How to Pair Wine with Indian and other Global Cuisines- A creative, yet relatable approach

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As a first-generation Indian immigrant, residing in America, my passion for food and travel knows no bounds. My journey led me to a beautiful cross-cultural marriage with an Italian-American, and our dinner table reflects a vibrant tapestry of global flavors. Yet, what I relished preparing and savoring often clashed with the prevailing wisdom on pairing wine and food.

Countless articles extolled the virtues of sweet Rieslings with Asian cuisine, a notion that baffled me and tugged at my culinary sensibilities. How could an entire continent’s diverse and intricate gastronomy be distilled into a single word and one style of wine? It pained my foodie soul.

Enjoying  a flight of Tuscan wines in Enoteca Alessi in Florence, Italy

Equally disheartening was the absence of guidance on pairing wines with dishes as diverse as Peruvian ceviche or Ethiopian Doro Wat. These culinary treasures, steeped in rich history and tradition, often found themselves overshadowed by more mainstream pairing recommendations. It became evident that a broader perspective was essential – one that would wholeheartedly celebrate the expansive realm of food and wine, embracing inclusivity and the extraordinary diversity of global cuisines.

Another aspect that left me pondering was the somewhat simplistic protein-based wine pairing approach. The conventional wisdom dictated pairing fish and chicken with white wines, and reserving red wines for red meats. While this guideline is a reasonable starting point, it failed to account for the intricate variations in culinary preparation. What if the fish was swimming in a robust tomato sauce, or the lamb was luxuriating in a delicate Yakhni gravy, a yogurt-based delight from the northernmost regions of India? And what about those who were vegetarians, vegans, or those occasionally craving Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken – where could they turn for wine pairing recommendations?

Recognizing this glaring gap in our collective wine and gastronomic education, I was motivated to take action.

Having lived in nearly every part of India and several other countries , courtesy of my dad, now a retired Army doctor, my family cooked and savored authentically prepared dishes from across the subcontinent— no small feat, I might add. As an avid cook, spice whisperer , gardener and backyard homesteader, I have managed to gain quite a bit of insight into food and the flavors that make it. As an adventurous eater and enthusiastic traveler, I have marveled over our collective, wonderfully diverse culinary history. Pairing these myriad of flavors with the rich and wonderfully varied world of wine only seemed like the next logical step.

Holding a whole steamed lobster in Maine
Enjoying a bowl of Poke in Big Island, Hawaii.

In this enchanting world of wine and food pairings, there’s an abundance of knowledge to uncover, both for me and, undoubtedly, for you as well. So, with a warm “Namaste,” I extend a heartfelt welcome to all whose culinary experiences have yet to be fully embraced by the world of wine. It is my sincere hope that you’ll discover your ideal pairings right here at The Indian Somm.

Check out my posts below to find some creative pairings with some great bottles