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.
There are a few things to be careful about. It is important to use Kashmiri chilli powder because of the colouring it gives and the mildness of its taste. You should also buy the reddest tomatoes you can, again to get the red colour.
A good rogan josh has a distinctive red colour.
The step of removing the pulp and the seeds from the tomatoes is important too, as you do not want the moisture they contain.
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.
- 800 g lamb leg trimmed and cut into 5cm cubes
for the marinade
- 150 ml yoghurt
- 2 tsp asafoetida powder dissolved in 2 tbsp water
- 30 g ghee
- 8 black peppercorns
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 stick cinnamon roughly broken into pieces
- 6 cloves
- 1 blade mace
- 1 red onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 30 g ginger crushed
- 2 tomatoes deseeded, pulp removed and chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 indian bay leaves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
- 2 tsp cumin seeds toasted and ground
- 2 tsp fennel seeds toasted and ground
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 4 curry leaves
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ cup coriander leaves
Put the yogurt in a large bowl and mix in the dissolved asafoetida. Add the lamb and rub in all the marinade, then set aside overnight.
Heat the ghee in large pot. Add peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves and mace and fry for one minute until spices are sizzling and aromatic.
Add the onion and fry until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for three minutes or until garlic becomes aromatic. Remove from heat.
Once pot has cooled, use a slotted spoon to remove onion and spice mix, leaving as much ghee as possible. Put the onion and spice mix and the deseeded tomato into a blender and puree, adding a little water if required. Set aside.
Return pot to the heat. Remove lamb from marinade, add to pot with the salt and stir continuously for five minutes or until lamb has coloured.
Return the tomato, onion and spice puree and any remaining marinade to the pot and fry for another two minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, bay leaves, ground coriander, cumin and fennel, chilli powder, turmeric, fenugreek leaves and curry leaves. Stir gently for two minutes.
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.
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.
Place onto serving platter and sprinkle with coriander leaves.