Spiced food is notoriously tricky to match with wine. Red, in particular, can be tough with chilli as the tannins in the wine front up to the heat like a bull pawing the ground at the sight of the matador’s cape. That’s why I advise avoiding red wine when chillies are involved, though some people go for that aggression. One thing I like with spice is bubbles – and I don’t mind what in: water, gin and tonic, beer or wine. I presumed this was because the fizz was refreshing. In fact, the science is that the carbon dioxide activates the same nociceptors – nerve cell endings – that are triggered when you eat wasabi or mustard; in other words, fizz burns in the same way as some spices. No wonder it seems to fit right in. This curry is awesome with a gin and tonic made using Sacred Cardamom Gin; it is also good with wheat beer and some sparkling wines. Of course, you don’t need to drink booze – fizzy water goes well with this curry and it’s healthy. Win-win.
4 GOOD MATCHES:
Tesco Revisionist Wheat Beer, 4.8% (£1.79/500ml, Tesco)
Made by Marston’s and bottled for Tesco, the Revisionist series is a big company response to craft beer. This smells of banana, cloves and citrus.
Sipsmith London Dry Gin, 41.6% (around £28/70cl, widely available)
A gin with beautiful clarity, at its best with Fever-Tree tonic water and a slice of lemon.
Buxton sparkling mineral water (89p/1.5l, widely available)
The bubbles here are large and energetic, which is why I’ve chosen it over a more salty sparkling water such as Badoit.
Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura 2011 France, 12% (£7.29/75cl, Aldi)
A fizzy chardonnay from the Jura. Its savoury flavours work well with the spices and the bubbles are good with the chilli.
Potato and cauliflower curry recipe
potatoes 450g, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
onion 1⁄2, peeled and chopped
garlic 3 cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
ginger 4cm piece, peeled and chopped
cauliflower 1, broken into small florets
cumin seeds 1 tsp
ground coriander 1 generous tsp
ground cumin 1⁄2 tsp
turmeric 1 tsp
cayenne pepper 3⁄4 tsp
green chillies 3, split, seeded and quartered
tomatoes 3 large, chopped
coriander 1⁄2 small bunch, chopped
white basmati rice and/or naan bread
Heat a pan of boiling water and cook the potato until almost tender, about 5 minutes, then drain well. While it’s cooking, put the onion, garlic and ginger in a narrow container with 2cm of water and use a stick blender to blitz until smooth (or whizz in a small food processor). Put 6 tbsp oil in a heavy pan, heat, add the potatoes and fry until golden. Remove and set aside. Fry the cauliflower until golden. Remove and set aside. Put the cumin in the pan, cook for 30 seconds, add the onion mix and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining spices, chillies and tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the potato and cauliflower with 500ml water. Cook for 4 minutes. Scatter with coriander and serve with yoghurt and rice or naans.
PER SERVING 446 KCALS | PROTEIN 12.2G | CARBS 37.7G FAT 25.1G | SAT FAT 5G | FIBRE 10.6G | SALT 0.1G
This feature was published in October 2014
Photographs: Ant Duncan
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