This Rogan Josh recipe is a beautiful red-colored, complex-flavored curry dish with Persian origins that’s a staple in Kashmiri cuisine.
I first made this dish at home after trying it at my favorite Indian restaurant back home in Buffalo. It was deep red in color with a rich flavor and complex aroma. The spiciness was prevalent, but mellowed out with nuttiness of basmati rice and cooling yogurt raita. It was perfect.
Rogan Josh Recipe (Kashmiri Rogan Josh – Red Curry with Meat)
The Mughals, whose cuisine had Persian influences, originally brought this delicious curry to Kashmir. Seeking relief from the summer heat in the Indian plains, the Mughals would travel to Kashmir, which was cooler. Along with them they brought knowledge of their favorite recipes. (Read more about the history of Rogan Josh on Wikipedia.)
Why is Rogan Josh Called That?
The origin of the name Rogan Josh is somewhat uncertain, as there are multiple reasonable etymologies. The first etymology explanation comes from the word roughan, which means “oil” or “clarified butter” in Persian and Urdu, along with the word juš or josh, meaning “to braise”. Rogan Josh would then mean “stewed in ghee”.
Another possible explanation for the origin of the name is that roghan comes from the Urdu word for “red” or “brown” or the Kashmiri word for “red”, as well as the word for “meat” (gošt or gosht). Rogan Josh would mean “red meat”. (Read more about the etymology of Rogan Josh on Wikipedia.)
What Does Rogan Josh Taste Like?
Rogan Josh is rich with clarified butter, aromatic with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, deep red in color because of paprika, and complex with a base flavor of onion, garlic, and ginger.
One of my favorite things about Rogan Josh is that because there’s quite a bit of paprika in it, it reminds me of Hungarian Goulash, which my mom cooked frequently when I was a kid. Because of this, even though I never tasted this curry until I was an adult, its taste always reminds me of my childhood.
Is Rogan Josh Spicy?
This is traditionally a relatively spicy-hot dish (it usually has about a medium spice level). When you’re ordering it at a restaurant you can ask for a milder spice level and some places are able to accommodate. However, when you make this dish at home it’s very easy to adjust the level of spicy heat.
Pro Tip: When you make this recipe, easily adjust the level of spicy heat by adding more or less cayenne pepper.
What is Rogan Josh Made Of?
Traditionally, authentic Rogan Josh contains red meat, usually lamb or goat. However, although it’s not traditional, I also make it with beef, which is quite delicious.
The meat is braised in an aromatic gravy containing garlic, ginger, and spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Kashmiri chilies, which have a flavor similar to paprika, give the dish its red color. I had trouble finding Kashmiri chili powder so I used a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne pepper to achieve a close simulation.
As with most regional food, different versions of Rogan Josh include different ingredients. Some recipes call for onion, shallot, and/or yogurt, and sometimes the spices vary. Additionally, some versions of this dish use saffron. However, note that tomatoes are not a traditional component of this dish.
Ingredients in This Recipe:
- Clarified butter (ghee)
- Beef, lamb, or goat
- Cardamom pods
- Bay leaves
- Whole cloves
- Sweet paprika
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Beef bone broth
What to Eat with Rogan Josh
My favorite way to enjoy this recipe is with Salad Shirazi, which is a salad comprised of the following:
- Diced cucumber, tomato, and onion
- Minced parsley
- Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar
- Seasoned with salt
- I also like to add pomegranate arils for sweet/tart flavor
- Additionally, you can switch it up by using different aromatics like fresh mint, chives, scallion, etc.
It makes a beautiful meal with exotic flair!
More Delicious Curry Recipes to Try:
- Indian-Spiced Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Palak Paneer
- Panang Curry Red Lentil Soup
- Indian Punjabi Samosas
- Authentic Chicken Vindaloo
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith
Rogan Josh Recipe (Kashmiri Red Curry with Meat)
- 2 tablespoons clarified butter ghee
- 2 pounds boneless beef lamb, or goat, cut into 1-inch pieces (use 3 to 4 pounds if using bone-in pieces of meat)
- 2 large onions chopped
- 4 to 5 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 8 cardamom pods crushed and outer pods removed
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 whole cloves
- 4 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
- 1 cup plain yogurt plus more for serving if desired
- 1 cup beef bone broth
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Sliced red onion for garnish
- Salad Shirazi for serving (see Helpful Tips)
- Basmati rice for serving (optional)
- Cauliflower rice for serving (optional)
- Heat the ghee over medium to medium-high heat in a 5-quart pot. When it starts to ripple, sear the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onion starts to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, paprika, salt, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne, and fry until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Use a wooden spoon to push the beef and onions to one side of the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt to the empty area, stirring continuously until it blends in; continue this way until all the yogurt is added.
- Add the beef bone broth, bring the mixture up to a boil, and then put a lid on it, turn it down to a simmer, and let it cook until the meat is tender and the curry is thickened, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the cloves and bay leaves, and taste and season with additional salt and black pepper.
- Garnish with cilantro and red onion, and serve with Salad Shirazi and basmati rice or cauliflower rice if desired.
- Net Carbs: 5g per serving
- The nutrition information for this recipe was calculated without the garnishes or side dishes.
- Low Carb Serving Option: To keep this meal low carb, serve it with cauliflower rice instead of basmati rice.
- Salad Shirazi: This is basically a salad made of diced cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley dressed with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar, and seasoned with salt. You can add pomegranate arils or other aromatics (like fresh mint, chives, scallion, etc.) to suite your preferences.
- Traditionally, authentic Rogan Josh contains red meat, usually lamb or goat. However, although it’s not traditional, I also make it with beef, which is quite delicious.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on April 15, 2010. It was updated with new photos on January 8, 2017, and more information on December 25, 2019. As a point of comparison to show how much my photography has evolved, I kept one of my original photos (below).
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