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How to make Indian Rogan Josh

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This Indian rogan josh curry recipe creates a particularly mild and easy-to-eat dish. It’s often made with lamb (or the older version of mutton) and even goat, and the key is to tenderise the meat by covering it in yoghurt and spices. It hails from the northern regions of India. It is a delicious curry, full of flavour, that can be used as a base for many different proteins. Follow our simple recipe with step-by-step photos and video.

herbs and spices lamb rogan josh

Why this recipe works

There’s nothing quite like eating a curry that is made from scratch. The layers of flavour are built up to produce a curry that is delicious and free from ingredients and additives you don’t need.

Commercial curries are always full of salt not to mention other preservatives, so making your own is always best if you have the time.

Cooking Indian food is all about flavour. Key ingredients of garlic, ginger, turmeric and chillies are usually always present. A large proportion of the population in India is vegetarian, but I’m not a very good one, so I love a hearty meat curry.

Like all Indian curries, the same ingredients are used over and over, developing great flavours and complex layers. It also means that even though the recipe looks like it is complex, it’s actually not.

Related reading >> There are also many myths when it comes to making Indian food. You can read our article on 10 Indian food myths for more information.

Recipe ingredient notes (full recipe at bottom)

  • Lamb – We used lamb cut from a leg which gives a tender result with less cooking time. You can use lamb shoulder but as this is a secondary cut it will take longer to cook.
  • Yoghurt – We use Greek yoghurt. Whatever brand you use, be sure to get one that is as natural as possible. Do not use flavoured yoghurts. Plain, natural yoghurt is also fine. Coconut yoghurts can also be used but this will impart a coconut flavour which is not traditional in rogan josh.
  • The longer you can leave the lamb covered in the yoghurt in the fridge, the better the result.
  • Be gentle when roasting the spices and only do it until you can smell the fragrance coming from them. If you burn them, it’s best to throw them out and start again.
  • It’s not really traditional but I find adding a little stock to the mix before putting the lid on keeps it moist. This recipe is not over-laden with liquid and can be quite dry.
  • Spices- the ingredients are all commonly found in the supermarket or Indian grocery stores, with the exception of black cardamom which can be harder to find in a standard grocery store. Most Indian grocery stores should have this, however.
  • Garlic and ginger – we used fresh garlic and ginger but you can substitute them with bottled ingredients.
  • There are many variations to this rogan josh recipe. This version does not include tomatoes in the base.
all the ingredients for making rogan josh curry

Recipe steps

Step 1

Cut the lamb into one-inch cubes and put it into a bowl. Add the yoghurt and 1/2 of the salt and mix together. Make sure the yoghurt completely covers the lamb.

Leave in the fridge for at least ten minutes, but longer if you have time. The yoghurt helps to tenderise the lamb.

indian-rogan-josh-curry-recipe

Step 2

Using a large frying pan, heat the oil and the butter together over medium heat.

Step 3

Add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and roast until fragrant. Move the spices around the pan while they are cooking. Be careful not to burn them!

Step 4

Add the chopped onions and the remainder of the salt and cook over low-medium heat until the onions are brown and soft. Cook them slowly. It should take 10-15 minutes.

Step 5

Add the ginger and the garlic and mix through.

Step 6

Add the lamb mixture, chilli powder and turmeric to the onion mixture and combine. Cover the pan and cook until the lamb is tender. Because I used lamb leg, this only took about 20 minutes on a slow heat.

COOK’S TIP: It’s not really traditional but I find adding a little stock to the mix before putting the lid on keeps it moist. This recipe is not over-laden with liquid and can be quite dry.

indian-rogan-josh-curry-recipe

Step 7

To serve, add the chopped coriander (or parsley) and sprinkle some garam masala over the top. Mix it into the Rogan Josh.

Traditionally, Rogan Josh is served with rice, paratha or naan. For a healthier option, we served ours with pearl barley.

lamb rogan josh served

Step By Step Photos Above
Our recipes all have step-by-step photos, tips and FAQs listed above to allow you to make it as perfect as possible the first time.

lamb rogan josh served

Lamb Rogan Josh

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Make this simple lamb rogan josh curry from scratch at home with this simple recipe, instructions and video

Ingredients

  • 150g lamb*
  • 1/3 cup plain yoghurt**
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15ml vegetable oil
  • 15ml butter, melted
  • 1cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 2/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 tbsp ginger
  • 1/3 tbsp garlic
  • 2/3 tsp chilli powder

Instructions

  1. Cut the lamb into one-inch cubes and pout into a bowl. Add the yoghurt and 1/2 of the salt and mix together. Make sure the yoghurt completely covers the lamb.
  2. Leave in the fridge for at least ten minutes, but longer if you have time. The yoghurt helps to tenderise the lamb.
  3. Using a large frying pan, heat the oil and the butter together over medium heat.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and roast until fragrant. Move the spices around the pan whilst they are cooking. Be careful not to burn them!
  5. Add the chopped onions and the remainder of the salt and cook over low-medium heat until the onions are brown and soft. Cook them slowly. It should take 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the ginger and the garlic and mix through.
  7. Add the lamb mixture, chilli powder and turmeric to the onion mixture and combine. Cover the pan and cook until the lamb is tender. Because I used lamb leg, this only took about 20 minutes on a slow heat.
  8. To serve, add the chopped coriander (or parsley) and sprinkle some garam masala over the top. Mix it into the Rogan Josh.
  9. Traditionally, Rogan Josh is served with rice or paratha/naan. For a healthier option, we served ours with pearl barley.

Notes

  • Lamb - We used lamb cut from a leg which gives a tender result with less cooking time. You can use lamb shoulder but as this is a secondary cut it will take longer to cook.
  • Yoghurt - We use Greek yoghurt. Whatever brand you use, be sure to get one that is as natural as possible. Do not use flavoured yoghurts. Plain, natural yoghurt is also fine. Coconut yoghurts can also be used but this will impart a coconut flavour which is not traditional in rogan josh.
  • The longer you can leave the lamb covered in the yoghurt in the fridge, the better the result.
  • Be gentle when roasting the spices and only do it until you can smell the fragrance coming from them. If you burn them, it's best to throw them out and start again.
  • It's not really traditional but I find adding a little stock to the mix before putting the lid on keeps it moist. This recipe is not over-laden with liquid and can be quite dry.
  • Spices- the ingredients are all commonly found in the supermarket or Indian grocery stores, with the exception of black cardamom which can be harder to find in a standard grocery store. Most Indian grocery stores should have this, however.
  • Garlic and ginger - we used fresh garlic and ginger but you can substitute with bottled ingredients.
  • There are many variations to this rogan josh recipe. This version does not include tomatoes in the base.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 432mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g

    This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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