Real Roghanjosh

May 1, 2013

Real Roghanjosh a la Chef Sudarshan

Real Roghanjosh a la Chef Sudarshan

You know the dish, you may not have tried it but surely you have seen it on Indian restaurant menus or heard of it. It is the piece de resistance of a Kashmiri Brahmin meal, the true test of a cook’s mettle. Not least because it is a lamb/mutton/meat dish which while spicy and rich is made without onions, garlic or shallots, unheard of in the rest of India. When properly cooked, Roghanjosh should not come swimming in gravy, rather it should have chikanai, i.e., the gravy should be thick and the oil should just glisten alongside, an effect achieved by simmering the dish covered in the end until the cooking oil and the fat from the meat rises to the top. Keep in mind that there should just be a little fat when all is said and done, the dish should not be drowned in it either. This is one instance where neither swimming nor drowning works!

This recipe is from my grandfather’s cook, he was justifiably a legend in his lifetime and the source of a lot of envy and emulation among those who knew us and him. My mother, having spent her adult life outside Kashmir as an Army officer’s wife, added chopped onions, and so do I, but you can leave them out in pursuit of perfect authenticity.

Real Roghanjosh  

2 TBSP Canola Oil

4 cloves

1 onion chopped

good pinch asafoetida or hing

3 lbs. top quality fresh lamb, a mixture of shoulder and lower shank cut into 3″ chunks

2 TBSP level (heaping if you can stand it) Red Cayenne Pepper

3 TBSP Plain whole milk yogurt

2 TBSP Ground fennel seed

1 TSP Ground ginger

Salt to taste

3-4 cups water

1 TSP crushed cardamon

1/4 TSP ground cinnamon or 1 medium sized cinnamon stick broken into a 2 or 3 pieces

1 TSP ground cumin.

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add cloves and onions and asafoetida stir for a second or two. Add meat and stir fry on medium heat until slightly brown in places. Add pepper and then yogurt in quick succession, a couple of seconds apart. Stir well, add the rest of the ingredients, stir again. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook on medium until meat is done, gravy thickens and oil rises to the top, stirring a couple of time towards the end when gravy thickens.

Some people add cardamon, cinnamon and cumin a few minutes before the dish is done, as a final garnish. I like to add the three along with the other ingredients, reserving a bit for the final garnish.

Serve hot on rice with a green as a side dish.

This recipe is adapted/modified from my book, Curries without Worries.

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