Rogan Josh

Learning more about Indian food has been one of my goals for this year–something I ushered in by making shahi korma. Shortly after, I had received an email from one of my readers (Rose S. in India), very kindly offering me additional Indian recipes to try. I was ecstatic and jumped at the opportunity. This recipe is one of those: a Kashmiri lamb curry, called Rogan Josh, which is cooked in a fantastic blend of very fragrant spices.

Rogan Josh

The curry had a great, smooth body with a velvetty mouthfeel and a really great blend of spices. The saffron added a nice little something on top of the other spices while the meat was very tender and rich (on account of the nice amount of ghee used. If you don’t have any ghee in your pantry–get some or make some soon!). The yogurt base to the curry gave a great tang and the lambiness was still distinct, albeit kind of subtle next to all these other big flavors. All together, this was just excellent and I felt like I was back in India eating real Indian food again.

Thank you again, Rose–time for you to start a food blog! :-)

  • 4 Tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • ~2-3 lb lamb (I used the sirloin portion of the leg. Use a moderately quick cooking cut, like shoulder/neck)
  • Spice blend
    • 10 dried Kashmir chilies (roughly 3 Tbsp Kashmir Chili Powder if you don’t have whole)
    • 4 green cardamom pods
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 6 cloves
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 cups yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Optional: 1/4-1/2 tsp saffron threads


Begin by preparing the spices. You’ll cook some of them whole, so set those aside. The others should go right into a coffee/spice grinder and be ground down to powder. Set this aside.

Then, peel the garlic and ginger. Grind these down to a paste as well, adding a very sparse amount of water if needed to facilitate blending. Set this aside.

Brown the lamb pieces

Now, on to the lamb. Trim off any excess fat, remove the bone(s) if necessary, and cut the meat into 1-2 inch cubes. In a large pan, warm up about 1 Tbsp of ghee over medium high heat. Throw a pinch of asafetida into the hot ghee (a little goes a long way, so be conservative) for a minute and then add some of the lamb pieces (don’t overcrowd the pan–work in batches if you need to). Brown the lamb for roughly 2 minutes per side and then remove from the pan and set aside.

Brown the garlic/ginger paste and spices

Now, add the remaining ghee to the pot and give it a minute to warm up. Add the whole spices and fry for a minute or until fragrant. Then, add the garlic-ginger paste you prepared earlier along with the ground spices. Stir frequently and don’t fret if the paste browns–you want that! Fry this for roughly 2-3 minutes.

Add the whipped yogurt

In a bowl (or since my food processor was already dirty from making the garlic/ginger paste…), add the yogurt and whip it vigorously for a few seconds to lighten it up a bit. Add it slowly, roughly one spoon at a time to the pan, and stir constantly for roughly 30 seconds to prevent the yogurt from curdling when it first meets the heat. Blend well with the paste and spices and continue to fry this for roughly 3-4 minutes further.

Now, add the warm/hot water and salt into the pot and raise to a boil, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to dislodge any browned bits. Return the lamb to the pot, cover, and drop the heat to low, simmering until the meat is tender (roughly an hour). Stir periodically to prevent the gravy from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. If the gravy is too thick you can add ~1/4 cup of thinned yogurt at a time until it is more to your liking.

After simmering for an hour, the rogan josh is done. Skim off the fat

Once done cooking, you’ll probably have a bit of fat settled on the surface. Skim it off as best you can before you start serving. If you’ve decided to include saffron, crumble the threads in a small amount of hot water a few minutes before you expect to be done cooking. Once you’ve skimmed off the fat, add the saffron mixture into the curry and give it a good stir.

I garnished with a bit of cilantro and served with a side of yogurt rice. Enjoy!

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21 Responses to “Rogan Josh”

  1. Jan Says:

    Love the look and sound of that recipe Mike. I love making Indian food.

  2. Bellini Valli Says:

    What a wonderfully flavoured dish Mike. What a great opportunity to make some delicious Indian cuisine.

  3. Sandie Says:

    Authentic Indian cuisine is something I know little about cooking, but would definitely be willing to learn!

    Also, since you’re sort of the reigning strawberry king, be sure to stop by soon—there’s a new feature on Inn Cuisine, one that (just so happens to) feature fresh strawberries. I think this is a perfect opportunity for you to conquer any remaining fears regarding the hazards of canning! :)

  4. Bunny Says:

    I’ve never made Indian food Mike, my family is pretty darn boring as far as trying new foods.

  5. Kevin Says:

    I have been wanting to learn more about Indian cuisine as well and this dish sounds good!

  6. Dragon Says:

    I can almost smell all those spices from here. :)

  7. anticiplate Says:

    Do you have a specific cookbook that you cook out of? I am hosting an Indian Dinner next week and I bought “the food of India” which has phenomenal pictures and was recommended to me by Matt Wright over at Wrightfood.

  8. Ginny Says:

    Delicious! This is one of my favorite Indian dishes but I’ve never had the guts to make it myself. It looks great! :)

  9. maggie Says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes! Thanks for the recipe—bookmarking now.

  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    The recipes I’ve gotten from readers of my blog are some of my all-time favorites, and it looks like Rose has sent you a wonderful recipe to start your own collection.

  11. Rose Says:

    Thanks Mike for using my recipe and giving me credit on your site. If you ever need any other recipe for Indian food, do let me know. It would be my pleasure to send it over.

  12. Jude Says:

    Thanks for sharing this classic Indian recipe with us. I can already imagine how this would smell as it cooks.

  13. Toni Says:

    My mouth is literally watering at this point. I brought back green cardamom from Kashmir – I think this recipe is calling to me!

  14. Spirited Miu Flavor Says:

    Pretty good looking, I especially enjoyed the way you presented this dish, Mike. Red background brings it up so nicely!

  15. Rebecca Says:

    Hi Mike

    Please can you tell me which spices do you keep whole and which ones do you grind up



  16. gavin Says:

    great curry and beautiful presentation

  17. Tara in Richmond Says:

    relative to the Kashmiri chili powder….3 TABLEspoons? really?

    Did I read this wrong?

    I used 2 tablespoons Kashmiri chili powder with 2.5 lbs of lamb because 3 tablespoons sounded a bit more adventurous than I wanted to be. Almost had to throw it out as it was still far too spicy to eat. Saved it with a mix of yogurt, heavy whipping cream and boiled potatoes.

    I like the basic inventory of this recipe and I want it to be as fabulous as your chicken biryani recipe so I have to ask ….3 tablespoons of Kashmiri chili powder? really?

    (I can adjust it in my kitchen – I’m thinking of the rookie who may be new to preparing Indian cuisine,)

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