Whenever I mention the Indian dish rogan josh to my friend Stacey, I accidentally call it Josh Rogan, and she says, “Who? What?” because she knows it’s really called rogan josh.
They’re nothing alike. See for yourself.
Rogan josh (also: roghan josh) is a curry dish from Kashmir and is popular in India, Pakistan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. And now, my kitchen in Austin, Texas.
Where the devil is Kashmir? I’m glad you asked…
I’d never eaten rogan josh before I bought the seasoning at the Penzeys store last summer based solely on how incredibly enticing it smelled. Different cooks make their spice blend different ways, but generally, rogan josh includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, cumin, aniseed, saffron, fennel, and red chillies. The resulting curry is rich and creamy with plenty of depth, but not very much heat. Delicious, dino-chow comfort food.
Also, I’m not making any promises, but… “rogan” means oil in Persian and “josh” means heat, red, or… hell, yeah… passionate. Perhaps rogan josh is an aphrodisiac? I know it makes me feel good all over and it’s so delicious it makes me want to marry me.
Traditionally, rogan josh is made with lamb and yogurt, but I replaced the yogurt with coconut milk, and it worked great. You can substitute beef for the lamb if you prefer… and if you’re feeling particularly decadent, add sliced almonds to the sauce for added richness.
This recipe appears in my cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat — and below, because I like you.
Serves 6-8 | Prep 30 minutes | Cook 2 hours
Rogan Josh Spice Blend:
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
2 pounds lamb (stew meat, shoulder, or leg), cut into 1-inch cubes salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 cup coconut milk 1 1/4 cups water
Directions:1. In a small bowl, combine all the Rogan Josh spices and mix with a fork. In a large bowl, sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper, tossing with your hands to coat.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the lamb in batches and sear on all sides. Here’s a tip from me to you: Respect the contact. Put the meat in there and let it be for at least 5 minutes, so it gets a nice brown crust – resist the temptation to stir it. Give it some private time, and it will reward you for your generosity. (Do that with people and get the same result. Neat!)
3. When the meat is brown, add the chopped onions and cook until the onions begin to soften and show brown spots.
4. Add the Rogan Josh spice blend to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. The spices really come to life in the fat, so let them revel in it.
Pour the coconut milk and water into the pot. Mix well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, allowing the meat to braise in the coconut milk for 1-2 hours.
5. When time’s up, remove the lid and let the sauce thicken a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
This is great straight out of the pan, not that I would ever eat that way. Here are some other ideas for serving:
- over a pile of cauliflower fouscous
- next to a pile of fennel, sliced and sauteed with garlic and olive oil
- in a bowl, with sliced cucumbers and red or green pepper strips on the side
- atop a next of kale (or chard or spinach or beet tops), wilted and cooked with coconut oil and garlic
- accompanied by a side of mint chutney (scroll down at that link to get the chutney recipe)
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