Sugar and spice

The title of this post is a little misleading as the wine referred to below is technically classed as ‘off-dry’, however the Gewürztraminer grape variety is known for producing aromatic wines which, I recently discovered, go down a treat with spicy home-made curry.

I came across the delightful Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 2010 Alsace Gewürztraminer this week. Rich and peachy with notes of lychee and rose petal, this wine was enjoyed alongside two tasty curry dishes. The rich spices in the food were balanced perfectly by the sweet ginger flavour present in the wine. You should generally avoid serving dry wines with spicy food as hot chilli takes away the sweetness in wine making dry ones taste a lot drier and unpleasantly astringent.

Chicken curry

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 skinless chicken thigh fillets
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic. chopped
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp medium Madras curry powder
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 tsp salt
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250g button mushrooms, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Knob of butter


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken fillets. Place in a large saucepan
2. Add the butter to the frying pan, heat until sizzling and fry the onions until soft (but not browned)
3. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and curry powder, stir well and fry gently for 3-4 minutes
4. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and crumble in the stock cube
5. Bring to the boil and add to the chicken in the saucepan
6. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes
7. Stir in the mushrooms and pepper slices and simmer for a further 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through

Chickpea curry

Ingredients (serves 4)

400g chickpeas, drained
1 small onion
1/2 green pepper, sliced (optional)
1/2 red pepper, sliced (optional)
400g tin chopped tomatoes or 4 large chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander (or substitute 1tbsp medium Madras curry powder for the spices)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Knob of butter


1. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large frying pan until sizzling
2. Turn down the heat and gently fry the onions until browned
3. Add the pepper slices (if using) and spices and fry for a further 3-4 minutes
4. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and extra water, if needed
5. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 45 minutes until the liquid has reduced and everything is heated through

The great thing about these two dishes is that they require a lot of the same ingredients so extra shopping is kept to a minimum!

Serve with fluffy basmati rice, naan bread, crispy pappadums and a cucumber raita to cool things down (1/2 finely diced cucumber, 3 tbsp natural yoghurt, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, salt and pepper).

If Indian food isn’t your thing, try pairing the Gewürztraminer with Thai cuisine for an equally pleasing food and wine match.


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