Rogan Josh: a delicious Indian lamb curry

Rogan Josh is a delicious lamb curry recipe and is one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine. Besides being delicious, what fascinates me the most about this recipe is its history. So, I couldn’t resist sharing its story with you.

Rogan Josh is a typical dish from the Kashmir region, but over time, it became very popular in mainland India. Today, Rogan Josh has become integrated into conventional Indian cuisine.

The origin of Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh is a dish whose origin can be traced back to the Indian state of Kashmir.

It is one of the 36 dishes that make up the Kashmiri Wazwan. Kashmiri Wazwan is a very traditional ceremonial feast in Kashmir, featuring 7 to 36 dishes, with various types of meat as the main ingredient.

The Wazas are descendants of the cooks who came from Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan, to the Kashmir Valley in the 15th century. These cooks are now the master chefs of Kashmir, and under their supervision, the delicacies that make up Kashmiri Wazwan are prepared throughout the night.

Interestingly, Rogan Josh is considered a Mughlai dish, but that’s not accurate at all. It was the Mughals who inherited this dish from Kashmir. Furthermore, historically, Kashmiri cuisine has more Persian influence than Indian due to the Silk Road and commercial ties.

What does Rogan Josh mean

The term Rogan Josh is of Persian origin, and there are various interpretations of its meaning.

Rogan, pronounced as Rougan, means oil or ghee in Persian, while in Urdu, it means red. On the other hand, Josh means to simmer. Another meaning of Josh is hot or passionate. Thus, one could conclude that Rogan Josh means “meat simmered in hot oil.”

Rogan Josh is an aromatic lamb stew with an intense red color, but unlike other Indian curries, it is not spicy.

Rogan Josh gets its red color from Kashmiri red chilies and “ratanjot,” a spice also known as Alkanna Tinctoria, which enhances the intense red color of the stew. Sometimes, the extract of cockscomb flower is also used.

Versions of Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh is one of the most famous curries in India, but there are so many different versions found in restaurants and on the internet that it’s hard to know which one is the authentic Rogan Josh.

In reality, there are two versions of Rogan Josh in Kashmir, as with most dishes in this region: the Hindu Pandits of Kashmir version and the Muslim version.

In the Pandit version, garlic and onions are not added, but asafoetida and powdered ginger are used. Yogurt is also used, and the meat is browned.

The Muslim version uses Kashmiri pearl garlic and shallots called Pran. The shallots are browned and then crushed, adding them to the stew to enhance its flavor.

To make Rogan Josh, high-quality meat is used, such as lamb shoulder and chops. The secret is to slow-cook it for a long time. Mustard oil is used, although ghee is sometimes used as well.

The spice blend in the original version consists of powdered fennel seeds instead of the usual spices like cumin or coriander.

Although restaurants prepare Rogan Josh with tomatoes, the original recipe does not include this ingredient.

Rogan Josh (curry de cordero)

My Rogan Josh recipe

I’ve tried several tests to arrive at this recipe that I’m sharing with you; this is the version that my friends and family have enjoyed the most.

Additionally, it can be prepared the day before, as it’s one of those stews that are even tastier the next day, making it a perfect dish for celebrations or family meals.

I’ve used both types of meat, the shoulder and the chops, to achieve the best result.

To achieve that beautiful deep red color, I couldn’t find Ratanjot, so I opted for Kashmiri chili and a little red food coloring.

I’ve added meat broth to enhance the flavor and plenty of onions to achieve the right texture for Rogan Josh.

This slow-cooked delicious recipe combines the flavors of lamb with spices and the creaminess of yogurt to create tender and juicy lamb that easily falls off the bone.

Rogan Josh can be served with Basmati rice, a salad, and Naan bread, making it a complete meal.

This stew has made me succeed in many meals with friends, allowing me to enjoy the gathering without the stress of spending so much time cooking, as I prepare it the day before.

So, I encourage you to make it; the Rogan Josh sauce will delight you if you’re one of those who enjoy scraping the plate clean as if it’s come out of the dishwasher.

Now let’s get to the recipe…

 Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilograms of lamb meat, cut into large pieces (I used leg and chops)
  • 3 large onions
  • 200 grams of natural yogurt
  • 1 liter of meat broth
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon of Kashmiri red chili
  • 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala
  • 5-6 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Red food coloring (optional)

 

Instructions

-Ingredients for Rogan Josh:

Rogan Josh

-Cut the onions into very thin julienne strips.

-In a small pan, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat without oil until they release their aroma.

-Allow them to cool slightly, then transfer them to a mortar and grind them into a fine powder. Set aside.

-Place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it well with a fork. Add the powdered spices (Kashmiri chili, powdered ginger, ground fennel seeds), and a bit of red food coloring.

-Mix well and set it aside for later.

-Heat a pot over high heat with a little oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb pieces with a pinch of salt. Brown them on high heat until they acquire color. Then, remove them to a plate.

-Add more oil to the same pot and reduce the heat to medium.

-Add the whole spices: bay leaves, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir carefully for a few seconds, then add the thinly sliced onions.

-Sauté the onions over medium-high heat until they turn golden brown.

-Add the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for a few seconds. Then, add the lamb pieces that you had previously browned.

-Pour in the meat broth, water (enough to cover the meat by about two inches), and salt. Let it simmer for 40 minutes over low heat or until the meat is halfway cooked.

-Add the yogurt mixture to the pot and stir everything. Cook over medium-high heat until the meat becomes tender, and the sauce thickens slightly.

-Sprinkle Garam Masala on top and mix it in. Turn off the heat and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving, although it will be even more flavorful the next day.

-If you serve it with Naan bread and a salad, you’ll have a complete and satisfying meal that will surely delight your guests.

Rogan Josh (curry de cordero)

Related Basics

Watch how to make

Any questions? Ask me in the comments section.                                        

If you try this lamb recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment or rate this recipe. I love reading your comments and feedback to improve my recipes. And, don’t forget to tag me on my social media! Looking at the photos of the recipes you all have made is what I enjoy the most!

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh

Prep Time 15 hours
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cuisine India
Servings 4
Calories 160 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 kilograms of lamb meat, cut into large pieces (I used leg and chops)
  • 3 large onions
  • 200 grams of natural yogurt
  • 1 liter of meat broth
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon of Kashmiri red chili
  • 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala
  • 5-6 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Red food coloring (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Cut the onions into very thin julienne strips.
  • In a small pan, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat without oil until they release their aroma.
  • Allow them to cool slightly, then transfer them to a mortar and grind them into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it well with a fork. Add the powdered spices (Kashmiri chili, powdered ginger, ground fennel seeds), and a bit of red food coloring.
  • Mix well and set it aside for later.
  • Heat a pot over high heat with a little oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb pieces with a pinch of salt. Brown them on high heat until they acquire color. Then, remove them to a plate.
  • Add more oil to the same pot and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the whole spices: bay leaves, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir carefully for a few seconds, then add the thinly sliced onions.
  • Add the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for a few seconds. Then, add the lamb pieces that you had previously browned.
  • Pour in the meat broth, water (enough to cover the meat by about two inches), and salt. Let it simmer for 40 minutes over low heat or until the meat is halfway cooked.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the pot and stir everything. Cook over medium-high heat until the meat becomes tender, and the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Sprinkle Garam Masala on top and mix it in. Turn off the heat and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving, although it will be even more flavorful the next day.
  • If you serve it with Naan bread and a salad, you’ll have a complete and satisfying meal that will surely delight your guests.

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