LAMB ROGAN JOSH
Regular readers will already know how much I love a good curry. My default order when I go to my local Indian takeaway is Lamb Rogan Josh. I just love it! A nice hit of spice, a rich sauce and buttery soft lamb. So I had to make my own version.
I went full on nerd for this one – I’ve been researching it for several months to get it exactly the way I want it. Should I brown the lamb? Do I need to marinate it? Should I use stock or just water? Having read recipes from Rick Stein’s India, Madhur Jaffrey’s Foolproof Indian Cookery to Atol Kuchar and even Green Saffron’s website, I can tell you there is no definitive recipe or instruction. But to answer the questions above, no need to brown the lamb and there is never anything wrong with adding flavour by marinating the meat and adding stock.
You might think I’m having a bit of a love affair with lamb at the moment. I have to make a confession, I have several recipes typed up that I am dying to share but my photos are terrible. Dark winter light is my enemy! And I really don’t want to put up any more rubbish photos. The reason I got decent enough pics here is because I took the curry out halfway through the cooking time, took the photos and then shoved it back on the hob to finish cooking. The secrets of a food blogger, eh?!
Again, please don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off. If you cook Indian food regularly you will have most of these already. Most of the marinade ingredients are repeated in the curry, so it’s not really as long as you think.
Useful tips & links:
- As with these types of dishes, this will taste better the day after you make it. It is not necessary but if you have time, allow the flavours in the cooked dish to develop overnight and then simply reheat before serving. It also freezes well.
- I used lamb shoulder here. Get your butcher to cut it into large cubes, at least 2.5cm each. Otherwise it will disappear completely while cooking. You could use lamb leg or lamb neck fillet – these will not take as long to cook. Also, a cheap cut of beef would work well.
- A lot of recipes just used a few fresh tomatoes and water for the sauce. I decided to use chicken stock to add to the flavour. You could also add some lamb bones as I did with the Tagine if you want a more intense lamb flavour.
- Traditionally Kashmiri red chilli powder is used which gives it its distinctive red colour. It can be difficult to get so I’ve used regular here. I make this curry quite hot so for the recipe I’ve decreased the chilli but feel free to add as much or as little to suit your own taste. I’ve also seen beetroot juice added for colour!
- I served mine with pilau rice, naan breads, mango chutney and bombay potatoes. Carb overload! Garnish with some fresh coriander.
- If you fancy cutting out a few steps, have a look at Green Saffron’s Rogan Josh.
Lamb Rogan Josh
For the marinade
- 1 kilo of diced lamb shoulder
- 100ml of natural yogurt
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, sweet paprika and dried chilli flakes
- ½ teaspoon of garam masala
- A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
For the curry
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons of ghee, clarified butter or sunflower oil
- 3 onions, finely sliced
- Another thumbsize piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 100ml of tomato passata
- 300ml of hot chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- ⅓ of a nutmeg, grated
- 2 bay leaves
- 125g of frozen peas
- 100ml of natural yogurt
- Trim any excess fat or sinew from the cubed lamb but leave a little fat to add flavour and thicken the sauce. Put the lamb into a large ziploc back or plastic container.
- In a bowl mix together the yogurt, garlic, ginger and remainder of the marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade over the lamb and mix everything well together so that the lamb is completely coated in the marinade. Put it into the fridge for a few hours or ideally overnight.
- The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature.
- Heat a dry non stick pan over a medium heat and dry fry the whole spices listed from the cinnamon stick to the mustard seeds until you can smell the spices toasting. Put the spices into a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
- In a large casserole dish heat the ghee, butter or oil over a low-medium heat. Add the finely sliced onions and spice powder that you’ve just ground and fry until the onions are soft. Take care not to burn the spices, add a little water if it starts to catch.
- Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the lamb and the marinade into the pan, stir well and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the lamb doesn’t burn.
- Next you need to add the tomato puree and passata and the hot chicken stock. Bring this up to a boil and add the remaining spices and bay leaves.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the dish with a tight fitting lid.
- Allow it to simmer for 2½ to 3 hours, checking it occasionally and giving it a stir.
- Once the lamb is meltingly tender, add the frozen peas and yogurt and cook gently just until the peas are cooked. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if needed.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve with your choice of accompaniments.