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Lamb Rogan Josh: A Fiery Kashmiri Culinary Gem :


Lamb Rogan Josh is a quintessential dish that hails from the picturesque valleys of Kashmir, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich culinary traditions. This fiery red curry is a testament to the robust flavors that define Kashmiri cuisine, which is a harmonious blend of indigenous cooking techniques and influences from Persian, Afghan, and Central Asian cuisines. The name "Rogan Josh" is derived from the Persian words "rogan" meaning oil or clarified butter, and "josh" meaning intense heat. True to its name, the dish is characterized by its deep red color, achieved through the use of a generous amount of Kashmiri red chilies, and its rich, aromatic gravy that envelops tender pieces of lamb.

The history of Rogan Josh is as intriguing as its flavor profile. It is believed to have been introduced to Kashmir by the Mughals, who were avid patrons of the culinary arts. The Mughals, with their Persian heritage, brought with them a penchant for rich, spiced dishes, which they adapted to the local ingredients available in the Kashmir Valley. Over time, Rogan Josh evolved to become a signature dish of Kashmiri cuisine, with each household having its own unique take on the recipe.

Despite its fiery reputation, Rogan Josh is not just about the heat. The dish is a delicate balance of flavors, with the spiciness being complemented by the sweetness of the onions and the aromatic notes of garam masala, a blend of warming spices that is central to Indian cooking. The use of yogurt in the gravy not only adds to the creaminess but also helps to temper the heat, making the dish accessible to a wide range of palates.

Recipe for Lamb Rogan Josh:


  • 1 kg lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 cups yogurt, whisked until smooth

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

  • 2 tablespoons Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 4-5 cloves

  • 2-3 green cardamom pods

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt to taste

  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Marinate the Lamb: In a large bowl, combine the lamb pieces with the yogurt, 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

  2. Prepare the Masala: Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it turns golden brown. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another minute until the raw smell disappears.

  3. Add the Spices: Stir in the remaining Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, and cumin. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant.

  4. Cook the Lamb: Add the marinated lamb along with the marinade to the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat changes color and the moisture from the yogurt has evaporated.

  5. Simmer the Gravy: Add enough water to cover the lamb (about 3-4 cups), along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender. Check occasionally and add more water if the gravy becomes too thick before the lamb is cooked.

  6. Final Touches: Once the lamb is tender, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. If the gravy is too thin, increase the heat and let it simmer uncovered to reduce to your desired consistency.

  7. Garnish and Serve: Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve hot with steamed rice or Indian bread like naan or roti.


Lamb Rogan Josh is more than just a dish; it's a journey through the rich tapestry of Kashmiri culinary heritage. Each spoonful tells a story of the land where it originated, a land where the mountains meet the sky and the flavors of the earth meld with the spices of distant lands. This recipe is a humble attempt to capture the essence of that heritage, inviting you to experience the warmth and hospitality of Kashmir with every fiery, aromatic bite.

For visual guidance, I recommend searching for "Lamb Rogan Josh" on a recipe website or in a cookbook that includes pictures. Visuals can greatly enhance the cooking experience, providing you with a clearer idea of the texture and color of the dish at each stage of preparation.

Enjoy your culinary adventure with Lamb Rogan Josh, and may it bring warmth and joy to your table!