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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!