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Wine with Afghan food

Going out this weekend to a BYO Afghan restaurant. I've never had this cuisine. Any wine reccomendations that would compliment the seasonings used?

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  1. That's a pretty tough call. The tastes range from floral (like rose petals) to sweet citrus/raisins, to spicy /cumin, etc.

    Typically, I prefer a nice crisp cold beer, nothing too hoppy or malty, like a Heineken.

    I guess if I had to pick wines, I'd take a robust Pinot Noir, and an Alsatian Gew├╝rztraminer or Pinot Gris (fruity).

    Afghanis are Muslim, so alcohol is not native to their cuisine. If I wanted to be traditional, I suppose I'd just take a few hits of that gummy black Hashish before dinner, and drink tea with my meal ... <g>.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phillyjazz

      "a few hits of that gummy black Hashish before dinner...." and then say, "WINE???".... :))

    2. I've never specifically had an Afghan meal. I'll go out on a limb and suggest riesling with it... a kabinett.

      1. I was introduced to Seghesio Zinfandel (Sonoma) at an Afghan restaurant in San Francisco (Helmand). It went nicely with the heavy flavors of the food, and I assume it was on their wine list because people enjoy it with their meals.

        Seghesio quickly became my favorite red wine of 2006. And at about $17 retail, it's worth a try.

        1. Most of the Afghan food I've had is spicy but not particularly fiery. Lots of stewed meats (lamb and mutton mainly, some chicken) with onions and sometimes yogurt. Pilaf-style rice and pita/naan-like breads. Overall, closer to Persian cooking than Indian. Fruity soft inexpensive reds strike me as the best match, like those that can be found in southern France, Spain, Portugal, Sicily, northwest Africa...

          4 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            A simple riesling is good with all of this...

            1. re: Chicago Mike

              I disagree. Much as I adore Riesling, in my experience it doesn't work especially well with Afghan/Persian/Uighur/Sufi food. And I increasingly bridle at the knee-jerk association of it and Gewurzrtaminer with Asian and spicy dishes -- in some instances, yes, it's fine, but in plenty of others it makes no gastronomic sense at all. YMMV of course.

              1. re: carswell

                It's not a "knee jerk" reaction to pair riesling and gewurztraminer with spicy asian dishes... It's based on numerous real-world tastings.

                But of course that's a matter of personal palate. Perhaps you just don't find the combination appealing.

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  Afghan dishes can be quite varied, and it depends on what the sauce and accompaniements are. A riesling such as a kabinett or even the drier Alsatian varieties would be nice against the spices like cumin, coriander and cardamom when there aren't fruity flavours in the dish (e.g. no dried fruit, tomato). Certain sauvignon blancs would also do well against the herbed rice dishes.

                  For those meat dishes that have more of a fruit component I don't think the riesling or other whites would be as effective. A shiraz/syrah might be nice, and the touch of their earthy finish can resonate with the smoky flavours from grilled meats (I have a soft spot for Rhones).

          2. Lots of lamb in Afghan cooking. A light red goes well...think beaujolais, pinot noir...

            1. Riesling works best with lighter fare...like seafood, veggies, etc, which runs through Asian food. While Afghanistan is in Asia, the culinary tradition is closer to Med. In that sense (generally) I'd order something that goes well with Greek food, a zin or shiraz could work well...but don't hold me to it.

              1. lots of lamb makes me think grenache or syrah. french though, australian would be too heavy.