lamb rogan josh

April 5, 2010

There are some foods that just chime with you for one reason or another. I know a lot of people for whom mexican food is something of an obsession. I get borderline-crazy about cheese. Whether it’s one specific type of food or a whole cuisine, certain things just rock certain boats.

My boat is constantly being rocked by Indian food. I have always loved it but before it was in more of a lazy, there-are-a-thousand-good-curry-houses-on-my-doorstep kind of way. Then I moved stateside, and while you can definitely find good Indian food here, it doesn’t abound in the same way that it does at home. So, what’s a girl to do? Give up? HELL no. Start trying to make it herself? Sure, why not.

If you aren’t that familiar with Indian food or eating super spicy dishes, then rogan josh is an excellent place to start.

This dish originates from the kashmir region of northern India and is really popular in the U.K.

Lamb Rogan Josh
adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder, bones removed and cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • salt, to season
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • One 14-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Basmati rice and/or warm naan bread, for serving


  1. In a large pan or dutch oven, heat the oil. Season the lamb with salt and cook it over high heat for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is browned; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, curry, turmeric, cayenne and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato, yoghurt and water; bring to a boil. Season with salt.
  3. Return the lamb and any juices to the pan. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the lamb is very tender, 1 hour. Stir in the garam masala; cook for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with rice and naan.

The base for this particular recipe is tomato but there are variations. Yoghurt gives it a delicious richness and while it’s pretty spicy, it’s not overwhelmingly so.

Sometimes super spicy is what you want, but what I love about this is that the flavours of the lamb and the sauce can shine through because they aren’t being bullied out of the way by the heat.

What food are you borderline obsessed with or what really rocks your boat?
For me it’s cheese, Indian food, a healthy dose of Mexican… and nothing beats a good pizza and some carrot cake.

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