How to Pair Wine with Chicken Stir-Fry

Creole Chicken and Ham Fried Rice Photo © Antonis Achilleos
By Kristin Donnelly Posted July 19, 2015

As with most chicken dishes, the sauce and the other ingredients in the stir-fry dictate the pairing. Here are three ways to approach it.

As with most chicken dishes, the sauce and the other ingredients in the stir-fry dictate the pairing. Here are three ways to approach it.

With savory, gingery stir-fries
Many chicken stir-fries rely on umami-rich condiments, like oyster sauce and soy sauce and often have a slight heat thanks to ginger. The deep flavors in these dishes really let fruity reds and whites shine. For a white wine try an appley Pinot Blanc or unoaked styles of Chardonnay. For reds, go for juicy, low-tannin, wines, like Beaujolais from France or California Pinot Noir.

With green vegetable-rich stir-fries
The exception to the above rule is when your stir-fry includes a lot of green vegetables, including asparagus or green bell peppers. The veggies can overpower the rest of the dish and clash with most reds so you’ll want to match the wine to them. Look for whites that have a similar type of green or herbal flavor, including Sauvignon Blanc (those from New Zealand are especially good with Asian food) as well as inexpensive versions of Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

With spicy or sweet-sour stir-fries
Spicy and/or sweet flavors in food tend to work best with sweeter wines. Off-dry German Riesling is always a delicious choice; it has both the sweetness to quell the heat and the acidity match with tangy flavors. If the dish is quite savory but especially fiery and you’re open to something extra fun, you could try the sweet, lightly sparkling red from Italy known as Brachetto d’Aqui.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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