Mutton Rogan Josh is scrumptious delicacy from the Kashmiri cuisine distinguished by its thick, aromatic, flavourful red sauce and tender meat. Most people attribute this dish to the Kashmiri region but few say that it was actually introduced to the Kashmiri people by the Moghuls.
Rogan name translates to clarified butter or oil in Persian, referring to the way the meat and spices are cooked while Josh means fiery or hot referring the dish’s deep red colour. This is a wonderful type of lamb curry which is slowly cooked with a selection of fragrant spices, the most important being the ‘Kashmiri peppers’ as it gives a distinct red colour to the dish while keeping it milder compared to other Indian curries.
History states that this dish originated from Persia and was popularized by the Mughals in India. Despite its intense and vibrant red hue, this dish is not a fiery curry and remains a common and popular dish in northern India and popular menu item at most Indian restaurants.
This dish traditionally consists of lamb or goat meat which has been slow cooked in an amalgamation of yogurt and a mix of many flavourful spices. Due to the popularity of this dish and rarity of Kashmiri chillies, there are many versions where saffron, tomatoes and other types of chillies or paprika is used to achieve the Rogan Josh red colour.In spite of including a lot of spices, the dish is not really hot compared to others.
Mutton Rogan Josh is best paired with basmati rice or freshly baked naan. Rogan josh is creamy, rich, spicy, aromatic meat dish has its origin in Mughal cuisine, one of the largest Muslim influences on India. The authentic Kashmiri Rogan Josh curry is prepared with lamb or mutton shoulder, cooked to a tender, succulent texture in a gorgeously rich sauce packed with flavours.
Traditionally the dish is prepared in ghee, with the spices fried in fat to stimulate flavours and infuse the fat with the essence before adding other ingredients. Yogurt, the base for the sauce, gives a lovely tang together with the tomato while almonds adds texture, flavour and also thickens the sauce. The mild heat from the chilies and pepper too compliments the dish.
All in all, this dish has reminiscent flavours that we are to die for.For this glorious stupendous delicacy, guilty pleasure, serve rogan josh with any flat Indian bread like chappati, paratha, naan—the perfect choices for mopping up the rich gravy.
Importance of Kashmiri red chillies Whole dried Kashmiri red chillies is the best ingredient to flavour a variety of Indian dishes as the food get less spicy and emanates a rich and alluring colour. Most Indian recipes are necessarily pepped up with these aromatic chillies. Soaked red chillies are best used in gravies and dry dishes. They just need to soaked in hot water (remove the stems and seeds) and rested for 30 minutes, drain and use as per the requirement.
Though there are innumerable variety of red chillies in the market, the Kashmiri red chillies is always the best which have bright red colour with high retention. They are also less pungent in nature and having the ability to give a rich red colour to flavour Shahi gravies and curries. Kashmiri red chillies are added to various marinades and preparation for making veg and chicken dishes.
The roasted Kashmiri chillies have a unique and exotic aroma that spreads immediately when roasted on hot tawa or in oven. These chillies offer their best while making tomato sauces, soups, stews etc. Kashmiri red chillies contains good amount of vitamin C and vitamin A which is necessary to boost the immune system of the body. It has vitamins B and E which are ultimate source of low fat and low cholesterol.
Kashmiri cuisine History states that the modern Kashmiri cuisine were traced back to the 15th century invasion of India by Timur, and the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.
The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Wazwan is considered to be the ultimate formal banquet in Kashmiri comprising of a thirty-six course meal, out of which between fifteen to thirty are meat preparations cooked overnight by the master chefs and his assistance.
Traditionally the guest coming to the banquets are seated in groups of four sharing a large metal plated called the Trami. The trami is filled with heaps of rice, quartered with four seekh kebabs and contains pieces of methi korma, tabak maaz, safed murg and zafrani murg and first few courses.
The curd and chutney are served separately in small earthen pots. The other seven important dishes which are a must for these occasions are Rista, Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Daniwal Korma, Aab Gosht, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba. The meal ends with the Gushtaba. Other popular dishes from the Kashmiri cuisine are Yakhni, Lamb curry, Dum aloo, Kashmiri pulao, and Kahwa chai (Kashmiri green tea).
How to make Mutton Rogan Josh:
Mutton - 500 gms
Black cardamom - 4 nos
Cinnamon sticks - 4 pieces
Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Fennel seeds pd - ¼ tbsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Ginger powder - ½ tbsp
Green cardamom - 6 nos
Hing - pinch
Kashmiri red chillies pd - 1 ½ tbsp
Mace - 2 nos
Saffron - pinch
Salt - to taste
Turmeric (optional) - ¼ tsp
Take a bowl , add hing, Kashmiri chilli powder, ginger powder, fennel seed powder, water and mix the ingredients well. In a blender, add cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, mace, cumin seeds and grind to a coarse paste. Heat ghee in a pan and add black cardamom, meat pieces and cook over slow flame till meat is brown in colour.
Add mixture of Kashmiri chilli, saffron, water, salt and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 45 minutes till the meat is tender. In this add the masala powder, mix well and let it cook for 30 minutes. Serve with naan or basmati rice.
This curried dish is the master of flavours showcasing the fiery delights of authentic Kashmiri cuisine -- and the end result is well worth the time and efforts. So don’t be intimidated—there’s nothing really difficult about it, and it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. It’s an absolute comfort food and this can also be prepared a night before and simply re-heat, which somehow enhances the taste and flavour, making it a marvellous dish for a party.