Last Friday, some friends came over for our regular girls’ lunch. I wanted to spice things up and served an Indian curry lunch combined with a whisky pairing. Some research on the internet indicated that Indian food and whisky fit well together. Especially the more peaty whiskies, pair well with the spicy South Indian food. I also found various combinations where the more floral and fruity Speyside whiskies were paired with Indian finger food and seafood. The matching of Indian food and whisky is a delicate balance between the spicy food and the subtle flavours of the whisky.
The one should not overwhelm the other, but bring out the best of each element. For starters I choose a simple Indian Aloo Masala (Potato curry). The potatoes are flavoured with chilli, mustard seeds and curry leaves and it is a dry curry. This dish is one of the main fillings for an Indian Masala Dosa, a fermented pancake made from rice and black lentils. At our lunch, this was served with some roti. I paired the Aloo Masala with The Black Grouse.
A whisky we tried earlier this year that really amazed us. It is the peaty expression from the Famous Grouse and we rated this blended whisky Excellent. The Black Grouse has notes of peat, smoke and oak. What a great whisky and food pairing! The mildly peated Black Grouse paired wonderfully with the spicy potatoes and created an enticing combination.
Even the girls who didn’t like peated whiskies enjoyed this combination as it enhanced the qualities of both the components.
The main course was an Indian Chana Masala (Chick Pea Curry). I cooked the chickpeas in a sauce of onions, tomatoes, garlic and masala spices. This dish is a popular Punjabi dish and is also found in Pakistani cuisine. Basmati rice and a cucumber salad accompanied the dish. I paired this Chana Masala with a Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky. I was hoping the spicy and nutty notes from the chick pea curry will pair with the toffee, oak and floral notes in the Bain’s. The pairing was not as successful as the first one and we grabbed the Black Grouse again to see if that combination worked better. And lo and behold, the Black Grouse paired wonderfully with the different spices in the Chana Masala.
The Verdict: A Whisky that Pairs well with Indian Food
The peaty Black Grouse paired amazingly well with the two different curries. The peat and smoke is mild enough not to offend ‘non peat-heads’ but stong enough to enhance the spicy Indian Food. The combination was smooth and satisfying and the Black Grouse complemented the potatoes and chickpeas well. We give this pairing a RATING: EXCELLENT. The Black Grouse will probably also pair well with samosas and most tomato based curries. This is the one whisky that every Indian restaurant should have in their bar. The Black Grouse is in the affordable price range and will enhance most dishes on the Indian menu.
And the Bain’s? I am on a mission to find an interesting dish that will pair with this amazing whisky. So keep watching this space. In 4 months time the girls are coming for lunch again, perhaps by then I would have found my Bain’s dish.
You can order a bottle of Black Grouse paired with truffles through Netflorist. Another great pairing for this versatile whisky.
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