Rogan josh is an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin, and is one of the most famous dishes from the 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 meat, 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.
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 gravy sticking to the meat. You should allow adequate time to marinate the lamb, so start on this at least the day before.
- wide pan with lid
- 800 g lamb leg - trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes
for the marinade
- ½ lemon - juiced
- ½ cup coriander leaves - finely chopped
- Place a small pan on medium heat and add the peppercorns, cloves, the seeds from the green and black cardamom pods, the cassia and fennel seeds. Toss and toast until the spices become aromatic. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then grind to a coarse powder.
- Mix the ground marinade ingredients and the Kashmiri chilli powder in a large bowl. Add the lamb and rub well with the marinade. Cover then set aside overnight.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the cassia, black and green cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds and mace. Fry for one minute until the spices are sizzling and aromatic.
- Add the onion, sprinkle with the salt and fry for about ten minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Add the marinated lamb, and mix well to coat with tempered oil. Fry until meat is well browned. This will take around ten 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 the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours. The lamb should release enough moisture to prevent it from catching on the base of the pan, but if the gravy looks too dry, add a little water. It is ready when the red coloured 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 the gravy is reduced. Taste and add salt, if necessary.
- 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 plain vegetable oil if unobtainable.
- Use 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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