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Mutton Rogan Josh: Kashmiri Mutton Curry with Yogurt and Spices

 

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Rogan Josh is one of the signature dishes from the magnificent state of Kashmir. Brimming with flavors of fennel, ginger and marked by the sriking red hue, it is indeed a celebration of all senses.

 

 

Popular it might be in Kashmir, but this had never been an everyday dish in our home. In fact, in my life the delights of Rogan Josh were observed only occasionally in restaurants. I did not care to know about the intricacies of it then, nor the complications of flavors or how it happened. I did not know what made a Do Pyaza different from a Rogan Josh except that they were both extremely delicious even with their different taste and flavors.

Now that I juggle with spices almost every hour of the day, I have found what makes the flavors of Rogan Josh so distinct, and so special.

 

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It is believed that the roots of this dish originated in Persia. The flavors and style have been brought in to India during the innumerable invasions it went through in the past. Traditional Kashmiri Rogan Josh has a thin sauce layered with a slick of oil on the top. The dish gets its color from a rare spice called Ratanjot and Kashmiri red chili powder. Rajanjot is not easily available, and since there is a good chance that the one you find might be fake with artificial color, it is better not to buy it unless you know it is a trusted source.

 

Rogan Josh has been adapted to be made in various ways around the country, but the traditional recipe comes in two kinds. One rendition is without the use of onion or garlic as I have done it today. This is the way it used to be cooked by the Kashmiri Pandits, and is probably the original version. This is very similar to the Kashmiri Dum Aloo I had posted earlier.

The other  translation of Rogan Josh uses onion and garlic along with the same spices that we have today. The signature spices for this dish are hing/asafoetida, fennel seeds and the dried ginger powder, along with a variation of combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. Yogurt is added to add the slight tang and texture to the sauce. There are no tomatoes added to the traditional dish; not even to enhance color.
Rogan-Josh-3.jpg

 

The meat used for this recipe should not be lean. The fat in the meat enriches the dish and also allows you to cook with less amount of oil.

 

If you see a version of which has onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and everything else like any usual Indian curry, it is not Rogan Josh. It is not the tomatoes that make this curry, red. It is Ratanjot. And if you do not get Ratanjot, use Kashmiri Red Chili Powder or even paprika. But no tomatoes, my friends, no tomatoes.  It is not Rogan Josh without the intense flavors of dried ginger powder, fennel and asafoetida. These are the three main spices that define the flavors of this regional dish as I have mentioned above.

Here I found another recipe of Rogan Josh which I really like.

 

 

Rogan Josh Diptych 1

 

The biggest religious festival that is celebrated all over India just went by.  Diwali marks the victory of good over evil and is also beginning of a new year for many. However in the state I belong to, it is a festival dedicated to Goddess Kali, and is known as the Kali or Shyama Puja. After an evening of lighting up the home with Diyas and candles and a riot of fire crackers, there comes a time when everyone flocks for the very late night worship of Goddess Kali or Shakti, associated with empowerment or the redeemer of the Universe. There used to be time when animals were sacrificed and is still done in some places. This sacrificial goat would then be cooked as Prasad or offering to the Goddess. Onion or garlic is never used while cooking the sacrificial goat. I would assume that it is the same religious reason, that the Kashmiri Pandits cook their Rogan Josh without onion and garlic.

We never ate any meat on Kali Puja or Diwali. There was no sacrificial meat brought in our home, not even as offering. Instead we had Khichuri, and if possible my favorite Bhuna  Khichuri.  I would accompany my grandma with her plateful of offerings of flowers and sweets for the worship. Then I would accompany her back laden with the smell of flowers, and of dhoop/incense sticks, maybe taking bites of the sandesh on her plate while trying to keep ourselves away from the fireworks on the streets which the boys pranked on us.

It seems like a different time, so long ago…

 

 

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Rogan Josh: Kashmiri Mutton Curry with Yogurt and Spices

 

 

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  1. 3/4  lb meat (mutton/goat meat/lamb), preferably meat with lot of fatcut  in 2 inch pieces
  2. scant  3/4 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoon yogurt (yogurt should be well drained or use Greek yogurt)
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 4 green cardamompowdered (peel the cardamom and grind the seeds to a fine powder either with a mortar & pestle or spice grinder) 
  5. 2 black cardamompowdered (peel the cardamom and grind the seeds to a fine powder either with a mortar & pestle or spice grinder)
  6. 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  7. tejpatta/Indian bay leaf
  8. 6 cloves, powdered
  9. 3/4 tablespoon saunf/fennel seeds, powdered – divided
  10. 1/2 tablespoon sooth/dried ginger powder
  11. a few grinds of fresh black peppercorn
  12. 1/2 teaspoon hing/asafoetida powder (a generous pinch if using pure hing)
  13. 3 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or 10 whole red Kashmiri Chilis ground to a paste
  14. 4-5  tablespoon pure mustard oil + 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  15. 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (homemade or store bought)
  16. fresh cilantro/coriander or fresh mint

 

Method:

Wash the meat and pat dry. Drizzle the lemon juice, and some salt and toss and allow it sit for about an hour. Add the 2 tablespoon yogurt and 1 tablespoon mustard oil to the meat and marinate it for at least 3 hours. Overnight works better.

If you are not using Greek yogurt, drain  the rest of the yogurt until thick and creamy. Whisk yogurt with red chili powder, half the amount of the green cardamom powder and half amount of the black cardamom powder , all of the ginger powder, half the amount of the fennel seed powder. Set aside.

Heat the mustard oil, or any other oil you are using. Traditionally mustard oil is used and it gives an extra edge to the flavor of the dish, but if you are not used to and do not like it, then just use any cooking oil.

Add the hing/asafoetida to the hot oil. Add the cinnamon, tejpatta/Indian Bay Leaf and the fresh grind of black peppercorn  and saute until aromatic, only a few seconds. When the spices sizzle add the meat to the pan and cook at medium heat, while tossing them occasionally until they start to brown. This will take anywhere between 10-20 minutes.

Now add the powdered clove, rest of the cardamom,  and the rest of the fennel powder . Toss well for the spice mix to coat the meat and cook on low for another 10-15 minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan.

Remove pan from heat. Add a few splashes of water to the oil to cool down the content of the pan.

Wait for a minute and then add the whisked and spiced yogurt a little at a time to the pan and keep stirring it. Keep doing this until you have added the entire yogurt. Put the pan back on the stove in very low heat. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of water ( more if you want more sauce), give it a good stir and tightly cover the pan. Cook until the meat is cooked through and is tender and the oil has separated on the sides. This might take even 2 hours depending on the kind of meat you are using.

Uncover, stir in the Garam Masala. Add and adjust salt. Gently stir everything in and cover it back again until ready to serve.

Add the fresh cilantro or fresh mint if you want just before serving. It is best served over hot steamed white rice.

Serve over hot steamed rice or with flat breads. Enjoy!

 

 

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1.5-2 hours

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Serves: 2

 

 

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31 comments to Mutton Rogan Josh: Kashmiri Mutton Curry with Yogurt and Spices

  • Dayeeta

    Ekhuni khete chai….: ;-)
    Bhat boshao….
    Cheers
    D

  • Stunning photography as always Soma!!! Loved the write up as well :)

  • This curry must taste mighty good! Just what I’d love to eat right now…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Soma, I must say I am drooling over it. It looks absolutely delish. Uff!! Phataphati. Amar post ta pray 6 mash dhorey draft e porey achhe, lekhar awbhabe. Ami almost, I mean 99% ei bhabe kori. I seriously hate the onion garlic version.

  • Oh Soma, you just made me so homesick! This reminds me of my nani’s bhuna gosht :-)
    I need to find some mutton now.

  • Deepa

    I too would love to try this signature Kashmiri dish. Your pics made me hungry even after having a meal.
    Deepa

  • This looks fantastic! beautiful clicks…

  • ushnish ghosh

    Dear Soma
    How are you ? Here after a long time, and blame FB.
    Wonderful description of the dish and the procedures too. I take note of using tej pata and black pepper, an unusual spice for this dish. I will use next time.
    It is better to stay away from the ratanjot for the reasons you mentioned.
    Bhalo theko

  • The curry looks delicious. Love the shots especially the last one and the ones of spices.

    I had no idea that Hindu festivals too involved the sacrifice of animals, which was later eaten. Its very interesting.

  • another classic! This is how we make them too except we don’t use hing for religious reasons and I end up using little garlic to balance that flavour. love the color you got! Despite using the best kashmiri chilli, the color often varies :) xo

  • Absolutely a sunday favorite. The color of the curry is very tempting.
    Love it.

  • I have some authentic ratanjot. Not in the powder form, but the actual root. One of my friends is in spice business and it was a gift from him. I’ll glad to send some to you. Please let me know. It will be a gift from one foodie to another. I used it to make rogan josh.

  • It’s funny but rogan josh is what I order whenever I go to an Indian restaurant, not matter where or when. It is my favorite Indian meat dish. Yet I have never made it at home. Your recipe is beautiful and I am always fascinated to discover a dish’s history and interesting things about it and its ingredients. Wonderful post, Soma.

  • Soujanya

    Hi Soma,

    I’m an avid reader of your blog and tried many of your recipes. especially I mastered your paneer makhani and chicken kolhapuri. I just want to know can I cook this in pressure cooker, if so will it differ in taste?

    Thanks,
    Soujanya

    I have a feeling it can be done and the taste won’t be different. To be honest, I had been wanting to cook this in the pressure cooker for a while since it takes so long. My only fear was that the yogurt will split. I will try it next time, but will cook the meat first until tender and then add the yogurt with the spices and simmer some more. The flavors intensify as it sits and even better the next day. Do let me know if you try. Thanks much for the support!

  • Soma! What a fantastic recipe and lovely pictures…thank-you for sharing:)

  • Madame de LaTour

    Hi Soma,
    Was about to try the recipe but got a problem- when do you put the jetpatta- Indian bay leaf?
    Many thanks.
    M de La Tour

    So sorry for this late reply. I have updated the post. I had missed writing about the tejpatta. You add with along with the cinnamon sticks in the initial stage of cooking!

  • [...] ‘TRUE’ Rogan Josh doesn’t have onions in it according to this ECurry Recipe. The spices used are incredibly different as well with Fennel Seeds, Ginger Powder, and [...]

  • Mike

    Beautiful, I’m going to try this tomorrow , finally rogan josh WITHOUT tomatoes , great,thank you n keep up the good work :-)

  • karan

    The name Rogan Josh means very colourfull .
    Rogan means paint
    Josh means with gusto or force

    Thank you so much! The dish does live up to its name.

  • neha

    mutton rogan curry I tried it very different the smell is to good .I think we can add fried onion paste .

  • sanjit

    please specify exact quantity(in kgs./gms.) of goat meat to be used for your recipe – whether it is 3/4th lb. or something else.

    3/4 lb is equivalent to about .3402 kilograms.

  • sanjit

    thank you for the prompt reply.
    regards.

  • siddhartha

    excellent recipe…tried this over the weekend . proportions i did were slightly diff but result was splendid. thanks.

  • devleena

    hi Soma di, thank u for this wonderful and delicious recipe…will definitely try it…it is one of my favorite dishes.I just wanna ask you that can this be done in pressure cooker?Where can i get Ratanjot and if i manage some,how to use it?thank u didi.regards-devleena

    Yes this can be done in the pressure cooker. Do the final cooking in the pressure cooker. Add the Ratanjot in oil to release the color.

  • akshay

    Gravy is so thin and so differ as shown in this picture sorry folks wasted whole day and put extreme hard work and the result was totally disgusting didn’t like it all have to refurbished it by adding tomatoes onions and garlic making it a thicker.

    I am sorry to hear that the Rogan Josh did not turn out as expected. Just to let you know that the gravy is supposed to be thin, flowy and fatty in this dish as there are no agents to thicken it except for the spices and the yogurt. What you see here is actually thin fatty sauce. How much sauce you want is upto you. If your sauce was too thin and watery, I have a feeling that the yogurt must have split and released water to mess up enough with the taste and consistency of the sauce. Treating the yogurt here is probably the most important and difficult part in this dish. It depends on the quality and water/fat consistency of the yogurt too. There have been other readers who have successfully cooked this recipe. I am sorry again that it did not work out for you.

  • akshay

    Hmm m sorry I did a prompt comment so waited till dinner time and now the smell feels good nice aroma good to have it with rice.

  • Sanjeev

    Hi
    I tried this recepie . Somehow the color of gravy didnt turn out to brown and is like cream color . Not sure where I went wrong.

    It could be to do with the color of the chilli powder you have used. The Kashmiri or even the Reshmapati Chilli powder imparts the deep red color. whereas the others won’t

  • Diptesh Chatterjee

    Stumbled across your recipe on the internet and tried this at home tonight. Believe me, this is the most amazing mutton dish I’ve ever tasted. Absolute perfection, that’s what your recipe is !! Thank you !!

    Thank you so very much! Really appreciate you taking time and leaving a comment :)

  • pooja

    Randomly I clikckd on ur link,made D’s today…super delicious.. Never knew this spices combo..
    I want to add pic also:-)

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