Friday, 21 January 2011

Rogan josh

As all the dishes at my NYE Curry Night were being served together, Indian style, I wanted to make sure we had a nice choice of vegetable dishes and meat dishes. I spent quite a long time pondering the meat courses and finally settled on a lamb rogan josh and a dry tandoori style chicken (both from Indian Cookery: Madhur Jaffrey) in order to give varied texture. The other advantage of this is that I could prepare the rogan josh a day ahead of time and the chicken would marinade for approximately 40 hours before being baked just as my guests arrived.

Over the next three days as the recipes for this dinner are posted you will see that I chose a large menu for this dinner. For a smaller party or less festive affair I would be just as happy picking two or three of these dishes and giving myself much less work to do. The ingredient list for this curry looks intimidating but it's a doddle to make. Once you have the spices in stock they'll last a long time so you won't need to do a mental shopping list again. I happened to have the coriander and cumin as seeds which I ground myself. Replace with bought ground spices if you prefer.

Lamb rogan josh
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, coarsly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 250ml water
  • 5 tblsp vegetable oil 
  • 900g lamb (bones shoulder is perfect for this) cut into pieces of 2.5cms
  • 10 whole cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tblsp natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Blend together the ginger and garlic with enough water (1 or 2 tblsp) to make a paste
  2. Brown the meat in the oil in a wide, heavy pan over a medium heat. Once the meat is brown remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  3. Add the cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon to the same pan and oil and stir over the heat until the cloves start to swell and the aroma of the spices is released. Add the diced onion and stir for 5 mins or until the onions start to colour, now add the ginger-garlic paste, stir once and add coriander, cumin, cayenne and salt. Stir and fry for up a to a minute.
  4. Then add the meat and any of the released meat juices.Stir for a further minute or so before adding 1 tblsp yoghurt. Stir until this is blended in and then add the remaining yoghurt, 1 spoon at a time in the same way. Once all the yoghurt is incorporated stir over the medium heat for a further 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the water and bring the contents of the pot to the boil. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any of the browned spices or meat juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Every 10 mins stir the meat. Once the meat is tender remove the lid and simmer on a medium heat until the liquid has thickened to a thick reddish-brown sauce. Skim off any fat if required.

This curry can be made in advance and reheated when required. Just before serving stir in the garam masala, a sprinkly of freshly ground black pepper and shopped coriander leaves.


  1. Very nice recipes Jane. I love Indian food. I have just started a blog myself about my food.

  2. Thanks Gary! Good luck with your blog in 2011, I'll definitely check it out.

  3. What could I substitute for the yoghurt?

  4. Well first of all why? Is it a dairy thing? Or a dislike?

    If it's a dairy substitute you could try blending a silken tofu with a dash of lemon to give the yoghurt tang. Honestly I've never tried it any other way and would be open to your feedback.

    Alternatively you could try the (dairy) options of buttermilk, milk with a dash of vinegar or even sour cream. All will give a similar taste and texture of yoghurt but all are dairy.

  5. If anyone else sees this and can think of a good substitute please comment!

  6. Actually you could try this:

    After stage 3 add a tsp of flour and complete mix in. Cook for about 5 mins stirring constantly. Then proceed with stage 4 but add 4 tblsp of stock (meat or veg) and a dash of lemon juice to add the tang.
    Now continue with the rest of the recipe.

    This won't give you quite the same tang of yoghurt but will give you a thick (more European) sauce. I haven't tried this but theoretically it is how you would thicken a European stew.

    Good luck.