This lamb curry, commonly known as Rogan Josh, is made with vinegar-marinated lamb that’s gently cooked with tomatoes, Kashmiri chile pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, and fragrant spices. Easy and authentic and the best we’ve ever had.
Lamb Curry | Rogan Josh
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 40 M
- 3 H
- Serves 4
In a non-reactive bowl, combine the meat with the vinegar and salt. Rub well to fully coat the meat, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a large pot or Dutch oven over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons ghee or butter with the oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods, and cloves and let them sizzle for about 1 minute.
Stir in the onion, increase the heat slightly, and cook until it softens, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is tinged a light brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chile powder and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add half the tomatoes and juices and cook over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rest of the tomatoes and juices and continue to cook until the mixture resembles a thick paste and the oil separates, 11 to 15 minutes.
Drain any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl with the lamb. Add the lamb to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the lamb has been seared on all sides. Pour in the water and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Depending on the specific type and cut of lamb you choose, it could take somewhat longer for the lamb to become tender. (You could let the lamb curry cool, cover, and refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Then simply rewarm over low heat.)
In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon ghee or butter and gently cook the ground cardamom and nutmeg for 25 to 30 seconds. Pour the spiced butter over the meat and stir in half the chopped cilantro. Remove from the heat and garnish with the remaining cilantro.
Serve hot with plenty of rice or warm naan bread for sopping up the sauce.
*NOTE: Kashmiri Chile Powder Substitution
You can easily find Kashmiri chile powder online or in Indian and Middle Eastern markets. However, you can also make a quick substitution using everyday ingredients by relying on a ratio of either 2:1 or 3:1 sweet paprika to cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you fancy your chile powder.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is a rich dish! The spices are really well balanced, the heat level was just right, and the tomatoes brought just enough acidity to cut through the richness of the lamb and butter.
I trimmed the lamb well and between that and the vinegar soak, there was no gaminess at all to the finished dish. In fact, this would be a great dish to convert those people who think they don't like lamb!
I used 1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder.
I served it with naan bread and a red lentil dahl. There is a generous amount of delicious sauce and it would be great served over rice as well.
I would suggest using bundling the cloves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods in a little packet of cheese cloth for easy retrieval before serving. Biting into a whole clove could be a little overwhelming and they were hard to locate in the finished dish.
This easily served 6 along with the dahl, naan, and some fresh pickles and chutney.
I love lamb and pretty much any preparation of it. This lamb curry was delicious and hot but not too hot and the lamb wonderfully tender. I rarely make Indian dishes and I do not know much of the complex regional cuisines. Sometimes, though, I improvise a curry with leftover leg of lamb. The layering of spice here gives a far deeper flavor than any I’ve achieved with my rudimentary attempts, though it took a while longer to achieve that tenderness than the recipe indicates.
I used the substitution of a 3:1 ratio of sweet paprika to cayenne in place of the Kashmiri chile powder.
As the aroma of this Rogan Josh cooking wafted through my kitchen (so tantalizing!), it brought back sensory memories of the year I shared a kitchen with Indian students when I studied in England. Now I stood in my kitchen and daydreamed about how to make this dish with leftover leg of lamb. It’s certainly worth buying raw meat to execute the recipe, but the red chili sauce is the co-star here, and leftover meat should work with some adjustments.
I served this with white rice, green beans, and butternut squash roasted with warm spices including nutmeg, cayenne, and hot smoked paprika.