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.
Also known as Rogan Josh, this lamb curry is gently simmered in a chile-spiked tomato sauce fragrant with spice. It’s from the Kashmir region, which is the namesake for the vibrant red Kashmiri chile peppers which pack a complex yet not incendiary heat. There are as many variations on this Indian lamb curry as there are home cooks in the region, although our testers are calling it “the best they’ve ever tried.” It’s THAT good.–Angie Zoobkoff
Lamb Curry | Rogan Josh
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 40 M
- 3 H
- Serves 4
- 1 1/2 pounds boned leg of lamb, trimmed of any visible fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 4 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter (2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil or light olive oil
- 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods, preferably black cardamom, bruised
- 5 cloves
- 1 large onion (about 9 ounces), finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely grated garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Kashmiri chile powder*
- One (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- Rice, preferably basmati, or naan bread, for serving
- 1. 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.
- 2. 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.
- 3. 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.
- 4. 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.
- 5. 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.)
- 6. 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.
- 7. Serve hot with plenty of rice or warm naan bread for sopping up the sauce.
*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.