Rogan Josh from Kashmir
Rogan Josh: Just like the biryani, this is another royal Indian dish, believed to be introduced in India by the Mughals. In Persian, the word “rogan josh” means something which is boiling, hot and red in colour. Rogan josh is a signature dish in Kashmiri (Wazwani) cuisine and probably, one of the finest meat dishes in India!
Kashmir takes its cuisine very seriously. In fact, I have heard many Kashmiris saying that they regard cooking as a form of art and it is almost like their second religion!
Rogan Josh: Nuances in the Making
The authentic Kashmiri cooks (called wazas) have perfected signature Kashmiri dishes, such as the rogan josh, with their skills and experience. For them, rogan josh is not just a dish, but an extension of their culinary skills in its epitome!
- The oil to be used in making an authentic rogan josh is mustard oil. You can replace mustard oil with a mixture of plain oil and ghee in case mustard oil is not available.
- Use the freshest and best-quality mutton (meat of a male goat) for this dish. The shank or the shoulder of a male goat have the most succulent meat and are preferred highly in many Indian mutton preparations. The size of the meat pieces should be medium (chopped roughly into two-inch-sized pieces), so that the flavours percolate down the meat very well. Mutton can be replaced with lamb meat. Please note that the meat is never marinated in the traditional rogan josh preparation.
- Tomatoes should never be used to prepare rogan josh. The rich red colour is only attributed to the addition of an indispensable ingredient in this authentic Wazwani (Kashmiri) dish: Kashmiri red chilli powder, which imparts a gorgeous red colour and is mildly hot compared to other red chilli powder varieties. To reduce the hotness even further and to get the same, rich colour in your rogan josh, you can mix equal quantities of Kashmiri red chilli powder and paprika.
- The Hindus of Kashmir do not use any onion or garlic in this dish, but use yogurt or curd, fennel powder and asafoetida to impart richness. For making the same curry, the Kashmiri Muslims, however, use onions and a special ingredient called maval/mawal, described next.
- An ingredient called “rattan jyot/ratan jot or maval/mawal”, which is actually dried cockscomb flower, is traditionally added to the dish (for a deep red colour) at the end by boiling it with equal quantity of water. In addition, saffron dissolved in a little milk is added to give it a subtle enrichment in its flavour. But don’t worry if you don’t get these ingredients: your rogan josh will still taste very good without them.
A word about Indian chillies
Just like Mexican and Korean cuisines, Indian cuisine also involves extensive use of chillies. Interestingly, some kinds of chillies are not hot, but just add flavor and colour to a particular dish! Indian cooking is an exemplary of the use of chillies in varied ways to impart distinct tastes and colours. There are a number of dry red chilli (sookhi laal/lal mirch) varieties used in Indian cooking, the prominent ones being the Kashmiri red chillies, the “fake” Kashmiri red chillies ( called dubby), single reshampatti, double reshampatti, yellowish red chillies, byadgi, Goan small and pointed red chillies, Guntur red chillies and Nellore red chillies. The good news is that, rogan josh demands the use of Kashmiri red chilli powder, which is just mildly hot!
The traditional Kashmiri Muslim banquet: Wazwan
A feast just fit for kings, Wazwan is a grandiose of different kinds of meat preparations and delicacies (prepared traditionally by master chefs called waza). Comprising of almost 36 courses (salute to the royal Kashmiri appetite!), more than half of the Wazwan dishes are meat-based. Traditional Wazwan meal is generally served in group of four, where people sit together and eat from one huge plate! Wazwan, which involves hours of hard work, is an example of Kashmiri hospitality, in which the guest in the house is served the first with an array of delicacies!
A traditional Wazwani dinner at a Kashmiri household or restaurant involves cleaning the hands with warm water (in a traditional vessel) before anything else. The delicacies include popular names, such as tabak maaz, rogan josh and rista, along with an assortment of kebabs and vegetable preparations. Finally, another unparalleled meat dish called gushtaba is served, before moving on to the dessert. Phirni is the common dessert cooked here, with rice and milk as the main ingredients. Last but not the least, the Wazwan is never complete without a cup of warm kahwah tea!
In Kashmiri cuisine, the use of curd or unsweetened yogurt (dahi) is very common, as are asafoetida (hing), aniseed (saunf), Kashmiri red chillies, saffron, dry fruits, nuts and dry ginger (saunth)!
Rogan Josh from Kashmir
[Note: This recipe is an amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim ways of cooking traditional rogan josh. That is why, both onion and curd are used together. Also, I have replaced exotic ingredients, such as ratan jot, to make it compliant with the global palate.]
- Mutton of a young goat (cut into two-inch-sized pieces, along with bones): 1 kg
- Garlic cloves (finely chopped): 4
- Kashmiri chilli powder (available in Indian superstores): 2.5 tsp
- Curd or unsweetened yogurt: ½ cup
- Shallots (chopped): 250 g
- Mustard oil or a 1:1 combination of any light oil (except olive oil and groundnut oil) and ghee: ¼ cup
- Cloves: 4
- Large, black cardamoms: 2
- Green cardamoms: 5
- Cinnamon: 1-inch stick
- Bay leaf (dried): 1
- Mace: 1 blade
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Fennel powder: 1 tsp
- Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
- Salt (according to taste): 1.5 tsp
- Water: 4.5 cups
- Warm milk: 4 tbsp
- Saffron strands: 8
- Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
- Coriander leaves (chopped): to garnish
Boil the mutton along with the bones with the garlic, half the salt and water, till the mutton is half done. Remove from heat and strain the stock. Keep the boiled meat aside.
- Whisk the curd properly with 3 tbsp water and set aside.
- Mix the saffron with warm milk and keep aside.
- Fry the shallots in oil, till it is just light brown. Add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms and the mace and fry for 1 min.
Add the coriander, ginger, fennel and turmeric powders dissolved in a little (around 5 tbsp) of the reserved mutton broth. Lower the heat and add the curd to this and stir continuously to avoid the curd getting lumpy (that is why, while whisking, water is always added to the curd).
After 5 min, add the boiled meat. Sauté for about 15 min, till the liquid almost evaporates and the sauce coats the mutton well. Add the remaining salt, garam masala powder and the mutton stock and stir thoroughly.
Add the chilli powder, cover and boil for 15 more minutes, or till the mutton is soft, yet chewy and the gravy looks thick and creamy. Add the saffron-milk mixture and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with pulav, steamed rice, roti or naan.
December 2, 2011 @ 12:25 pm
Wow! great post – so informative!
This looks so delish!
Food, Fun and Life in the Charente
December 2, 2011 @ 1:27 pm
My husband would love this recipe, thanks. Diane
December 2, 2011 @ 1:41 pm
Goodness, I wish I was sitting in your kitchen right now! Wonderful to have the history…36 dishes, eh?
December 2, 2011 @ 1:52 pm
yum yum…am drooling dear…..love it!
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Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny
December 2, 2011 @ 2:49 pm
What an interesting dish, this looks delicious! Feel free to stop by my blog and check out the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway going on right now! xoxo
December 2, 2011 @ 3:19 pm
What a unique dish! Can’t wait to try it.
December 2, 2011 @ 4:06 pm
very flavourful curry
December 2, 2011 @ 5:26 pm
Simply mesmerizing and yummy looking rogan josh. Awesome preparation.
December 2, 2011 @ 6:51 pm
Wow! I have to try this immediately!
December 2, 2011 @ 10:35 pm
Wow, thanks for this post Purabi – I often wonder about the meaning behind such names of dishes… I loved reading about rogan josh. I learned so much.. wazwani… no onions… all these things I never knew 🙂 It looks delicious too!
December 2, 2011 @ 11:26 pm
Thanks for the information so I get to know more about this traditional Indian dish.
December 3, 2011 @ 3:46 am
Purabi, I love that you used jewelry in these photos — the tiny flecks of color in the 2nd to last photo (Rogan josh in process) look like you sprinkled jewels from the bracelets into the pan! No wonder this dish is befitting of royalty or special guests… a rich history and fascinating flavors!
December 3, 2011 @ 1:23 pm
Wow what a flavorful dish Purabi. The ingredients sounds wonderful and your description of this dish is so informative.
I’ve never had Mutton and I’m not familiar with asafatida but would like to attempt this dish someday. Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing.
December 3, 2011 @ 2:34 pm
Great goat dish! I’ve only recently started eating goat and its always either jerked or in a roti. This looks like an awesome alternative! Buzzed 🙂
December 3, 2011 @ 10:59 pm
Gorgeously rich recipe, will try it with lamb soon!
Could you explain what rista is? it a kind of pasta? Rishda in Libya is a pre-italian (we are always told colonialism introduced us to pasta) fresh pasta, eggless and cooked by steaming it
I know a lot of the pasta dishes (itriya/rishda) that filled medieval arab cookbooks was shared with persian cuisine and came from asia (probably china) originally…seems from your vivid description that Kashmiri cuisine might have a similar dishes
I even recognize the seating arrangements from Libyan feasts eg weddings (4 eat from a communal maq’aad as we call it, and they wash their hands before and after when a son of the family brings round a pitcher and bowl) and 1 dish you mention has an arabic name
Thanks for the recipe and even more for the evocative description!
December 4, 2011 @ 10:23 am
Thank you, all, for your motivating comments. I loved reading the fact that all of you appreciated Kashmiri Wazwani cuisine so much!
Libyan Food, Rista is a meatball curry, in which, the minced mutton/lamb meat is pounded well with a little ghee and made into flattened balls. These balls are then introduced into a boiling gravy. The red colour in rista is also attributed to the addition of the cockscomb flower which I described in my post. Saffron is also added in Rista for that unique taste that lingers!
Vicki, mutton is extrenely flavourful and tastes a bit like beef. I am sure you’ll like mutton, especially if you like Indian non-vegetarian curries, in which mutton curry has a huge number of variations. The Indian royal rice dish called “biryani” is commonly cooked with mutton!
Reem | Simply Reem
December 4, 2011 @ 9:56 pm
Wow, This looks good….
I loved reading the post too…
December 5, 2011 @ 2:09 am
Hi Purabi! What an amazing dish! How wonderful that this is so identifiable with a culture and is considered an art form! Your explanation of the different features, ingredients and spices of the dish was very informative and I felt like I was given a culinary tour! I’ve never tried mutton, but I think I may have to! Thanks and beautifully done – as always!
December 5, 2011 @ 4:11 am
Yummy and beautiful presentation.
December 5, 2011 @ 6:53 am
I’ve enjoyed reading your post & thks for introducing me to this dish 🙂
Purabi, would love to have you try out my recipes & join me @ Promote Your Blog @ Shirley’s Luxury Haven! DIY This X’mas With 12 Lovely Recipes! Happy Holidays!
December 6, 2011 @ 5:37 pm
Terrific post! I love this dish, and your write-up is one of the best I’ve seen. In most US restaurants, they use lamb instead of goat. The goat sounds better (it’s not a typical supermarket staple in the US but many specialty markets carry it). Really nice – thanks so much.
Nami | Just One Cookbook
December 7, 2011 @ 6:30 am
There are chilies that are not spicy?? I probably need to check them out. 😉 You always explain the dish in such details that people like me who are not familiar with the Indian cuisines can learn A LOT from your posts. Your food styling is lovely with bangles! They look so pretty and your dish looks delish!
December 7, 2011 @ 2:17 pm
Thank you, everyone, for such yummy comments!
Kitchen Riffs, your comment really made my day. Thank you for your appreciation. Goat meat is really something to go crazy about! It is chewy and juicy at the same time! Indian mutton curries are a rage all over the world!! Baby male goat is preferred for such curries.
Nami, yes dear, there are chillies which will only add colour and no hotness! Thanks for your motivating words. Yes, I try to explain Indian cuisine in a detailed way, so that every culture understands the beauty of the cuisine. I am glad that you liked my photography!
December 7, 2011 @ 3:39 pm
very informative post. I had heard about this dish, and I am finaly pleased to see an authentic recipe on your blog. I have bookmarked it.
December 7, 2011 @ 5:09 pm
Just one look at this exquisite dish makes it clear why it was made for Royals. I really like the authenticity of this recipe and the method photos are great.
December 8, 2011 @ 3:43 pm
This is making me very very hungry and oddly craving the curry I was planning to make tonight lol
Thanks for your wonderful comment and yes I do have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/teawithme
Fern @ To Food with Love
December 9, 2011 @ 12:25 am
Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier 🙂
You’ve got one amazing blog and I can tell how much time and effort you put into it. I’m so impressed! Excellent post on rogan josh and beautiful styling and photos!
December 10, 2011 @ 7:11 am
Thanks, all, for your comments. Loved your views. Wazwani cuisine is very rich! I’ll definitely try to share some more interesting Kashmiri recipes with you all!
Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane
December 10, 2011 @ 11:39 am
One of my friends is Hindu, the other is Muslim. Now I can make them both happy with this dish 😀
Gursahiba @ ExquisiteNiche
December 19, 2011 @ 9:42 am
i really like rogan josh. Its nice you are using kasmiri chilli in this. It turns out great flavors. will try this!
December 27, 2011 @ 5:30 pm
Interesting dish, very interesting..and I have to say I love how tasty it sound! Thanks for sharing sweetie, and have yourself Happy New Year!!! Best wishing!
December 29, 2011 @ 2:03 pm
Thank you, dear readers, for your valuable and interesting comments. Looking forward to sharing more Kashmiri Wazwani recipes with you all!
May 11, 2012 @ 8:16 pm
Wonderful recipe! I am not quite sure where to buy goat here, but one could probably use lamb or beef, right? The stew looks amazing!
July 30, 2013 @ 9:46 am
Goat is leaner , and tougher than lamb with a more gamey taste. Goat cooks longer and therefore absorbs spices better than lamb. You might get away with lamb if you use the tougher cuts of meat. Good luck.