India: Rogan Josh

In my house, the curries are almost exclusively made by Sean. It’s his thing. He’s devoted himself to exploring the world of curries, from a variety of cuisines, for the last couple of years and I leave him to it happily. It gives me a Sunday afternoon of knitting while he grinds spices and does all that other laborious prep that curries require.

And while it’s true that the prep for these dishes can be a bit laborious, the actual cooking time being so lengthy means that there’s plenty of time to sit around and relax while you wait for the meat to become meltingly tender and the spices to create the flavour. So it’s a great winter’s afternoon cooking method, I reckon.

When I announced I’d be making the curry this week Sean nearly fell of his chair. But just so he didn’t feel entirely pushed aside, I let him play sous chef.

I chose Rogan Josh – a Kashmiri lamb dish Sean has made regularly from his Madhur Jaffrey book, The Ultimate Curry Bible.

I gathered everything required and enjoyed the little bowls of spices; bay leaves, dried chillies, brown and green cardamom pods and so on. I swear that’s half the fun, putting it all together. Bay leaves, brown and green cardamom pods, turmeric and other usual suspects in Indian cooking. This didn’t turn out to be a terribly hot dish since it was whole dried chillies in the sauce and I never find they do more than add warmth, rather than heat, which is fine by me since a bit of kick is good but sometimes I just like flavour, rather than scorching.

This version of Rogan Josh requires 1kg of red onions. Geez that’s a tough job. Slicing that many onions is hardly fun but Sean assisted and we used the mandolin and it was over fairly quickly. What I loved was that cooking these onions down was the basis of the sauce. By the time they’d cooked for half an hour or so (probably longer because Sean had to duck to the shops part way through to get tomato paste) they were soon well on their way to look much more like sauce than onions.

We used a leg of lamb that Sean cubed. We always prefer to buy a leg because I save the bones in the freezer for stock, and it works out slightly cheaper.

An hour or so later, we had a lovely, rich Rogan Josh. Full of all the warmth and flavour you’d expect from a sauce with all those flavours, and a sweet onion and tomato based sauce.

I served it with a cabbage and tomato dish from Madhur Jaffrey and plain rice. Loved it.



9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. justthreadtwiddling
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 18:21:41

    I haven’t had curry more than twice. Its not something I think to prepare. It looks marvelous.


  2. vivzilla
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 18:35:50

    That looks delicious! I’m making a chicken pilau for dinner tonight which has also got a buttload of spices.


  3. 2paw
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 19:11:37

    I LOVE Rogan Josh!! It looks so delicious too. At our house, we call that Television Cooking: where you have lots of little bowls of ingredients!! Sean has a rival now!! Oh, did he knit while you cooked??


  4. Wen
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 19:32:56

    Sounds fabulous, I have that book but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I think it just went up on my reading list.


  5. Delly
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 19:52:21

    Looks fabulous Bells. It sounds delightful to make and something I will need to try myself. All those onions sound hard work – but worth the end result.

    I also like the sound of less heat – works for me!!


  6. David Hilyard
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 22:35:33

    This sounds great, Helen. And, yeah, I’m with you on the little bowls of stuff laid out as you prep. I always find it very satisfying to see those saucers of cloves, cardamon, and coriander waiting to be added to the mix.

    The onions would have become quite sweet after that slow cook …


  7. Jodi
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 11:28:37

    Oooh!!! Looks fantastic. Strangely — cooking Indian food at home is VERY far outside the box round here. But as the only really good Indian restaurant in Birmingham is well on the other side of town, I’m thinking this is an area I need to explore. Beyond a few rather runny pseudo curries, I’ve never had the guts, but I’m adding this to my list of “things to tackle next.” 🙂


  8. David Hilyard
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 01:35:00

    re onion chopping, Adele — your comment reminds me of the scene in “Julie & Julia” where Julia chops kilos of onions as practice for the Cordon Bleu school. A geat idea! And, at the end, you can make Elizabeth David’s French Onion Tart. The secret is to have a really sharp knife, and hold the onion properly. So the really sharp knife only cuts onions.


  9. Trackback: Josh delly | Shereesvoice

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