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and drink
by Shari Darling
Indian food need not be overly spicy, unless you love it
that way. I prefer spicy, but medium heat in my Indian
dishes. I want my brow to sweat just a smidgen!
Indian curries, when not too hot, can pair extremely well
with white wines which offer good acidity and balanced
sweetness. My most favoured meal is butter chicken
paired with a Canadian off-dry Riesling or off-dry Gewurz-
traminer. The sweetness in white wine offsets the heat
and spice, bringing harmony to the palate. My husband
and I enjoy this combination while taking in a Bollywood
flick at home on Bollywood movies are often
fun and innocent.
I often wonder whether I crave Indian food because my
body is demanding a nutritious vitamin boost. It’s mind-
blowing how nutritious Indian food can be.
Indian food often incorporates fresh, homemade chilies,
turmeric, chickpeas, spinach, onions, garlic, ginger and
Chilies are used to partner with the spices to make Indian
foods hot and spicy. Chilies improve digestion, lower
blood sugar levels, improve circulation, thin the blood,
decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce
Turmeric is a spice used in most Indian curries. It gives
sauces and rice that classic yellow colour. Turmeric is be-
lieved to help liver function and acts as an anti-inflamma-
tory, thus helping to reduce the effects of arthritis. Cumin
is a compound in turmeric which is believed to help re-
duce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s.
Chickpeas lower bad cholesterol and help to reduce heart
disease. We all know why Popeye loves spinach. It flushes
toxins from the body, coats the stomach and gives us a
radiant complexion. It’s also important to note that a com-
pound in spinach called oxalic acid can block the absorp-
tion of calcium and iron. Therefore, be sure to incorporate
into your spinach dish a food high in vitamin C, such as
citrus fruits. Onions are high in the antioxidant quercetin,
which combats colon and breast cancers, as well as fight-
ing the common cold.
Garlic helps to reduce high blood pressure, has anti-clot-
ting effects and gives us a good dose of vitamins C and
B6. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immunity-
enhancing natural antibiotic. Ginger is also high in po-
tassium (heart health), manganese (disease resister) and
silicon (promotes healthy hair, skin, teeth and nails). It is
also a great source of vitamins A, C, E, B-complex, magne-
sium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium and beta-carotene.
Yogurt is often incorporated into Indian curry dishes. This
fermented food is lower in carbohydrates than milk and
is high in protein, calcium, riboflavin, B6 and 12 vitamins
and folic acid. It also contains strains of L. acidophilus
(friendly bacteria) – a probiotic. Probiotic means ‘pro life’.
Yogurt is believed to support the health of the digestive
system, reduce constipation and boost the immune sys-
tem. Homemade yogurt is also believed to be the best
food to ingest after a course of antibiotics.
Indian food is also known to be quite fattening, often in-
corporating cream. But healthy versions incorporating all
of the above ingredients, especially turmeric, can be high-
ly flavourful and healthy and pair nicely with white wines.
Here is a dish using onion, garlic, ginger, yogurt and
For more information on wine and
food, go to
Indian Food is a