Close your eyes, and now imagine this: a festive table adorned with vibrant decorations, laughter filling the air, and the aroma of unique Malaysian curries wafting through the room. Now, add to this scene the perfect wine companion - Riesling. In this blog, we're delving into the delightful world where the zesty notes of Riesling harmonise with the rich, spicy flavours of different Malaysian curries.
Let's start with Riesling, a versatile white wine that's like a chameleon in the glass. Whether it's bone-dry or lusciously sweet, Riesling exhibits a unique acidity that makes it a splendid match for a variety of dishes. The key is in understanding its tasting profile - think zesty citrus, green apple, and sometimes a hint of floral. This acidity acts as a perfect counterbalance to the bold, complex flavours found in Malaysian curries.
Malaysian cuisine, a melange of influences from Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures, unfolds like a vibrant tapestry of flavours. At the heart of this culinary symphony, curries take centre stage, from the robustness of rendang to the coconut-infused laksa, each curry tells a tale of aromatic spices and a meticulous blend of ingredients. The interplay of coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, and a myriad of spices creates a symphony on the palate. The complexity of these curries demands a wine companion that can hold its own and elevate the dining experience.
Hailing from the Malay community, Rendang is a robust and flavorful curry that's synonymous with slow-cooked perfection. Simmered to tenderise beef, chicken, or lamb, it's a rich blend of coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and a medley of spices. The result is a dish that boasts an intricate balance of sweetness, spice, and umami.
2. Fish Head Curry:
Malaysian Indian communities don’t just bring tantalising flavours of Fish Curry to the culinary scene. They’ve also introduced us to the wonderful world of Fish Head Curry that features a tangy and spicy curry base with a massive fish head as the centrepiece. Tamarind, curry leaves, and aromatic spices contribute to the complexity of this dish.
3. Nyonya Curry Chicken:
Representing the unique Peranakan culture, Nyonya Curry Chicken is a delightful blend of Malay and Chinese influences. The curry is characterised by its rich and aromatic coconut milk base, infused with a harmonious mix of herbs and spices. This reflects the marriage of Malay ingredients with Chinese cooking techniques.
4. Chicken Varuval:
We all know and love this dish. Chicken Varuval stands out on any menu. This dry curry features succulent pieces of chicken marinated in a fragrant blend of spices and then slow-cooked until they are imbued with a deep, savoury flavour.
5. Chettinad Chicken Curry:
Originating from the Chettinad region of India, this curry has found a cherished place in Malaysian Indian cuisine. It's a spicy and aromatic delight, with the chicken simmering in a robust blend of spices, coconut, and curry leaves.
A Date in Heaven: Riesling Meets Malaysian Curries:
Now, let's talk about pairing. The zippy acidity of Riesling cuts through the richness of coconut milk, providing a refreshing contrast. The slight sweetness in many Rieslings complements the heat in Malaysian curries, creating a delightful balance, no matter if your choice is rendang, or even mutton curry! Imagine a spoonful of spicy curry followed by a sip of cool, crisp Riesling – it’s a match made in flavour heaven.
Choosing the Right Riesling:
Not all Rieslings are created equal, so let's guide you through the basics. If you prefer a dry wine, look for "trocken" on the label for German Rieslings or "dry" for those from other regions. For a touch of sweetness, terms like "off-dry" or "spätlese" indicate a slightly sweeter profile. Don’t be afraid to ask your local wine expert for recommendations.
Our Favourite Rieslings:
↪️ Arndorfer Riesling 2021
↪️ Andre Scherer Reserve Riesling 2020
↪️ Dr. L Riesling Qualitatswein 2021
↪️ Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2019
↪️ Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese 2020
Now you've got your Riesling and list of curries, where to next? Don't worry, we've got you:
1. Junior Kuppanna: Recognized for their commitment to delivering high-quality, fresh, and affordable South-Indian cuisine with exceptional flavors, the establishment takes pride in being among the most sought-after non-vegetarian dining destinations in the entire state.
What you should try: Their amazing range of mutton dishes, and if you're up for a little adventure, definitely their mutton brains ;)
2. Kanna Curry House: You know Kanna, we know Kanna, and everyone who lives in PJ knows Kanna. And we LOVE Kanna. Need we say more?
What you should try: 100% their fried squid. Trust us and thank us later.
3. Big Singh Chapati: A personal favourite of ours, Big Singh Chapati is big, bold and utterly amazing. Known for their exquisite line-up of Punjabi food, we're sure that their menu will be an awesome match for any Riesling of your choice.
What you should try: Palak Paneer? Mattar Paneer? Briyani? Butter Chicken? We suggest you try it all!
4. Macha & Co: A contemporary twist to Indian food that will appeal to people of all ages, and background served up with playful food presentation.
What you should try: Try it all from their classic banana leaf sets to their amaaaazing chicken 65!
5. Manjalis Indian Cuisine: Loved for their Dum Briyani and everything else on their menu, Manjalis is a place that needs no description, but your 100% attention!
What you should try: The Dum Briyani. Period.