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Sonal Holland, Master of wine: Tips and tricks on cooking with wine
Monday, 11 May, 2020, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
With movement restricted and restaurants closed to further safe social distancing practices, the lockdown is the perfect opportunity to shake things up and add a little extra flair to your meals.

 Whether you are someone who enjoys cooking or you simply love your wines, there is no time like now to take your culinary prowess to the next level. 

"Wine adds intense character, flavour and personality to a dish," says Sonal Holland.

She shares useful tips and pointers on which wines are best suited to cooking, and how to use them cleverly.

The role of wine in food is versatile and can serve different purposes depending on how it is incorporated in a dish. 

The acidity from wines makes it a great ingredient to include with marinades, to tenderise meats and make cooking easier.

When adding to a broth or a sauce, allow the wine to cook in the pan for a while; this will help concentrate flavours and the acidity of the wine will intensify and enhance the overall flavour profile, ultimately taking the dish to the next level. 

For example, a simple buttery pasta cooked with a splash or two of wine is a great hack to elevate your favourite comfort food in a pinch.

 When adding wine to food, do not compromise on the quality of the wine. Ensure you are just as particular about your wine as you are about using high quality ingredients when cooking.

The wine used for cooking need not be the most expensive bottle from your collection - you can simply cook with half a cup of wine from the same bottle you plan to serve with your meal. 

This not only helps homogenise flavours in your plate and glass but also prevents the hassle of uncorking and storing a separate bottle of wine.

 Cooking wines in supermarket shelves are of extremely poor quality and are usually spoilt. 

It is best to avoid these and instead use wines available at home, to cook with.

 When selecting wines to cook with, pick red wines that are fruity and low in tannins. When cooking with white wines, ensure the wine is not overly oaked.

Some great options for white wine include Pinot Grigio and Chennin Blanc while red wines best suited for cooking include Merlot, Malbec or young Rioja Reds.

Aromatic wines like Riesling or Gewürztraminer have a strong personality in terms of taste, and it's therefore best to steer clear of these when cooking as you do not want to alter the flavours of the dish drastically.

 However, if these are your only options in the pantry, do not shy away from experimenting in the kitchen anyway.

One of the biggest myths about cooking with wine is that the practice renders the dish alcoholic. 

In reality, when wine is used for cooking, the recipe almost always requires only a small quantity of the beverage. 

Moreover, the very act of cooking causes most of the alcohol to vaporise, leaving behind a small residue of alcohol in the dish, especially if it is a dish that requires it to be cooked for a long time. 

While such dishes are perfectly safe to serve to children, you could just as well reserve cooking with wine for a date night meal with your partner.
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