Citizens – I apologize profusely that I’ve been neglectful of daily postings the last 10 days! My recent jaunt to the Ultima Thule, the furthest North, has left me jetlagged and this lack of ardor on my part must and shall be fixed with alacrity!
Let’s get back into the posting groove with one of my favorite dishes and recipes, shall we? Rogan Josh is an aromatic mutton or lamb dish of Persian origin, though now identified with Indian cuisine.
Rogan (روغن) means “oil” in Persian, while Josh (جوش) means “heat, hot, boiling, or passionate”. “Rogan Josh” thus means cooked in oil at intense heat.
Another interpretation of the name Rogan Josh is derived from the word “Rogan” meaning “red color” (the same Indo-European root that is the source of the French “rouge” and the Spanish “rojo”) and “Josh” meaning passion or heat.
Rogan josh is a staple of Kashmiri cuisine and is one of the main dishes of the Kashmiri multicourse meal (the wazwan). The dish was originally brought to Kashmir by the Mughals, whose cuisine was, in turn, influenced by Persian cuisine.
The unrelenting summer heat of the Indian plains took the Mughals frequently to Kashmir, which has a cooler climate because of its elevation and latitude.
Rogan josh consists of pieces of lamb or mutton braised with a gravy flavored with garlic, ginger and aromatic spices (cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon), and in some versions incorporating onions or yogurt. After initial braising, the dish may be finished using the dampokhtak slow cooking technique.
Its characteristic deep red color traditionally comes from dried flowers or root of Alkanna tinctoria (ratan jot) and from liberal amounts of dried, deseeded Kashmiri chilies (lal mirch).
These chilies, whose flavor approximates that of paprika, are considerably milder than the typical dried cayenne pepper of Indian cuisine. The recipe’s spice emphasizes aroma rather than heat. Saffron is also part of some traditional recipes.
There are significant differences in preparation between the Hindu and Muslim dishes in Kashmir: Muslims use praan, a local form of shallot and petals of maval, the cockscomb flower, for coloring (and for its supposed “cooling” effect); Hindus eschew these, along with garlic and onions, but may add yogurt to give additional body and flavor.
Although the dish is from Jammu & Kashmir, it is a staple in British curry houses, whose menu is partly Bangladeshi cuisine, and is an example of dishes from the Subcontinent that got “co-opted” once they left the area (dosa as prepared in Glasgow is cited as a prime example).
My version of this classic recipe is laser-focused on authenticity and balanced flavor – I believe you, , will find it truly worthy of your next meal! 🙂 Try this with a delicious Indian rice pudding for dessert!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 2 1″ chunks fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups water or chicken stock (preferred)
- 10 tablespoons ghee
- 2 pounds boned lamb shoulder or leg — cut into 1″ cubes
- 10 whole cardamom pods, bruised
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 whole black cardamom pods (cracked open)
- 6 whole cloves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken into 4 pieces
- 2 medium onions, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed — ground
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds — ground
- 4 teaspoons red paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy salt, to taste
- 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon cornstarch (mix with yogurt to prevent curdling)
- ¼ teaspoon Hirshon garam masala
- 1 dash fresh ground pepper to taste
- Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well into a smooth paste.
- Heat ghee in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high flame. Brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside in a bowl. Put the cardamoms, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot ghee.
- Stir once and wait until cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color. This takes just a few seconds. Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown color.
- Put in ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, hing and the salt.
- Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the browned meat cubes and the meat juices. Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
- Now add 1 ¼ cups water or stock (JH prefers stock) and bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all the browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot.
- Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender. Every 10 minutes give the pot a good stir to prevent burning.
- When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the fire to medium high and boil off some of the liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened.
- Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the dish and mix them in just before you serve it.
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