Rogan Josh: A Classic Kashmiri Recipe

Rogan Josh is a popular Kashmiri dish believed to have originated in Persia before making its way to Kashmir and then Northern India and beyond. In Persian, 'rogan' means clarified butter and 'josh' means hot or passionate). Its signature red color was historically the result of using mild red Kashmiri chillies. Over the years, many restaurants started using tomatoes in the dish to bring about the red color easily though it was never part of the original recipe. The Pilot team were inspired whilst watching this dish being made in Delhi at the Hotel Broadway in Chor Bazzar.

Rogan Josh: A Classic Kashmiri Recipe


Lamb – approx. 2 lbs of cubed lamb shoulder which is an ideal cut to use as it is slightly-fatty and imparts great flavor
Yogurt – enough to coat the lamb
2 White Onions – diced
Garlic – 8 cloves crushed and diced
Fresh ginger – thumb sized piece peeled and grated
2 fresh red chillies – deseeded, chopped

Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
Fennel powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Dried red chilies – 3/4 pounded
Cardamom pods (black and green if possible) – 3/4 of each, lightly crushed
Cinnamon stick – 2 left whole
Turmeric powder – a small tsp of each
Cloves – 3/4 whole
Peppercorns – 1 tsp crushed
Garam masala – a generous tsp
Asafoetida or Hing (pictured) – a pinch is used as digestive aid. Comes in the form of a dried gum derived (available in your local ethnic food shop)
Salt and pepper – to taste

To serve – lots of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) as a garnish and rice


Mix the garlic, ginger in a large bowl and add the turmeric, black pepper and yoghurt. Add the lamb and turn until it is fully coated. Allow to sit in the fridge for up to 1 day.

In a heavy bottomed pan heat the mustard oil over a low to medium heat to allow it to temper, then add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves. Remove when toasted brown and grind in a pestle and mortar. Return to the pan with more oil if required. Fry the chopped onion until translucent and add the remaining spices; chilies, fennel and garam masala.

Now put the lamb in the pan and be sure to scrape in all the ginger, garlic, yogurt and spices. You can add a little water if necessary to help build up a stock for the lamb to cook in.

Sautee the lamb for 30 minutes on a lower heat, this is the bhuna process that allows the spices to be fully absorbed by the meat and the juices and fat from the meat to release. The meat now has to simmer for 1 – 3 hours with the lid on which will allow more juices from the meat to form.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

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