Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh

Slow cooked lamb curry with ginger, chilli, yoghurt and saffron

Lamb Rogan Josh (2)

Eating Rogan Josh as a 9yr old in a typical Kashmiri household with Indian bread on the side to scoop out the thick gravy has been one of my fondest food memories. The host for the meal (Mr Mamoon was the manager of the hotel we stayed at) invited my parent over to sample a traditional kashmiri meal at his family home in Pahalgam. ‘Zafrani Rogan Josh’ – as I happily tucked into it; little did I realise that even today the flavours would linger on my taste buds.

It’s a dish I know most people living in India & UK absolutely love and one I can assure you gets ordered time and time again in your local Indian. But I think after sampling various different versions of it, it’s fair to say nothing comes close to what I ate in Kashmir. But then again I wouldn’t expect it to, some food memories are better left untouched for it’s those that you remember dearly.

As always my food journey of testing, sampling and cooking recipes continues to evolve. A few years back on one of my yearly visits to India my mother’s childhood friend shared this recipe with us. It was scribbled on a small piece of paper with absolutely no measurements and just had notes saying ‘a bit of this or a touch of that’. I couldn’t wait to try it out for the family once I got back home, though nervously hoping that I would get all the proportions right even though there weren’t any on the piece of paper! It’s been a triumph and one that has stayed with me for 6 years now. I have cooked it so often and relish it every single time. What stands out for me in the recipe is its simplicity but more importantly eating it takes me back to when I first sampled it as a young girl.

The list of ingredients in my recipe is small (relatively – I love that!) but those with a very distant flavour. In the olden days it was said that ‘Ratan jog’ was used in the dish. A herb from the region of Kashmir; ground down to a powder which is where the dish gets its vibrant red colour. As an alternative, I would most certainly recommend getting hold of Kashmiri chilli powder which lends a beautiful red tinge to the sauce that coats the meat but isn’t very high on heat. If you are using regular chilli powder ½ tsp should be good though if you prefer a hot curry add a touch more. Also the addition of saffron lends to the appearance. Traditionally in India they would use goat meat though boneless lamb from the shoulder would be a perfect alternative.


  1. For the marinade, whisk together the ginger paste, Greek yoghurt and Kashmiri chilli powder. Add the lamb to the dish, coating all pieces well marinate for 2-3 hrs or even overnight. Grind all the spice powder ingredients in a coffee grinder and set aside

  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a heavy based sauce pan; add the asafoetida letting it sizzle for 20-30 seconds. Add the meat along with its marinade and cook for 40 minutes sealing and browning the pieces all over. Make sure to stir continuously and scrap off the bottom of the pan to prevent it stickingLamb Rogan Josh (3)

  3. Add the spice powder stirring to mix in well cooking for 3-4 minutes. At this stage, also add the saffron water along with the strands. Add a touch more water only if required or you feel it’s too dry. Lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15-17 minutes until the lamb is tender and cooked all the way through

  4. Garnish with fresh coriander and season to taste. Serve with your favourite Indian bread or pulao

  • Saman Hosseini

    Maunika, do you have a rule of thumb for translating 1″ of ginger to tsp? Likewise cloves of garlic? And in this case if i was blending/grinding my own garam masala, how much would this recipe require in tsps? Thanks

    • Katie Egervari

      With things like garlic and ginger, you do not have to be super precise – it’s not like she’s listing it in grams where you can weigh every piece of grated ginger accurately. Simply measure a piece of ginger to 1 inch, peel it and grate or mash it as the recipe says. I would say as long you’re not adding 3x the ginger to a dish than what it calls for, you’re likely not going to notice that something is off or wrong.

      Same goes for garlic – and many people do like even more garlic than a recipe calls for honestly, so the amount of garlic can even become subjective, which is why so many variations on these dishes exist.

      You could grate ginger until you arrive at 1 teaspoon… but this won’t really be much more accurate, as I bet if you did this 5 times, the weight of the grated ginger would be different in all 5 cases. Weighting is actually the only way to measure this, but that is not how people from India cook these dishes, and so you shouldn’t either honestly.

  • Eleanor

    This looks delicious. How many does this recipe serve?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      3-4! Hope you enjoy it:)

  • Arup

    I noticed you did not use onions as ingredients when everyone using it as main ingredient .,, so which one is authentic recipe? Yours or others ?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Traditional rogan josh from Kashmir is not cooked with onions although there are many recipes that have been adapted and tailor made for a global audience using it. Eg. Ratanjog is used for flavour and colour in the original classic recipe which is widely available in the north of India although in modern recipes saffron is substituted to add that depth of colour. As a website we convey how Indian dishes are cooked in communities across India with a thread of authenticity running through it. Hope you enjoy the recipes!

  • Simon

    Kashmiri Rogan Josh has been spoiled by many Indian chefs. This recipe seems fairly authentic. Even throughout India there are many restaurants who make a lamb/mutton curry and label it rogan josh. Authentic rogan josh uses no tomatoes or onions. I’ve also seen people use garlic and ginger powder.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you:)

    • Prabhav lamba

      In kashmir there 2 comunities hindus and muslims the rogan josh you are talking about is made by kashmiri hindus or Kashmiri pandits and kashmiri muslims used to add onion also as well as ginger garlic

  • James

    When you say 1cm cinnamon stick is that length or diameter?

  • Jenna Rao

    Could I add tomatoes and onions to this recipe and if so, at what stage of the cooking process would you do so?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Before you add the marinated lamb add the onions and fry. Although give them enough time to fry depending on quantity you are using!

  • EarzFish

    But how much water?

  • Íde Corley

    I made this with organic beef as my grocer was out of lamb and it was amazing, so warming and aromatic! And incredibly quick and easy to make! You’re a wizard, Maunika. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Lovely to hear this!:)

  • Bella Alger

    I don’t know how I feel about this recipe. Just made it tonight. I like it, but then I don’t. It might be because I am so used to the mainstream curries in restaurants. I’m waiting for my husband to get home and taste it. He comes from a Bengali background so if he likes it, then I stand by it. Will update soon.

  • Sharon

    Can you make this in a pressure cooker? Mutton (goat) falls off the bone after it’s cooked in a pressure cooker. If yes, how many whistles etc

  • Joe Finn

    No garam masala.

  • Inga Kamutzki

    I cannot recommend to marinate the meat overnight, I just trashed 2 kilos of lamb. I guess it’s the acidity of the yoghurt that kind of dissolved the exterior layer of the meat when trying to brown it. This ended up with a pan of 50 % meat mash and 50 % unappetizingly half shredded looking meat pieces with an akwardly soft and fibrous texture. It smelled great, but it looked like dog food and the texture was a disaster.

    Most other recipes I have seen add the yoghurt at a later point in the cooking process, this is what I will try next time. Sorry to say but this is already the second recipe from this site that is not working for me as it should.

  • Jinali Patel

    How much water/safforn should i use, how does it for a rich curry sauce if no tomotoes are used?

    • Jinali Patel

      Also can i use Garam Masala?

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