Four Ways to Drink More Wine With Indian Food (No, Really)

“I’ve tried each form of with meals, whether or not it’s one thing my mother made or one thing I made,” Rajat Parr says.

The James Beard Award-winning sommelier was born in Calcutta, India, and attended the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y., earlier than launching his star-studded wine profession. Following posts at Rubicon and Fifth Ground in San Francisco, Parr served as wine director for The Mina Group, a group of almost 40 eating places worldwide.

Now he heads up the wine program at Bibi Ji, a raucously enjoyable wine bar, bottle store, and all-day restaurant in Santa Barbara, Calif. It’s a joint operation with Jessi Singh, chef of NYC’s Babu Ji. Menus and vibes of the 2 institutions overlap — a lot to the delight of followers of Singh’s “Mr. Tso’s Cauliflower,” an Indo-vegetarian riff on a Chinese language-American takeout customary.

“Indian meals, with its intricate spicing; wealthy, built-in sauces, and occasional chile warmth, has usually posed a tough riddle to wine lovers,” writes Eric Asimov in The New York Occasions. Because of this, many diners have sipped mild, easy-drinking lager as an alternative of wine when consuming Indian cuisines.

Rajat Parr teaches us how to pair wine with Indian food.

Bibi Ji’s Rajat Parr is a James Beard Award-winning sommelier.

Parr, nevertheless, matches an array of principally European wines with the dishes at Bibi Ji. “The wine record is small,” Parr says. “It’s geared extra towards pure wine, and issues which are recent and crunchy.” Bibi Ji’s record modifications very regularly and contains round 20 wines by the glass.

Whether or not you’re angling for certainly one of Bibi Ji’s 40 seats (trace: there are extra on the bar and on the patio), or need to pair wine together with your favourite Indian fare, Parr has you coated. Listed here are 4 foolproof secrets and techniques to pairing wine with Indian meals.

Spicy Meals Don’t Require Candy Wine

The No. 1 consideration when pairing wine with spicy Indian dishes is alcohol degree. “Low-alcohol is essential,” Parr says, whereas wines with excessive ranges of alcohol “will make the dish even hotter.”

Because of this, massive, daring California Cabernet Sauvignons are out. Off-dry Rieslings are a very good pairing however are usually not your solely choice. “The residual sugar is necessary, however not that necessary,” Parr says.

“Rosé works very well,” Parr says, as do easy-drinking Chenin Blancs and even spicy Gamays. He additionally suggests skin-contact or orange wines with Indian meals. He remembers pairing a low-skin-contact Radikon with smoky, spiced hen tikka, calling it an “superb” match.

“The large image is assume recent, lighter wines,” Parr says. “Not wealthy and heavy.”

Bibi Ji restaurant teaches us how to pair wine with Indian food.

Bibi Ji serves Indian and Indian-influenced fare by chef Jessi Singh, who additionally helms New York Metropolis’s Babu Ji.

Sure, You Can Go Pink

“Individuals assume that pink wines don’t work with Indian meals,” Parr says, “Effectively, I feel they work very properly.”

He pairs a savory Loire Pineau d’Aunis with Singh’s apricot chutney-topped lamb chops, and lists mild Canary Island wines like Listan Negro amongst his favourite foils for Indian meals.

“Pinot Noir positively clashes,” Parr says, however light-bodied Syrah or Loire Valley Cabernet Franc are wonderful choices. In all circumstances, search for wines which are extra earthy than fruity to offset the spice of Indian cooking.

Go All In on Acid

Any time you’re consuming one thing spicy, high-acid wines concurrently soothe and revive your palate. Fruity fleshy wines, however, can’t reduce by way of spice and smoke.

Inexperienced, flinty Vinho Verde, such because the Antonio Lopez Ribiero that Parr often serves by the glass at Bibi Ji, have ample acidity. Parr pairs the above with Singh’s ginger-glazed rainbow trout.

Bibi Ji teaches us how to pair wine with Indian food.

The wine record at Bibi Ji is modifications regularly and contains bottles from France, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and others.

Save Your Greatest Bubbles

Champagne is a wonderful foil for Chinese language meals, fried hen, and plenty of different indulgent favorites, however Parr advises in opposition to popping open your best sparkler for Indian dishes.

“Champagne is just too sophisticated,” he says. Pairing the 2 is “nice, but it surely gained’t improve the Champagne or the meals.”

As a substitute, Parr suggests pét nat, or pétillant naturel, the traditional French sparkler presently surging in reputation. As a result of it’s not disgorged like Champagne, and never essentially filtered after fermentation, pét nat usually has extra funk than Champagnes, making it a very good match for the daring flavors in Indian cooking.

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