Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Wine and Spice Route | Lamb & Beetroot Curry

One of the more challenging; but rewarding wine and food pairings is that of Asian cuisine, a broad palate, covering the cuisines of China, the South seas, and the Indian sub continent. I recently prepared this fantastic lamb and beetroot curry from the Westminster Cinnamon Club in London and found its best wine match.
Spice whether sweetly aromatic like cinnamon, ginger, or garam marsala or herbal like fennel, cumin, or coriander reacts differently to wine. An all rounder, that not only bridges the two styles of spice, as well as the texture, heat, and flavour of curry may be surprising to many; but Shiraz – particularly chilled sparkling Australian Shiraz is one of the best matches.  The curry had some great flavour enhancers and elements that paired extremely well with the wine. The key spice elements of garam marsala, clove, and chilli along with the unusual herbal notes of the camporus and smokey black cardamom pods in the background as well as beetroot with its earthy aromas and cooked sweetness added additional texture and complexity.

Aromatic & Herbal Spices

Black Cardamon 
Aromatic & wet spices
Cinnamon Club Lamb and Beet Root Curry

Ingredients (serves 4): 
750g leg of lamb, deboned and cut into 1½ inch cubes 
400g beetroot, boiled whole and cut into 1½ inch cubes 
500ml water 
4 tablespoons oil 
1 teaspoon cloves 
4 pods black cardamom 
3 medium size onions, thinly sliced 
150g yoghurt 
3 teaspoons salt 
1½ tablespoons red chilli powder 
1 tablespoon coriander powder 
2 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste 
2 teaspoon coarse red chilli flakes 
1 teaspoon garam masala powder 
4 sprigs of fresh coriander 
Juice of half a lemon 

For pickled vegetables 

500ml distilled white vinegar 
500ml water 
70g sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
1 teaspoon black onion seeds 
8 baby carrots, cleaned 
8 baby turnips, cleaned 
8 baby radish, cleaned 
8 baby parsnips, cleaned


Marinate the meat with yoghurt, salt, red chilli powder, ground coriander and ginger-garlic paste and keep aside for 20 minutes. 

To prepare the pickled vegetables, combine the water and vinegar with sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and simmer until they are cooked, but still a bit crunchy. Remove from heat and strain. Retain the liquid for future use. 

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add the whole spices and stir for 30 seconds. Add sliced onions and fry until golden brown. Into the same oil, add the marinated meat and cook over a high heat for 10 minutes with constant stirring. Add the chilli flakes and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add the water, reduce the heat and cook for another 20-25 minutes. 

When the meat is nearly cooked and a little water remains, add diced beetroot and garam masala and cook for 5-6 minutes or until meat is tender. 

Remove from the fire and serve hot garnished with coriander sprigs and finished with a squeeze of lemon. 

Serve the lamb curry with rice or bread, topped with the pickled baby vegetables.
My home version 

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Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz
 The curry itself had a good amount of heat. In the future I'd reduce the amount of chilli and increase the garam marsala to make an even better pairing with the wine.
The chilled Shiraz, served at a similar temperature as white sparkling wine, with its low acidity, soft tannins, ripe fruit, and perceived sweetness  lifted the exotic flavours within the dish without the heat in the dish. The bonus of carbonation, like beer, made for a refreshing cleanse between bites. The Bleasdale has a dense ruby colour, fine mousse, and aromas of raspberry, black cherry, and subtle pepper. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, with soft tannins and flavours mirroring the nose along with mulberry, chocolate, and warm spice notes. 

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