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Simple Kulebiaka and Thai Chicken Curry

Christopher Dunlop asked for wine recommendations to accompany two of his favourite recipes, simple Kulebiaka and Thai Chicken (or prawn) curry.
  • An easy take on this great Russian dish. A puff pastry pie, decorated for cutting and serving at the table, containing the following layers: pre-cooked rice, sprinkled with paprika; softened, chopped onions; salmon fillet (skinned); thinly sliced hard-boiled egg; sliced, cooked, mushrooms; chopped dill. Drizzle with melted butter before covering and glazed with beaten egg. Bake at 190 degrees, for c. 40 minutes. Serve with sour-cream, plus potatoes if hungry. Works well with Hollandaise sauce too.
  • Thai Chicken (or prawn) curry. A delicious, quickly cooked curry, perfect for a tasty weekday supper. Fry onion and finely chopped lemon-grass. Add red Thai curry paste to taste, bite-sized pieces of chicken breast (or King Prawns), a splash of Thai fish sauce and a taste of sugar. Simmer in coconut milk, with Kaffir lime leaves until the chicken is cooked. Serve with Jasmine rice.
Nick Page's suggestions:
Kulebiaka
This is a new one on me, it's always nice to bump into a new dish! It's effectively salmon en crôute with a Russian twist. The dill made me think I should look at whites, but the weight of the dish, and the use of paprika and mushrooms have made me do a U turn and think red. It's got to be Pinot Noir, I find Pinot and salmon to be a great combination. But you need a Pinot that has some weight and packs a punch; a lightweight wine won't cope with the flavours in this dish. I'd be looking at bigger Burgundies, ideally from the 2005 vintage or if not 2006. Vosne or Morey St Denis; Pommard might be a tad too tannic. Burgundy will come with a price tag, so let's look at some alternatives. New Zealand Pinots are excellent and have that extra level of ripeness. Look for Mountford, Felton Road, or a new wine to our list- Churton. If you like your Pinots to have ripeness combined with perfume you can't beat California's Au Bon Climat's single vineyard wines, they would be stunning with this dish.

Thai Chicken (or prawn) curry
The key to Thai curry is acidity. All Thai cuisine is a balance of sweetness from the cane sugar, heat from chilli, and umami/acidity that comes from Nam Pla (fish sauce). If you want to make the curry less hot, you add sugar, if you want to make your curry hotter, you don't add chilli but you do add fish sauce as acidity makes chilli more fiery. So how much acid your wine has is really important with Thai curries. Most Thai curries have Thai basil, coriander, and coconut milk in them. The green vibrant flavours immediately make you think of Sauvignon Blanc as a match, but Sauvignon Blanc always has good / high acidity, and if you're happy with the heat then fine, but if not, you have a problem. So a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc look-alike with less acid is what we need. Look at Spanish Verdejo; I'm a massive fan of El Quintanal Blanco from Rueda, more weight than Sauvignon Blanc, less acidity, same green apple/ cut grass aromatics PLUS a lovely floral top note and great value for money. It's on El Bulli's list and if it's good enough for El Bulli it's good enough for me!

Wine Club Recipe Matching Service

You’ll find lots of ‘rules’ about matching wine with food on bbr.com and also within your Wine Club members’ binder, but for complicated recipes sometimes it can be difficult to understand exactly which flavour to match the wine with. Berrys’ food and wine matching expert, Nick Page, provides wine suggestions to Wine Club members’ dilemmas.

This service is available to all Wine Club members. Send your request to wineclub@bbr.com

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