Rogan Josh - Indian Lamb Stew


Rogan Josh is one of my favorite Indian Lamb dishes.

It is is an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin, and is a common dish in the Kashmir region.

Rogan Josh consist of marinated lamb chunks cooked with a gravy based on browned onions, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices (cloves, Indian bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon).

Ideally I like to use Lamb Loin Chops for this dish, but It is not easy to find good lamb in the U.S.A. and I often end up with whatever lamb they have available at my local store, which often is boneless leg or shoulder of lamb. It still turns out great, but the bones would have added that little extra to the gravy.

The yogurt used in Indian cuisine is strained plain yogurt. I use a tea strainer to strain the yogurt. Alternatively you can use Sour Cream instead.

The Bay Leaves used in this dish are Indian Bay Leaves which come from the Cassia tree. They do not have the same flavor as the Bay Leaf we are used to in the Western World which come from the Laurel Tree. If you can not get a hold of cassia leaves where you live, leave it out or add one more clove or 1/4 tsp. extra cinnamon).

For best results the lamb chunks should be marinated for at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

1. To make the marinade mix together crushed garlic, crushed ginger, ground cumin, chili powder, paprika and coriander in a large bow. Cut the meat into 1 1/4 inch thick cubes and add to the marinade. Stir to coat the meat well. Cover and refrigerate. I move the mix to a large zip lock bag to marinate. This method takes up less space in the fridge. Make sure to press out all air before you close the bag.

2. Take the marinated meat out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking as it should be at room temperature for best result.

3. Prepare the gravy ingredients for the gravy.

StartFragment4. Heat the ghee or oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is lightly browned. If you do this on medium heat you are sure not to burn the onion, but it also takes longer. If you are free to stand and watch the onion, you can increase the temperature to medium high. When lightly browned, add the Cardamon ponds, cloves, Indian Bay Leaves and Cinnamon stick to the pan and cook for one minute to release the flavors.

5. Increase the heat to medium high, add the meat and fry for a few minutes while stirring so all sides of the meat changes color. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

6. Increase the heat to medium high, uncover and cook for 3 minutes. Add ½ cup water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 7 minutes.

7. Increase the heat to medium high, uncover and fry for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and Reduce the heat to low (1.8 out of 10). Depending on what kind of lamb you use (from what country, how much fat it has etc) you may have more liquid than you need. If you have a lot of liquid (like in the photo to the right), cook uncovered for 50 minutes. If you do not have a lot of liquid, cover and cook for 50 minutes, gently simmering until the meat is tender. During the cooking you may also want to skim off some of the lamb fat that floats to the surface.

8. Stir in yogurt or sour cream. Add the saffron and milk. Stir well and season with salt to taste (usually 1/2 tsp. or less). Remove from the heat and sprinkle with garam masala. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you have some in your kitchen.

Serve with steamed rice and or nan bread.

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Here is what you need:

For the Marinade:

8 garlic cloves, crushed

2 ½ inch piece of ginger, grated or crushed

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. ground coriander

2 lbs. 4 oz. leg or shoulder of lamb, cut into 1 ¼ inch cubes

For the Gravy:

3 tbsp. canola oil or ghee

1 onion, finely chopped

6 cardamom pods

4 cloves

2 Indian bay leaves

3 inch cinnamon stick

1 1/2 cup water (divided)

¾ Greek plain yoghurt (strained) or ¾ cup sour cream

4 saffron strands, mixed with 2 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. garam masala

Approximately ½ tsp. salt – or to taste

Fresh Cilantro leaves to garnish (optional)

StartFragmentInstructions:

The Marinade:

Mix the garlic, ginger, cumin, chili powder, paprika and coriander in a large bowl. Add the meat and mix thoroughly to coat the meat cubes well. Cover or move to a zip lock bag and marinate in the fridge.

Cooking:

Heat the ghee or oil in a casserole over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is lightly browned. Stir occasionally.

Add the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick to the pan and fry for one minute. Increase the heat to medium high, add the meat and fry for 2 minutes while stirring so all sides of the meat changes color. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high, uncover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the meat is quite dry. Add ½ cup water, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 7 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high, uncover and fry for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of water. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 50 minutes, gently simmering until the meat is tender

Stir in yogurt or sour cream. Add the saffron and milk. Stir well and season with salt to taste (1/2 tsp. or so). Remove from the heat ands sprinkle with garam masala. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you have some in your kitchen.

Serve with steamed rice and or nan bread or chapattis.

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