pairing spicy food with wine | OUTVisions for LGBT Professionals

pairing spicy food with wine

more options than just beer

pairing spicy food with wine
therese degrasse

Wine has the bad reputation of being dauntingly difficult to pair with spicy dishes. The multi layered flavour of most ethnic dishes with any predominant spice can be greatly compromised with the wrong wine pairing; this is why lighter beers are the trusted standby as they provide a brief reprieve from spicy flavours. What many food aficionados don’t realize is that the right pairing can enhance zippy flavours, softening them which allows the other ingredients in the dish's composition to shine. With that in mind along with the honest admission that I am a Chef first and have never claimed to be a wine expert here’s a little insight to how I pair global dishes with wine.

Middle Eastern

Pinot Noir general possesses fruit forward flavour with undertones of earth driven components. These subtle nuances marry well with Middle Eastern dishes containing lamb.


2010 Mountainview Pinot Noir

Thai Food

Oh Riesling! It`s adaptability makes this my quick choice for Thai dishes. It can also handle hearty sauces like red curry, the natural fruitiness of this wine cuts through those rich spicy flavours with ease.


2012 Carly’s Block Riesling


The tangy and fresh components in most Sauvignon Blanc’s are the perfect partner to the rich cilantro and lime notes that are consistently found in Mexican Food.


Tawse “Sketches of Niagara: Riesling

Indian Food

The sweet fruitiness generally present in Riesling helps to tone down spicy flavours. Spices like cardamom and turmeric become more vibrant to the palate with this pairing.


Tawse “Sketches of Niagara: Riesling


Yields 6 Servings

1 cup yellow pepper, julienne
1 cup carrots, julienne
1 cup zucchini, julienne
1 cup green onion, bias cup
1 cup shiitake mushroom, julienne & cooked
3 tbsp finely minced coriander
8 oz cooked, cooled soba noodles (buckwheat pref.)
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
3 pieces of cooked chicken breast, julienne
1 Thai chili, seeds removed finely minced


1 tsp sriracha sauce
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tbsp peanut butter
Zest & juice of one lime
Zest & juice of one orange
1 tsp fish sauce

Blend ingredients until smooth and toss with noodles and vegetables.


Yields 6 Servings


2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cooking onion, julienne & fried until golden brown
1 clove crushed garlic
3 cups chopped ripe pineapple
>1 cup hoisin
1 tsp sambal or chili paste
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbs apple cider vinegar

Blend ingredients until smooth. This dipping sauce can be made 24 hours in advance.


24 Large cleaned shrimp
10 eggs lightly beaten
3 cups white flour
1 cup black/ white sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups panko
Vegetable Oil for frying

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Line a second baking sheet with paper towel and set aside. Arrange beaten eggs on a bowl and flour in a second bowl. In a third bowl combine sesame seeds, coconut, panko and sprinkle with salt. Mix until evenly combined. Coat shrimp in flour followed by egg and sesame coating shaking off and excess coating, arrange on parchment paper. Preheat 3 inches of oil or deep skillet to 350 degrees. Fry shrimp until golden brown (about 4 minutes) turning over once during cooking. Arrange on paper towel resting them for three minutes before serving.

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Authortherese degrasse

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