Lamb Rogan Josh is one of my all time favorite Indian dishes. The marvelous flavors are of course one reason, but also the history of this recipe is intriguing. “Josh” is Indian for heat and passion, and “Rogan” references red in Hindi, and oil in Persian. Hence, Lamb Rogan Josh is a method of cooking lamb in a red, oil-based sauce over very high, passionate flames.
Kashmiri chilli powder provides the redness to the sauce. The creamy Greek yogurt and aniseed undertones meld together, creating a soothing, yet very powerful sauce. Lamb Rogan Josh has evolved over centuries; there are recipes now that call for various vegetables added in. But this is the age-old, traditional and simple, yet perfectly elegant version, in true authentic Kashmiri fashion.
Lamb Rogan Josh Recipe-
- 1-1/2 lb. leg of lamb, meat cut away from the bone and chopped into large chunks
- 2 tbsp. mustard oil
- 1 tsp. asafoetida
- 1 tsp. black cumin seeds
- 1 stick of cassia bark
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 whole dried Kashmiri chilis
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. red Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp. Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp. ginger powder
- 1 tsp. fennel powder
- 4 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
- 16 oz. water (more or less)
- 1 tbsp. garam masala
- In a large skillet over highest flame possible, heat the mustard oil to where it is sizzling and smoking. Then cut the flame off and allow to cool; then reheat over mild flame, and add and stir in the asafoetida.
- Now adjust the flame to medium-high and add and stir in all the whole spices: black and green cardamom pods, cumin seeds, cassia bark, cloves, whole dried Kashmiri chillies, and also the salt (to taste).
- When the spices have become fragrant, add and stir in the lamb; sauté, stirring, until nicely browned all over. Reduce the flame to low, and add and stir in the chili powder, then let the lamb cook for 3 or 4 more minutes.
- Now add and stir in the fennel and ginger powders, cook for 1 minute.
- Add and stir in the yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time. When thoroughly blended through, place the lid on the skillet and leave on the lowest heat setting. Cook at a very gentle simmer for one full hour. Check after 30 minutes, and see if more water is needed, then allow to finish cooking until the lamb is fork tender.
- When the meat is fully tenderized, add and stir in enough boiling water and the garam masala, to create an aromatic, supple gravy.
- Serve your Lamb Rogan Josh while nice and hot, with some freshly cooked white rice.
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