The best wines to drink with Indian food
Stuck on what to serve with a classic chicken tikka masala? Wine expert Henry Jeffreys breaks down which foods to pair with a variety of Indian foods, and what qualities to look for when matching
Most people reach for beer or soft drinks with Indian food, but as long as you don’t go overboard on the chilli when cooking, there’s a wine out there for every dish. Even when you are cooking with strong flavours, there are wines that can pair with and match these perfectly, whether you're serving warm spices, creamy coconut richness or sweet, roasted vegetables. BBC Good Food's wine expert Henry Jeffreys has chosen a few examples of brilliant wines to pair with Indian food below (including some top bottles to try with each dish), so you'll know what to look for next time you're choosing a bottle.
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Wine pairing at a glance:
- Durif goes well with: lamb rogan josh
- Chenin Blanc-Grenache blend goes well with: fish curry
- Pinot Grigio goes well with: chicken tikka masala
- German Riesling goes well with: butternut squash curry
Best wine to serve with lamb rogan josh: Durif
Durif, also known as Petite Syrah, makes intensely fruity, full-bodied wines that are usually without too much tannin, which can taste bitter with highly spiced food. Therefore, it’s excellent with a spicy dish like lamb rogan josh.
Best wine to pair with fish curry: Chenin Blanc-Grenache blend
Another rich dish that needs a suitably full wine. The Forager is a delicious South African blend of Chenin Blanc and Grenache that has enough body so as not to be overwhelmed by the coconut. Plus, it features plenty of acidity to keep things fresh.
Best wine to pair with chicken tikka masala: Pinot Grigio
The country’s favourite dish with, perhaps, its most popular wine: Pinot Grigio. Most Italian versions of this grape would be a bit too light to cope with a creamy, spicy dish like chicken tikka masala, but this Hungarian example has a richness and ginger note that fits the bill perfectly.
Best wine to pair with butternut squash curry: German Riesling
A sweet, creamy vegetable curry like this one requires a wine with a bit of sweetness, but also plenty of acidity to cut through the rich flavours. This delightful German Riesling is just the thing: it’s fresh and crisp, with just a little residual sugar.
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