Margarita's International Recipes


Rogan Josh

Red Stew

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh, a dish of lamb cooked in a red curry, may be Kashmir's most famous dish. It's characterized by its deep red color which derives from a combination of Kashmiri chilis and alkanet, known in Urdu as ratanjot, a plant whose roots have traditionally been used as a red dye. As the plant does not change the flavor of the dish, modern cooks usually substitute it with red dye. I omitted it altogether and thus ended up with a less red curry.

There are two main versions of rogan josh the one cooked by Muslims includes shallots or onions and might include garlic, while the one cooked by Parsis and Hindus omits them altogether, using asafoetida instead. Within these categories there seem to be infinite versions. I decided on cooking this one as I was impressed by the amount of information the recipe writer gave about the dish, which suggested to me made it likely to be among the most authentic. I made the right choice. The curry was delicious and much better than any of the restaurant versions I've had throughout the years. The lamb, in particular, was impossibly soft and still retained its flavor.

The recipe below - which I actually doubled from the original - will serve two Americans when served with rice or bread. Double it if you want leftovers or have more to feed. The original recipe called for bone-in lamb. I used lamb shoulder, which I feel is the most succulent cut, but deboned it. The version below produces a medium-heat curry, add more Kashmiri chili if you want it hotter. The recipe calls for either water or lamb stock - I didn't have the latter, so I compromised and used a cup of chicken stock and a cup of water. I didn't want to add any chicken flavor, but wanted the complexity that stock adds to curries.

Serve with plain rice, chapati or naan bread.


Rogan Josh


  • 1 cup curd or plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Kashmiri chili powder or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp ground fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or 2" cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup ghee or Mustard oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 cloves
  • 6 green cardamon
  • 2 black cardamon
  • 2 lbs bone-in lamb shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 cups lamb stock or water


In a small bowl whisk together the curd, Kashmiri powder, ground fennel seed, salt and the ground ginger and cinnamon, if using. Set aside to rest at room temperature.

Heat the ghee in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves, cloves, green and black cardamon and cinnamon stick, if using, and fry for a few seconds. Add the lamb and sear for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. If using ginger paste, push lamb to one side, add ginger paste and cook for a minute before stirring. Continue searing for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the asafoetida and stir. Turn off the heat.

Gradually, stir in the yogurt mixture until well combined. Cover, turn heat back to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the broth or water, bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour (longer if using bone-in lamb). Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Adapted from Swasthi's recipe at Indian Healthy Recipes

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