One of the specialties of Kashmir, a northern region in India, is a rich and hearty spicy lamb stew: rogan josh. This delicious dish, of Persian origin, is cooked in a curry like sauce that is both spicy and aromatic. The name rogan josh comes from two Persian words: rogan which means oil and josh: heat. Some linguists debating on the origin of these words believe the word rogan is closer to the term “rouge” (red in French), or rojo (red in Spanish). Both assumptions make perfect sense to me given its reddish color.
The mixture of spices is what gives this amazing spicy lamb stew, rogan josh, its deep, rich, and aromatic taste. I used my home made garam masala, as well as other aromatic spices. I was able to buy cardamom pods at a local health food market, and found them to be reasonably priced. If you can’t find the pods, you can use ground cardamom, just add with caution because it has a very strong taste.
Rogan josh was borrowed by the Mughals from the Persians. The Mughals were the conquering forced that ruled India from about 1526-1853 with their power base located in the center of India. When the summer heat was at its most intense the Mughals escaped to the cooler climate of Kashmir. Until today rogan josh is the most important dish of this region.
Rogan josh is traditionally cooked using lamb, but you can certainly use beef as a substitute. I like to serve rogan josh with basmati rice, and naan bread. A side of plain yogurt is not a bad idea to cut down the heat of the dish.
Just as a side note, you can adapt this dish to be made in a slow cooker. I never have, but I don’t see why it would not be possible.
If you love spicy Indian foods or recipes with curry you can make at home, here are some easy ones to try:
Spicy chicken xacuti comes from the Goa region in the southwest coast of India and it’s spicy and sweet with coconut milk.
Here is a vegan recipe for tofu with sweet potatoes and other vegetables in a spicy curry tomato sauce.
One recipe you must try is the classic Punjabi dish of chicken tikka masala and this dish has a really interesting food history too.
If you are having an appetizer party you can try these kofta kari or spicy lamb meatballs with a tomato sauce and ground cashews.
Spicy Lamb Stew: Rogan Josh
A spicy, aromatic, and hearty lamb stew from the Kashmir region India and is of Persian origin. Rogan Josh is infused with the flavors of cardamom, ginger, garam masala, cloves, and cayenne pepper. A perfect dish for any occasion.
- 2 Tbsp. ginger fresh, minced
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
Optional: Cilantro and fresh chopped tomatoes for garnish.
- In a small bowl mash together the ginger, water, and garlic to create a thick paste.
Place cardamom pods, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick in a piece of cheesecloth and tie tightly with twine.
- In another small bowl, prepare the spice mixture by mixing together cumin, garam masala, coriander, cayenne and cinnamon.
- Heat oil in a large pot, add in the lamb cubes turning over to brown on all sides. Add the shallots, and cook until they are translucent. Sprinkle with salt and the spice mixture.
- Mix the tomato paste into the water until well blended. Add to the meat and bring to a boil. Add the aromatic bouquet, and the bay leaves.
- Reduce heat and cover. Cook for approximately 30 minutes covered on low.