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.



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

groundnut oil

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

to serve

coriander 1⁄2 small bunch, chopped

natural yoghurt

white basmati rice and/or naan bread

step 1

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.


This feature was published in October 2014

Photographs: Ant Duncan

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