Rogan Josh (red lamb curry)
A Rogan Josh is one of the standard Indian curries. It is coloured red with paprika.
This is my version (not traditional!)
lamb per person
cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, chilli, pepper, paprika
oil for frying
knife and board for chopping
spoon for stirring
time in oven: 1 hour or more
preparing and frying vegetables
This is a minimal recipe. At the end, I suggest some additional or substitute ingredients.
- Put a little oil in the frying pan for frying. Cut the into chunks. Fry it for a bit.
- Peel and chop the and add to the pan and fry for a bit.
- Now for the spices. These are fried as well. I use the separate spices, as listed, rather than a generic curry powder. However, I use the ground spices, even ground ginger, cardamom and cloves, rather than whole spices as it makes life easier. I use above half a teaspoon for each, apart from chilli and paprika. I use two teaspoons of paprika, and a very small amount of chilli, as I don't like very hot curries! See below for a further discussion of spices. Add the spices to the pan, and fry them for a bit.
- Add the yoghurt to the pan. The amount for 2-3 people is about a small pot. Add it slowly, a spoon at a time and stir it in. This is to stop the yoghurt separating. This tends to happen anyway during cooking! The stirring helps to the frying pan by dissolving the stuff left over from frying on the bottom of the pan.
- Put the contents of the frying pan into your casserole. You can add a little water.
- Put the lid on, and put the casserole dish in the oven. This needs to cook for about one hour. You may need to check on the liquid level during cooking. Top up the level with water if necessary. However, a curry usually has quite a thick sauce, and this happens through evaporating off the excess water, so don't put too much extra water in.
- At the end of cooking time, have a look at it. If the sauce looks as if it's separated, then give it a good stir to mix it up again. If the sauce is too thin, then pour it into a pan, and through simmering until it is the right thickness.
Some of the following ingredients are traditional and some are possible variations. The recipe above creates a dish with plenty of taste and not too many ingredients. You can try adding some of the below for authenticity, or variation, or personal taste.
- The original recipe called for meat with bones in, such as . This is certainly cheap, and the bones are supposed to improve the flavour. However, then you will be faced with a curry with bones in. The temptation is to pick them up and knaw them, and I don't see why not. However, lamb chump chops cut into chunks makes an easier meal to eat. You can also use or I suppose any other meat, but this is moving away from Rogan Josh.
- A curry needs spices. I give quite a long list that I use, but I am lucky enough to have a shop which sells cheap spices by the 25 grams. You must have chilli of course, but a stew with just chilli in is not a curry. You can use ordinary curry powder, but then you have no control over the spices. I enjoy a rich mix of spices and only a little chilli, which is possible if you buy them separately. Apart from chilli, both ginger and pepper have a 'hot' sensation, in different ways. Ginger is perhaps warm rather than hot. Real curries should use fresh ginger, which needs to be peeled and ground into a paste. I must admit that I can't be bothered, and use ground ginger! Peppers can be used whole, as peppercorns. It depends if you enjoy biting into a peppercorn unexpectedly. Cumin has quite a pungent smell - it seems to me that this is what most curry powders smell of. The other ingredients have their own smells and taste, and some have other associations to a British palette. Ginger and cinnamon are connected with cakes and biscuits, cloves with apples, even cardamoms are used in Indian sweets. You can certainly experiment yourself to find the spices, and amounts of them, that you like. You can also buy spices as whole seeds or pods or even bark (cinnamon). These can be ground before use, and are supposed to be fresher that way. Or you can cook them whole, and try to fish them out before eating.
- Paprika is a spice, too, of course, but in this recipe its main purpose is to colour the curry a rich red. It has quite a mild taste and so you can use a couple of teaspoons to get the colour. If you leave it out, you'll find that the other spices will tend to make the curry look brown. The other colouring spices are turmeric and saffron. Saffron is incredibly expensive, and would be swamped in a curry like this. Tumeric is cheap, and a good yellow colour (if you want yellow rather than red) but when I use it, it tends to turn the whole kitchen (and me) yellow as well. I am rather a careless cook! Paprika is better behaved!
- This recipe uses yoghurt to thicken the curry. Some curries use coconut milk (which is easy to get in the foreign food section of supermarkets) to thicken them. Or you could use just water, of course.
- The original recipe used garlic, mashed into a paste with the ginger. Garlic is one of those ingredients that I never seem to have around when I want it. You can have a good curry without it, but by all means add it, if you're better organised than I am.
You can have extra garnishes for a curry. Shop-bought mango chutneys (usually mild) and lime pickle (which can be very hot) are good. You can just slice a banana - the smooth bland taste is excellent with the hot taste of the curry, and that's easy to do. I like an onion garnish. When you have put the curry in the oven, slice an onion very thinly, put salt and lemon juice on it (from a bottle is fine) and leave until the curry is cooked. I think you're supposed to add cayenne pepper. I added paprika instead. The main taste is the raw onion slightly pickled with the lemon juice and salt. You can pour off the lemon juice if it looks too sloppy.
- You can eat the curry with , or bread. Nan bread can be bought from supermarkets nowadays. You tear off pieces, and scoop up some curry with it.
- If you enjoy playing around with the spices in this recipe, then you can start making other curries. Strict Hindu curries are vegetarian, and vegetable curries are some of the best dishes to give vegetarians (as long as they like curry!) as you can create full-flavoured, interestingly food. Leave out the meat and use , or any other stew-type vegetables. You can also use tinned beans of different types. I particularly like chickpeas. You can even cook different curries with different vegetables in, varying the spices in each, perhaps making one hotter than another, adding yoghurt to one and not to another, and so create a vegetarian feast.
© Jo Edkins 2007 -