An aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin, Lamb Rogan Josh is one of the signature recipes of Kashmiri cuisine consisting of braised lamb cooked with a gravy based on browned onions or shallots, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices. The characteristic brilliant red colour of the dish traditionally comes from liberal amounts of dried Kashmiri chilies that have been de-seeded to reduce their heat with a flavour which approximates that of paprika. Like many curries, Rogan Josh has undergone several adaptations and changes to the traditional recipes that are not necessarily authentic such as the use of tomatoes, which the Kashmiri communities do not use, but they do add a tangy note and deep red colour to this delicious dish adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver. Full of flavour and meltingly tender, this Rogan Josh was absolutely 'Pukka-licious'!
Lamb Rogan Josh
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver
1-inch piece of ginger
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt, plus extra for garnish
1 lb lamb, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 yellow onions
2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded if desired
1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves washed and stems reserved
2 green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 small dried red chillies
2 tsp paprika
6 ripe tomatoes
Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic, and mix together in a large bowl with the turmeric, peppercorns and yoghurt. Add the lamb and toss well to coat, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Peel and halve the onions, deseed and roughly chop the peppers, then pulse in a food processor with 1 of chillies and the cilantro stalks until fine. Finely slice the remaining chilli and put aside.
Crush the cardamom pods and place just the inner seeds in a large casserole pan on a medium heat. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds, and dried chillies. Toast until golden and aromatic, then tip into a mortar and using a pestle grind up with the paprika.
Using the same pan, heat a splash of vegetable oil on a medium heat. Add the ground spices for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the pulsed onions and peppers from the processor and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Roughly chop the fresh tomatoes and add to the pan with the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, plus 1/2 tin's worth of water. Add the marinated lamb and a good pinch of sea salt, stir well and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meat is super-tender and the sauce has thickened.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed with a dollop of yoghurt to cool it down, if you like, and a splash or two of water if it’s too thick and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with Basmati rice and warm naan bread.