Buss-up shut, Curry Chicken & Wine!

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, February 20, 2014    

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The question I get most deals with wine and food pairings. No one wants to get it wrong, and so everyone wants to get a recommendation of a wine to have with specific dishes.

Every food and wine-related magazine that I have read covers wine and food pairings. I have been on a quest to try to simplify this selection process for the past few years. After completing a dozen or so books on the very specific subject, I have come to the conclusion that getting it clinically correct is not a simple task, nor is it really necessary in most scenarios.

Generally, most people are very happy with eating the food they like with a wine that they like. The majority will not sit and dissect the details of the pairing. But there are a few people who continue to search for perfect pairings — where the combination of the food and wine makes each taste better.

Paratha Roti aka Buss-up Shut

Carnival buzz is in the air and with many set to head South next week, what better time to exchange notes on wine and Trini food. A recent foray in the kitchen with friend and home chef extraordinaire Jamaica Observer Food Awards judge attorney-at-law Matthew Hogarth turned into a veritable food and wine experiment. On the menu were curry chicken, buss-up shut, red lentil dahl, Jasmine rice, mango chutney and a range of Trini pepper sauces.

Paratha Roti is a roti served in fragments and it is commonly called buss-up-shut (shirt), perhaps because it looks like a busted-up or torn-up shirt on the plate. The fragments of the 'buss-up' are used to scoop up the accompanying dishes, in this case it was curry chicken. The spiciness level of the curry chicken was deliberately kept low so that one could choose from a variety of authentic pepper sauces imported directly from the twin-island republic. Once pepper is involved, the decision was to choose a slightly sweet wine, red or white, as sweet blends with peppery very well. When I looked at what was on hand, we opened an Italian Moscato D'Asti and a German Riesling from the Mosel region, then we sat them side by side and tasted them with the meal. An important difference between traditional Trinidadian food presentation and ours is the use of a wider range of condiments. These include a selection of mainly home-made pepper sauces, chutneys and pickles further challenging the wine pairing. For me, with no pepper and other condiments, the Riesling worked very well, but once we sprinkled any of the peppers on the food, the Moscato D'Asti, which seemed a tad sweet at first, settled in and balanced the meal nicely.

Basic rules for selecting wines for spicy Caribbean food

Match spicy or peppery food with light low tannic reds, rosé, slightly sweet wines. This is all you need to remember. However, do your own experiment because all our taste buds and personal preferences are different.

Keep having fun with wine and food.

Christopher Reckord — Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. Follow us on twitter: @Reckord

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