rogan josh

Rogan josh is an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin, and is one of the signature recipes of Kashmiri cuisine.

Rogan josh was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals and is a dish that is centuries old. It is a staple of Kashmiri cuisine and is one of the main dishes of the Kashmiri feast called a wazwan. In its original form, it would have been made with mutton or more likely goat. If you can get goat, this is a good recipe to try it on. You will need to extend the cooking time a little, as goat is tougher than lamb. It can also be drier so you may need to add some water during the main cooking period.

It is also a restaurant staple. I would be surprised if I went into an Indian restaurant and it wasn’t on the menu. In fact, if it wasn’t on the menu it would suggest to me that perhaps the restaurant may have something going for it.

This home cooked version is more robust than the normal restaurant fare. Do warn your guests that the whole spices are not meant to be eaten.

It is important to use Kashmiri chilli powder because of the colouring it gives and the mildness of its taste. A good rogan josh has a distinctive red colour.

You must be patient, and get the consistency right. It should be thick, with the curry sticking to the meat, and not a sloppy gravy. You should allow adequate time to marinate the lamb, so start on this at least the day before.

the recipe

preparation:20 mins
cook:2 hrs 20 mins
marinate:12 hrs
total:2 hrs 40 mins
servings:4 servings
calories:388 kcal


  • 800 g lamb leg - trimmed and cut into 5cm cubes

for the marinade

to temper

to cook

to serve


  • Mix the ground marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the lamb and rub in all the marinade, cover, then set aside overnight.

to temper

  • Heat the oil in large pot. Add the cassia black and green cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds and mace. Fry for one minute until spices are sizzling and aromatic.

to cook

  • Add the onion and salt and fry until soft.
  • Add the marinated lamb, and mix well to coat with tempered oil. Fry until meat is well browned. This will take around five minutes.
  • Add the ginger, Kashmiri chilli and asafoetida powders. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the yoghurt one spoonful at a time, mixing well to combine before adding the next spoonful.
  • Add the tomato puree and mix well to combine.
  • Reduce heat to very low, cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours. The lamb should release enough moisture to prevent it catching on the base of the pan, but if the sauce looks too dry, add a little water. It is ready when the red colured oil floats to the surface.
  • Sprinkle the lamb with the garam masala, and continue simmering, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the lamb is tender and sauce is reduced. Add salt, if necessary.

to serve

  • Stir in the lemon juice and coriander leaves. Serve.


  • Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different to the Asian sesame oil, being much less intense in flavour. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.
  • Use a salt and sugar free tomato puree for best results. You could make your own, ensuring the seeds are excluded.
  • The whole spices are not meant to be eaten.
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