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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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly April 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

INDIAN FOOD. so it truly baffles me why we have not gone on an Indian food eating adventure yet together. seriously. perhaps post 1/2 mary?

i love the looks of this dish – i actually don't think i have tried rogan josh, but anything with yogurt is good in my book.

have a great day love!


sarah @ syrupandhoney April 6, 2010 at 9:05 am

I'm digging Indian food right now but am new to it – this dish sounds amazing! I'm also currently obsessed with goats milk cheeses.


Janetha April 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

YUM!!! i love me some indian food. that is awesome that you are so fab at fixing it up yourself. i am with you on the indian boat. delicious. xoxo


insideiamdancing April 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

I love Indian food so much! And Chinese. Oh, and Italian. And sandwiches…and Middle eastern. Um, can I just say that I love all food?!


elise April 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

mmm…indian food. i agree. minus the meat of course. ive never tried lamb, so you can enjoy my share.


Susan April 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Thank you for posting a yummy Indian recipe!! I am so lost when it comes to Indian food, but every time I go out to eat it I say "I need to make this at home." Lamb shoulder frightens me though! Still overcoming some meat fears…

Greek and Lebanese rock my boat Big Time. Hummus, pita, grape leaves, cabbage rolls, moussaka…drool…


Justine April 7, 2010 at 7:28 am

I love a spicy curry or just a really good piece of toast. There is something about toast….OH, and beans. Any way you can think to serve them.

That is a beautiful curry, by the way! I would go for adapting it further to make it vegetarian. My boyfriend would be most thankful. :)


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