Can you handle the heat?


With the region being renowned for its hot and spicy dishes, should you find yourself with a particularly fiery mouthful, Aston Manor Cider, based in Birmingham can help to put the flames out.

Gordon Johncox, Marketing Director at Aston Manor, comments:

Wine or beer is usually the drink of choice when it comes to enjoying a meal but what many people don’t know is that cider is a perfect drink to complement spicy flavours.

Top cider matching tips include the following:

•    As a good guide a clean, crisp cider made with bittersweet cider apples like Knights Premium Reserve is excellent to match with Indian cuisine. In particular the blend in Knights Premium Reserve gives the drink sufficient ‘bite’ to balance out spice and heat and deliver refreshment.

•    For Thai-style curries a more rounded drink with rich fruit character offers enough contrast and structure to cope with this flavour – perfect to match is Malvern Gold, a quality lightly sparkling cider.

•    For a medium-spiced dish like Rogan Josh with its rich sauce, it is important to have a cider with sufficient body to not be overwhelmed and also to have sufficient character to deliver both refreshment and flavour to enhance the experience – here the versatility and credentials of Kingstone Press come to the fore, or for a special occasion Malvern Oak.

Award winning Birmingham chef, Aktar Islam from Lasan, also recognises the beauty of cider pairing with Indian dishes. He said:

Intensely flavoured artisan bottled cider is a joy to bring to the dining table. With clean, complex, fruity tastes, ciders can balance out spice and heat, without overpowering the overall flavour.

Both Aston Manor and Lasan supported the second Birmingham Food Fest, which took place from July 13-19 this year. Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, which ran the seven-day festival, added:

Aston Manor are one of the top three cider manufacturers in the country and it’s great to see a Birmingham company working with a top local restaurant on something as exciting as cider and food matching.

Events such as Birmingham Food Fest help us to reinforce our reputation as a culinary capital and we will be planning more events in the future to spread the word about the city’s food and drink offering.”

Aktar has created this special dish for you to try at home, which works really well with the locally produced cider:

Lamb Rogan Josh
Traditional slow braised lamb from Kashmir

1kg Lamb Osso Bucco
200ml Mustard Oil
2 Inch Cassia Bark
5 Cloves
2 Black Cardamom
6 Green Cardamom
4 Cassia Leaves
10 Black Pepper corn
200g finely sliced onion
3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
300ml Strained tomato pulp
Salt to taste
Juice of one large beetroot
40g Brown Onion and 2 Tbsp yoghurt blitzed into a paste
Ground Spices
½ Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli
½ Tbsp Turmeric
2 Tbsp Ground Coriander
¼ Tbsp Ground Cumin Powder
Pinch of Garam Masala


•    Heat oil in a heavy based pot and add the whole Masala and onion, brown onion lightly then add lamb. Once Lamb has coloured slightly add Garlic and Ginger paste. Cook out then add all the ground spices apart from Garam Masala. Cook the spices out on a low heat adding water in small amounts until the oil separates. Add one Tsp of salt.
•    Add Tomato, stir and bring to the boil. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the meat and simmer for 45 minutes.
•    Check the meat to see if close to tender. If so, add the brown onion paste and beetroot juice and simmer slowly. Check for seasoning, adjust if required. Once meat is tender and seasoning is right, sprinkle with Garam Masala.



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