Pairing Wine With Indian Curry

Indian curry has a rich history, and India is an expansive country with diversified regional influences so there are many different curry dishes. The most common spices used in Indian curries are cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, paprika, and red chili powder. Indian curries are often made from scratch and the spices are heated first, so they release fragrant aromas and vibrant flavours.

Top Wines For Indian Curry

Certain wines will bring out the best in the food and the food will bring out the best in these wines. Here are some top choices:

  • Riesling
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Muscat

When pairing wine with food we must always think of the sauce and must match the intensity. You put delicate with delicate and bold with bold. In this case we are dealing with many different spices but also a wide range of spice level from mild to incredibly spicy. Indian curry sauce can range from thick and rich to runny. It is often cooked with chicken, lamb or fish and served with basmati rice and naan bread.

There are three main kinds of curry. Vindaloo is a fiery thick curry with meat marinated in wine, ginger, and garlic. Palak Paneer is a green curry mixed with paneer cheese which is vibrant with a medium level of heat. The green comes from spinach, seasonal leafy greens such as mustard greens and it is not as spicy as Vindaloo but is like soul food. Korma is a very popular curry which is creamy and rich and although not spicy it is packed full of flavours, most notably cumin and coriander. The creamy base is usually made with yogurt. Meat and vegetables are both cooked in the curry sauce until tender enough to serve but taking on the depth of flavour.

Consider the Spice

Pairing wines with Indian curry is exciting. With the different styles of curries and the types of spices as well as the level of spiciness involved, we are best to pair with vibrant flavourful wines. Due to the level of spice and heat, red wine is not a recommended pairing. Tannins will compete with the spice and result in bitterness. For the best results, we highly recommend an off dry zesty fruity and exotic white wine.

This will allow the flavours to be showcased and not hidden. First up is Gewurztraminer with its round mouth feel and exotic flavours. Notes of lychee fruit, rose petal, honey and ginger nuances all pair perfectly. Next is an off dry zesty Riesling, bursting flavours of apple, lime citrus and honey it will match the intensity and compliment the spice level well. The next best wine to pair with Indian curry is Muscat. It has a lovely honey suckle sweetness that balances the heat and exotic spices.

Enjoy an exciting well-balanced complimentary food and wine pairing with off the chart flavour sensations!

Katherine McEachnie, DipWSET