Indian foods, because of all the spices and sauces/chutneys, are very complex dishes and come with diverse flavors, so vast that it will take a whole article to describe a single cuisine in its entirety. So, that’s a question for some other day.
However, if you are in the mood for some savory dishes, Indian foods are your go-to options, such as curry, biryani, qorma, and the list goes on and on.
So, you have ordered or cooked one of these cuisines or any other Indian dish that may have caught your attention. But the question of what to drink with it can leave you stumped.
As there is a variety of Indian dishes, each catering to a specific taste, e.g., spicy, savory, or sweet ones, it can leave you perplexed about which beverage to take with it.
That is why; here comes the question of what you should drink with Indian foods.
It is solely determined by the dish in question, and the pairing can be made with wine, beers, cocktails, whiskey, and non-alcoholic drinks, e.g., carbonated beverages (Sprite, Coke, Pepsi, and so on.) based on that.
So, the broad category of dishes makes the pairing complex, but fret not! Here, we will guide you through some beverages and simple tips you should remember for a perfect pairing with the Indian food you order/cook.
Beverages That Pair Well With Indian Cuisines
Numerous beverages pair well with Indian cuisine, so let’s start with the classiest one.
The first thing that comes to mind to set the right mood for dinner is wine, and why not try it with Indian food? So, let’s break down which type of wine goes well with which cuisine.
The first option is slightly sweeter and is considered the perfect pairing with spicy dishes. The spicier the food, or the more it is packed with herbs, the more it will pair with Riesling.
So, you can check out the top 15 spicy Indian cuisines here and try this wine with each one of these dishes. It will help you balance out the extra spices and enjoy the meal with a heightened taste. This wine can be either white wine or sparkling.
Two types of wines in this white wines category click well with Indian cuisine.
One of these white wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and the other, you guessed it, Chardonnay. The former is the best match for dishes with cream because of the citric taste, but it also pairs well with highly herbed foods, such as Palak Paneer. Also, it is a match made in heaven with Samosa.
Contrarily, Chardonnay is good with cuisines with more veggies in it. It can’t be more perfect as a drink if tomato sauce/paste is involved in making gravy of the dish. Another Indian food it pairs with is Shrimp Fried Rice.
Red wines are the perfect complement to meat dishes, and the same holds for Indian foods.
There are various categories of red wines, and depending on the strength of the wine, its pairing varies; for example, lighter ones are good for vegetable cuisines, but stronger ones are best when it comes to steak or dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala.
Champagne (Sparkling Wine)
Champagne, the classiest option among the wines, is the perfect partner for Indian fried snacks. While it may not be suitable to drink with curry, you should try Champagne with Pakoras and Samosas.
While you may want to appear classy, if you want the dish to be easy on your stomach and keep things refreshing, nothing beats beer in this field. So, below is the list of beers that go well with several Indian cuisines.
So, if you cook or order a light Indian meal, especially with fewer herbs and more veggies or even one with seafood, then lagers are the options you should go for.
However, be mindful that the higher the spices blander the taste of this beer will become. So, if you pack vegetable or paneer dishes with spices and herbs, it’s better to go with the next option.
India Pale Ale (IPA)
This ale is the best option for you if you are a fan of Indian fried snacks. They come with a bitter taste but add a powerful punch to the oily delicacies. However, if you can’t handle the spicy aspect, you are better off holding onto your beer.
So, you can always try the fruitier option of beer, which can help you tackle the peppery side of these snacks.
For meat dishes, beer with a more malty taste goes best with spices and meat. So, beer like Brown Ale is your best bet with chicken curries or a complete lamb roast (raan).
While cocktails may seem strange as a pairing for heavy Indian foods, they surprisingly go well with Indian cuisines.
For example, tangy cocktails go best with lighter foods such as vegetable or paneer-containing foods, but on the other hand, refreshing yet spicy cocktails pair well with Vindaloo.
4. Non-Alcoholic Drinks
It is time for other beverages to shine and leave the alcoholic drinks aside. Mango lassi is the most popular option on this side, often served at breakfast with Aloo paratha in Summer. It is also the best drink to beat the heat on scorching days.
You can drink this lassi plain, i.e., on its own without any food, and it can be made without Mangoes and with other twists.
But the drinks don’t end here; the list won’t be complete without discussing carbonated non-alcoholic beverages, i.e., sodas.
Carbonated Beverages (Non-alcoholic)
The sodas may seem like the least savory options, but Pepsi, Coke, and Sprite/7UP are the perfect match with almost every Indian dish that you can have, excluding the sweet ones.
You can enjoy Coke/Pepsi with Biryani, the most popular rice dish, also with Chicken Tikka Masala and other gravy-centered cuisines. Similarly, if you want to add to the spicy touch of the food, you can choose Sprite or 7UP.
Also, fried dishes are the ones that call for these sodas rather than cooked cuisine. So, if you are having Samosa/Pakora with Mint Chutney, you should definitely pair it with Sprite/7UP to make it more spicy and refreshing.
How To Decide Which Beverage To Go for With Indian Food
The perfect option is to look for whether the dish is spicy or if it is more on a lighter note. These are the only things you have to look out for because if it is the former, go for a stronger drink, and if it is the latter, go for a milder/lighter one.
To conclude, there is a massive list of drinks you can choose from if you want to opt for a beverage with Indian foods.
If it is an alcoholic drink, you can choose from whiskey, wine, beer, and even cocktails. Also, sodas are your go-to option, i.e., if you want to keep things alcohol-free. So, all you have to do is decide which options cater to your taste, and enjoy!