How to Pair Wine with Indian Food

Pair Indian food staples like chickpeas, lentils and rice with Junmai saké.

Welcome to our expert break down of popular food categories, outlining the main challenges (and pairing solutions) for wine lovers with globetrotting tastes.

This round, we focus on pairing Indian food with wine. 

The challenge: “Although regional styles of food greatly differ in India based on climate and available local ingredients, certain staples, such as mung beans, chickpeas, lentils and rice are commonly found, along with spices like coriander, cumin, cardamom and turmeric,” says Toranosuke Matsuoka, president and beverage director of KOA Restaurant, which serves modern Chinese cuisine. “Also, vegetarian dishes make up a strong base of this cuisine.”

Wine fix: “The earthy ingredients found in many Indian dishes lead me to Junmai saké,” says Matsuoka. “These pure styles of saké can be delicate enough not to overpower a vegetarian dish, especially one that has rice as a base ingredient.

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Published on February 19, 2015
Topics: Indian, Recipes, Wine and Food Pairings
About the Author
Alexis Korman
Contributing Editor

Currently based in New Orleans, Korman joined Wine Enthusiast as an editor in 2010 and has been authoring trends-driven travel, wine, cocktail and food content for over a decade, including work for publications like New York Magazine,, The Travel Channel, Premier Traveler, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune and amNY. In addition to her role with Wine Enthusiast, she’s a short fiction writer, and is co-founder of Big Easy ‘Bucha—an artisanal kombucha beverage company that gives back to food charities in New Orleans. Email:

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