Rogan Josh was introduced to Kashmir by The Mughals, whose cuisine was influenced by Persian cuisine. “Rogan” means clarified butter or oil in Persian, or “red” in Hindi, and “josh” refers to passion – fiery or hot – so this dish is all about cooking in an oil-based sauce with an intense heat. Despite its intense red hue, it is usually not a particularly spicy curry.
To prepare rogan josh, you need to begin by browning the meat of your choice – traditionally lamb or goat – in oil. Kashmiris usually use mustard oil which gives unique taste, colour and flavour to the dish. Mustard oil is also considered to provide warmth to the body which is much needed in Kashmir during cold months. The meat is then removed and a number of warm spices, including garlic, ginger, whole black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander and kashmiri chilli powder are added to the hot oil in stages. Next, the meat is returned to the pan along with plain yogurt. The pan is then covered and cooked over low heat until the meat becomes very tender.
Various cooks make this curry in different ways, some add onion, ginger garlic paste, tomatoes etc. However, it is believed that during the winter months, when Kashmir faces challenges in growing onions and tomatoes, they made the curry with fragrant and warm spice mixes which made the curry taste better and added a lingering aroma.
The magic is in the searing and slow cooking of the meat, the lamb should be tender to the point of falling apart, this packs a serious flavour punch! the fragrance of the spice powder makes this curry really exquisite.
Rogan Josh Lamb Curry
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 kg boneless lamb or mutton (marinate in salt and lemon juice for 1-2 hours for best effect)
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred, room temperature
1/2-1 cup water
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp Banu's rogan josh powder (here)
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon ginger grated
Fresh coriander chopped
Pinch garam masala
1. In a pan heat oil, pan sear the meat
2. In a bowl whisk 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, 1/2 cup of water add salt and the rogan josh powder.
3. In a slow cooker add the seared meat and the oil in it, the rogan josh powder mixed with yoghurt and water gravy, add chilli powder if you want your curry to be hot. Cover and let it cool at a very slow heat.
4. Once the meat is well cooked and the oil separates, put the heat off, add the freshly grated ginger, mix and finish off with finely chopped coriander (optional).
Often, rogan josh is served with a side of plain basmati rice, or the Indian bread known as naan, or both.