Lamb rogan josh is an ever-popular curry that is defined by soft and tender yoghurt-marinated meat in a boldly flavoured and spicy sauce.
My version of this recipe combines traditional North Indian and Pakistani influences with British Indian restaurant flavours.
Classic Rogan Josh Recipe
This recipe has many names, roghan josh or rogan gosht. I’ve even seen rogan gosh which gets a special mention simply because it makes me smile and reminds me of an old friend!
As far as I am concerned, Lamb or mutton is the perfect meat for a curry.
It has a big and bold flavour that holds up well to big spices and most importantly a really nice quantity and quality of fat.
That fat is the key to getting all of those complex flavours to meld together perfectly.
Generally speaking, spices are fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, which is why lamb curries like this lamb rogan josh are always smoother and rounder to the palate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I skip marinating the lamb?
You can if you wish but marinating in yoghurt is an old technique that helps both tenderise meat and add flavour.
It will, of course, make a difference on the flavour front, but it will not be night and day.
What sort of lamb should I buy?
I usually use some diced lamb shoulder for this recipe, although sometimes I make it with lamb neck fillet. Using lamb neck fillets needs an extra 30 minutes of cooking.
This recipe made with mutton is heavenly, everything remains the same, all you need to do is add twice as much water and simmer for 90 minutes.
Can I make this with chicken?
Yes although the timing is very different, fear not, I do have a chicken rogan josh ready waiting for you. Mainly because I’m the kinda cook who thinks chucking a piece of chicken in a sauce designed for lamb is all sorts of wrong.
Can I make this in advance?
Oh yes, like many curry dishes, this recipe improves with age, it is stunning after it has been sat in the fridge overnight.
It will be fine sat in the fridge for 2-3 days and will freeze for up to 3 months with no problems.
If I am adding rice then it is usually plain boiled or steamed rice, but a nice pilau rice is also always a solid choice.
But there are other additions that really work well with the richness of this lamb rogan josh.
The first is a good kachumber salad, it is essentially a salad of diced onion, tomato and cucumber with a citrus dressing, some sugar and coriander or mint.
Another thing that works really well is a lime pickle, a classic Indian side served with pappadoms but I love it stirred through curries.
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan or skillet with a lid.
- Stirring and serving spoons.
- Mixing bowl.
- Kicthen knife.
- Chopping board.
- Spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
- Weighing scales and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
My Lamb Rogan Josh recipe epitomises everything I love about Indian flavours, it is spicy hot with complex but harmonious flavours. The yoghurt marinade helps deliver the most beautifully soft and tender lamb without hiding the flavour!
- 400g (14 oz) Lamb
- 125ml (½ Cup) Natural Yoghurt
- 30g (Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Star Anise
- 6 Green Cardamom Pods
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Blade Mace
- 1 Tsp Black Pepper Corns
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- ½ Tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1-1½ Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- Cut the lamb into 2-2.5cm (¾-1") cubes.
- Take the yoghurt and use it to marinate the lamb for at least 8 hours and as long as 24 hours.
- Blitz together the ginger and garlic with a little water to form a paste.
- Stir half of this through the lamb and yoghurt mix. Do this a couple of hours before you cook or whilst you are preparing, a couple of hours gives the best flavour.
- Cut the onion into thin (2-3mm or ⅛") half-moon shapes.
- Add the cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cloves, mace and star anise to a dry pan 30cm or 12" frying pan or skillet.
- Toast them off over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes then grind them in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar.
- Reduce the heat in the pan to medium and add the cooking oil and when the oil is hot add in the ground spice mix and cook it off for 30 seconds.
- Add in the onions, ground cumin and ground cinnamon along with the remaining garlic and ginger paste
- Cook until golden brown, this should take 10-15 minutes.
- Throw in the lamb and the marinade to the pan along with the Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric and ground coriander and season with half of the salt.
- Cook for 10 minutes making sure you keep it moving as it will want to stick to the pan. This is normal and helps build flavour.
- After 10 minutes add in the tomato puree and 75ml (⅓ cup) of water and stir.
- Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 25 minutes adding more salt if required after 10 minutes of simmering.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 897Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 805mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 57g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.