Succulent pieces of Goat or Lamb braised in gravy flavored with aromatic spices like fennel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon & ginger. This dish gets it’s fiery red color from powdered Kashmiri chili peppers which have more color than heat.
Kacey from Rosauer’s Kitchen asked me if I had any goat meat recipes in my repertoire a few weeks back. She and her husband had raised a couple goat in their backyard, and now she had some goat meat in her freezer and she was craving a goat curry of sorts. Being Indian and having grown up in the Middle-East, I’ve eaten more goat in my life than beef and I miss that it is not as easily available here in the States, and hardly ever features on restaurant menus. So needless to say, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some fresh, home raised goat. Thanks Kacey!
In India, we refer to goat meat as “Mutton” and sheep meat as “Lamb”. So when you see mutton on the menu across the country, it is referring to goat meat. From what I gather, this isn’t technically the same terminology used here, where both ‘lamb’ and ‘mutton’ are sheep meat and the only distinction is the age of the sheep when processed. The meat from sheep under one year is called ‘Lamb’ and the meat of sheep older (usually 2-3 years) is called ‘Mutton’. Anyway whatever the technical terms are… goat, lamb, and mutton are all delicious and underrated meats here in the U.S. For this recipe, we used fresh raised Goat meat, but you can easily substitute with lamb or beef (although beef won’t have the same flavor, it’s still delicious). The dish we’re talking about today Rogan Josh hails from the Kashmir region of India, but was first introduced by the Mughals from Persia to the region. The word ‘Rogan’ literally means oil or clarified butter in Persian or ‘Red’ in Hindi, while ‘Josh’ in Hindi refers to passion- fiery or hot – so this dish is all about cooking in an oil-based sauce. Rogan Josh usually gets it’s vibrant red color from powdered Kashmiri Chili Peppers that pack a lot of color, but not as much heat. So although it seems like a red-hot spicy Indian curry,don’t let it’s appearance fool you… this dish is very flavorful and aromatic but it doesn’t generally pack a lot of heat.
There are also numerous versions of this dish. Some with or without garlic and onion where asafoetida (a plant resin of sorts) is used to imitate the flavor base of onion & garlic. The addition of yogurt is also debated as an optional part of this gravy, but is featured in most recipes of the dish. Some versions also use tomatoes to create more volume, although this really alters the flavor profile of the original dish. The main ingredients of this dish are commonly Kashmiri chili powder, fennel seed powder and powdered dry ginger. The other spices or garam masala as we call it and the ratios varies from recipe to recipe, cook to cook.
The method to cook this dish is rather simple though. It starts with frying whole spices in oil or ghee and then adding the onions and caramelizing them until golden. Then the garlic- ginger are added and the meat is browned with the aromatics. Lastly we added the powdered spices (mixed with water to form a paste, so they don’t burn and turn bitter) and whisked yogurt and the meat is cooked covered in it’s own juices until the oil starts separating on top. Then you can then either slow cook the meat (this is how it is traditionally cooked) until the meat is tender, or you can cheat and use a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) and expedite the cooking time to 20-30 mins instead. Both methods produce a delicious luscious gravy with tender pieces of meat.
Serve the curry with fragrant long-grain basmati rice or Naan or better still both!
- • 2 lbs mutton/meat (washed and cubed)
- • 2tbsp Ghee + 2 tbsp oil
- • 4-5 Shallots (finely sliced)
- • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- • 2 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- • 1- 1.5 tsp fennel powder
- • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
- • 1/2 cup yogurt (whisked well)
- • 1.25 cups water
- • pinch of saffron (optional)
- • salt - to taste
- • A handful of chopped coriander leaves, for garnish
- • 1" Cinnamon stick
- • 3 cloves
- • 3-4 green cardamom
- • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- • 1-2 Black Cardamoms
- • 1 bay leaf
- - Powder the whole spices/ garam masala (Cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom & Cumin Seeds) together excluding the black cardamom and bay leaf & set aside.
- - In another small bowl, add the Kashmiri Chilli powder, fennel seed powder and ginger powder with 1/4 cup of water and mix together.
- - In a heavy bottom pot, heat the ghee & oil on medium high then add the black cardamom & bay leaf to the oil.
- - Then add the sliced shallots and fry them on medium-low heat until they start caramelizing and turning golden brown. (This takes a good 8-10 minutes so be patient, but don't turn up the heat)
- - Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute or two.
- - Then add in the mutton (goat meat)/ lamb cubes and turn up the heat browning the meat well.
- - Once the meat is browned on all sides, add the Kashmiri chilli spices we mixed with water and fry it for 2-3 mins.
- -Stir in the whisked yogurt, a pinch of saffron (optional)and salt to taste. Cover and let the curry simmer on medium for 15 mins until the oil starts separating from the curry.
- - Once you see the oil start separating, add half of the powdered garam masala (whole spices) and add a cup of water to loosen the curry.
- - You can now transfer the curry to a pressure cooker(aka Instant pot) and cook on high for 8-10 mins then natural release the pressure. Or you can lower the heat, cover the pot and allow the curry to simmer for 45mins-60 mins until the meat gets tender.
- - Check to see if the meat is tender (if you're cooking bone-in the meat should be falling off the bone) & season with salt if needed. When it's melt-in-the mouth tender stir in the remaining garam masala powder and turn off the heat.
- - Garnish with a handful of chopped cilantro and serve with fragrant basmati rice or Naan.
- 1. Any cut of meat will work for this recipe, however, bone-in and shanks halved lend this dish the most flavor. I used a goat leg and while I cubed the meat, I added the bone in the pot for more flavor.
- 2Make sure to the whisk the yogurt before adding it to the pot, as this will help it not break and curdle.
- 3. Adding half the garam masala at the end helps gives the dish an added layer of flavor.