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Rogan Josh

There are many different versions of this fiery dish from the Kashmir region of India (like those prepared by Hindu Brahmins, will preclude the use of onions, ginger and garlic) but they all share the deep red color that comes from adding the mild chili powder that is grown there.

Traditionally it would be made with goat mutton, but this recipe uses lamb shanks cut horizontally into three pieces. I prefer to use meat on the bone for this dish as the marrow helps thicken and adds a delicious gloss to the sauce.

Simon Majumdar's Rogan Josh Recipe

Rogan Josh Recipe

(Serves 4)


  • 4 Lamb Shanks (cut horizontally into three pieces – your butcher should be able to do this and many Indian stores will have this pre-cut already)

  • ½ Cup Plain Yogurt

  • 4 x Black Cardamom

  • 2 Bay Leaves

  • 5 Cloves

  • 1 Tsp Fennel Powder

  • 1 Tsp Ground Mace

  • 1 Tsp Asafoetida (You will see this sold as “hing” in Indian stores)

  • 1 Tsp Ginger Powder

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • 1 Tsp Sugar

  • 2 Tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder (this is a mild chili known for adding a deep red color. You can find it in any Indian store, but if not, use normal chili powder and reduce the amount to 1 tsp)

  • ½ Tsp Saffron Stalks

  • 2 White Onions (thin slices)

  • 2 Inches of Fresh Ginger (pureed)

  • 4 Cloves Garlic (Pureed)

  • 3 Serrano Chilies (De-seeded and Pureed)

  • Garlic (Pureed)

  • Vegetable Oil or Ghee

  • 2 Pints Water



  1. Heat the vegetable oil or ghee in a deep sided saucepan.

  2. Add the black cardamom, cloves and bay leaves.

  3. Once the whole spices begin to sizzle, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cook over a medium heat until they become golden brown.

  4. Add the ginger and cook for two minutes.

  5. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.

  6. Add the Serrano chili and cook for two minutes.

  7. Add all of the dry ground spices, the saffron, the salt and the sugar. Combine well with the onion mixture.

  8. Cook for three – four minutes on a gentle heat until you begin to see the oil split from the spices (this means they are cooked). If your mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, just add a splash of water. But not too much. You want the spices to fry not stew.

  9. Add the lamb shanks and to pan and toss well in the onion spice mixture.

  10. Add the water. Cover the pan and simmer for about one hour.

  11. After one hour, remove the lid of the pan and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy and the lamb meat is falling off the bone.

  12. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Combine well with the mixture and return to the heat, cooking gently for one minute. Take off the heat.

  13. Sprinkle the pan with a squirt of lemon juice and serve with white rice or Indian breads.

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