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Melbourne’s winter season can be chilly and sometimes gloomy, but it’s also the perfect time to indulge in some delicious Indian and Nepalese cuisine. The rich and warming spices in these dishes can help warm you up from the inside out, and they’re even better when paired with the right drink. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best Indian and Nepalese dishes to enjoy in winter, and the drinks that go perfectly with them. We’ll also take a look at the history and culture behind these dishes, as well as where to find the best Indian and Nepalese restaurants in Melbourne.

  • Butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian dishes around the world, and for good reason. The creamy tomato-based sauce, combined with succulent pieces of chicken, is the ultimate comfort food. The origins of this dish can be traced back to the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, where it was created for the Emperor’s guests. Today, it’s a staple dish in Indian cuisine and can be found on the menu of almost every Indian restaurant in Melbourne.To complement the rich and spicy flavours of butter chicken, a smooth red wine is a great choice. The tannins in the wine help to cut through the richness of the sauce, while the fruity notes complement the tomato flavour. A Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is a great option for this dish.
  • Lamb Rogan Josh is a spicy and flavourful Kashmiri dish that’s perfect for warming you up on a cold winter’s day. The tender lamb is slow-cooked in a rich, spicy sauce, and served with fluffy naan bread. The origins of this dish can be traced back to the Mughal Empire as well, where it was a favourite dish among the royal family.To complement the heat of the spices in Lamb Rogan Josh, a crisp and refreshing beer is the perfect choice. A lager or pilsner works particularly well, as the carbonation helps to refresh your palate between bites. The light and refreshing taste of the beer also helps to balance out the richness of the lamb.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala is a creamy and indulgent dish that’s perfect for colder weather. The chicken is marinated in a blend of spices, before being cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. This dish is said to have originated in the UK, where it was created by a Bangladeshi chef in the 1960s. It has since become one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world.To balance out the creaminess of Chicken Tikka Masala, a refreshing lassi is a great choice. A mango lassi, in particular, complements the spice and sweetness of the dish perfectly. A glass of chilled white wine can also work well with this dish, particularly a Chardonnay or Viognier.
  • Momos are a traditional Nepalese dish that’s similar to dumplings. They’re typically filled with meat or vegetables, and served with a spicy dipping sauce. The origins of this dish can be traced back to Tibet, where it was a favourite among the Tibetan people. Today, momos are a popular street food in Nepal and can be found on the menu of many Nepalese restaurants in Melbourne.To complement the heat of the sauce in Momos, a spicy Bloody Mary is the perfect drink choice. The tangy tomato juice and fiery hot sauce are the perfect complement to the rich, savoury filling of the momos. Alternatively, a glass of red wine, such as a Shiraz or Zinfandel, can also work well with the bold flavours of momos.
  • Dal Makhani is a rich and creamy lentil dish that’s popular in both Indian and Nepalese cuisine. The lentils are slow-cooked with butter, cream, and a blend of spices, creating a hearty and flavourful dish. The origins of this dish can be traced back to the Punjab region of India, where it was traditionally served in gurudwaras (Sikh places of worship).To complement the richness of Dal Makhani, a full-bodied red wine is the perfect choice. A Malbec or Cabernet Franc works particularly well with the spicy notes of the dish. Alternatively, a glass of Indian beer, such as Kingfisher or Taj Mahal, can also be a great choice to refresh your palate between bites.
  • Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian dish that’s made with potatoes and cauliflower, cooked with a blend of spices and herbs. This dish is popular in both Indian and Nepalese cuisine and is a great option for vegetarians and vegans. The origins of this dish can be traced back to the Punjab region of India, where it was traditionally served in homes and gurudwaras.To complement the earthy flavours of Aloo Gobi, a light and fruity red wine is a great choice. A Pinot Noir or Grenache works well with the subtle flavours of the dish, while a fruity white wine, such as a Riesling or Gewürztraminer, can also be a great choice. Alternatively, a glass of spiced chai tea can also be a great choice to warm you up on a cold winter’s day.
  • Masala Chai is a traditional Indian tea that’s made with a blend of spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. This tea is a popular winter drink in India and is often served with biscuits or snacks. Masala Chai has become increasingly popular in Melbourne in recent years, and can be found on the menu of many Indian and Nepalese restaurants and cafes.To complement the spicy notes of Masala Chai, a sweet dessert wine is a great choice. A late harvest Riesling or Sauternes pairs perfectly with the spicy and sweet flavours of the tea. Alternatively, a glass of warm mulled wine or cider can also be a great choice to warm you up on a chilly winter’s evening.
Conclusion:

Melbourne’s Indian and Nepalese restaurants offer a range of delicious and warming dishes that are perfect for winter. From creamy butter chicken to spicy lamb rogan josh, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. When paired with the right drink, these dishes become even more delicious and satisfying. So, next time you’re in the mood for some comforting and warming Indian or Nepalese cuisine, be sure to check out some of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

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