My roganjosh

My roganjosh

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

Rojanjosh as we know it is a deep, rich lamb curry which doesn’t bear much resemblance to the real Indian dish. I have given a recipe for roganjosh with tomatoes, as we have come to expect it to taste, in Anjum’s New Indian, but wanted to write this more authentic version. With its yogurt and almond base, it is equally delicious and quite different. In India they use mutton or leg of baby lamb with the bone in (try spring lamb and ask the butcher to cut into large bone-in pieces). Serve with a lovely pilaf, Naan or Chapati.


Quantity Ingredient
2 black cardamom pods
8 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
5cm cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
5-8 kashmiri dried chillies, seeds shaken out
or chilli powder, to taste
2 dried bay leaves, (if fresh, add to lamb only once it has browned)
8 large garlic cloves
25g ginger, peeled weight, cut into large pieces
7 tablespoons vegetable oil
600g spring lamb or mutton, cut into large bone-in cubes
300g full-fat yogurt, stirred well
1 tablespoon ground coriander
salt, to taste
3/4-1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 teaspoon paprika, for colour (optional)
handful chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Using a spice grinder or a good mortar and pestle, grind the whole spices to a fine powder with the dried bay leaves. Separately blend together the garlic and ginger with a good splash of water until fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the lamb or mutton and brown well over a high flame; this will take a good eight to 10 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook over a moderate flame, stirring constantly as the water starts to dry. Once the paste is cooked, all you will see is clear oil in the pan and the garlic will smell cooked.
  3. Add half the yogurt and cook over a moderate to high flame, stirring constantly and quite briskly, almost folding the yogurt into the lamb until it has been fully absorbed by the meat; it will take another eight to 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining yogurt, stirring constantly as before. Once it is boiling, simmer, stirring every now and again, until the liquid in the pan has reduced by around one-third. Now add the ground whole spices, ground coriander and salt and cook, stirring, for a few minutes more.
  4. Cover and cook over a low flame for 30–40 minutes, or until the meat is tender, remembering that mutton will take quite a bit longer to cook than lamb. Keep an eye on the pan and give it an occasional stir; add a good splash of water if the sauce looks dry.
  5. Add the garam masala, black pepper, fennel seed powder and ground almonds. Taste, adjust the seasoning and add paprika (if using) for a rich red colour. Cook for another minute, add the chopped coriander and serve.
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