicy dish but the sweet bold fruit of the red has the texture to match the flavours. There’s a degree of synergy, with the subtle herbiness of the wine matching the subtle herbiness of the dish. Good combination.
Muddy Water Pinot Noir 2006 Waipara, New Zealand is a cherry and berry fruit nose with some herbiness. Bright but intense, with some attractive meaty depth on the palate. Fruit driven and nicely balanced with good acidity and texture. 91/100. Served with Chicken Tikka, which is wild, smoky and spicy: the Pinot is a bit overwhelmed but with its rich texture works well. A solid match.
Champagne Delamotte Brut Rosé NV is a lovely, lively, grapey fizz with good acid and toasty notes under the subtle strawberry fruit. Quite delicate and really attractive. 91/100. Malai Tikka, the wine’s acidity cuts through well. Good match.
These easy wraps take just 10 minutes to prepare and are a great healthy meal on the run.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
• ¾ cucumber, halved and sliced
• ¾ iceberg lettuce, shredded
• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• Handful coriander leaves, torn
• 4 plain small naan bread
• 400g pack of Spice Mantra’s Chicken Tikka
• 4 tbs Natural yogurt
• 4 tsp Mint Chutney
• Lemon Juice
Toss all the salad vegetables together. Heat the naan breads in the microwave or on a pan. Remove the breads. Heat the Chicken Tikka in the microwave or oven and make sure to heat through (see instructions on box). Take naan bread and place some of the salad mixture, Spice Mantra’s Chicken Tikka pieces, and green chutney. Sprinkle some salt and pepper powder. Squeeze some lemon juice.
Roll and enjoy your wraps…
Prep time: 15 minutes
• ½ cup plain yogurt
• 1 tablespoons garam masala
• 1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• ¼ cup Sherry wine vinegar
• 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoons ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon curry powder
• ½ cup olive oil
• 400 g Spice Mantra Tandoori Chicken Tikka
• 2 cups (lightly packed) chopped romaine lettuce
• 2 cups (lightly packed) mixed baby greens
• ½ red onion, thinly sliced
• 4 fresh mint sprigs
• 4 tablespoons Mango Chutney
• 4 lime wedges
Whisk all dressing ingredients to blend in medium bowl.
Place romaine and baby greens in large salad bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with sliced red onion, 1 fresh mint sprig, 1 tablespoon of mango chutney, and 100 g of Spice Mantra Tandoori Chicken Tikka julienne sliced. Serve with lime wedges.
Prep time: 15 minutes
• 1/2 cup Raita
• 250 g Indian Naan Flatbread
• ¼ cup shredded carrots
• 250 g Spice Mantra Tandoori Chicken Tikka or Malai Tikka
Cut the naan into 2 inch discs and lightly toast. Spread raita over naan. Sprinkle with coriander leaves. Divide chicken between naan breads, placing on top of the raita. Garnish with shredded carrots and secure with toothpick.