The classic mutton rogan josh speaks of the heritage of Indian cuisine. The cubes of mutton slow cooked in an aromatic broth creates a succulent melt-in-mouth texture which is nothing less than a culinary miracle!
I owe this post to a friend of mine who suggested converting my frustrations into something interesting like Mutton Rogan Josh! Now you must be wondering where the frustration was coming from all of a sudden!
The reasons were simple but too many to handle and though those were petty stuff like washing machine not working, our computer not booting, maid resigning, travelling for long hours daily, not being able to cook something new, not posting to blog regularly and few more, they all were making me mad.
So, finally I took my friend’s suggestion seriously and diligently planned to make mutton rogan josh over the very next weekend.
Now there can be a big story on mutton rogan josh; this is such a popular dish and the stories are equally interesting. There are many versions and varieties of this same mutton rogan josh recipe, but this is one preparation which is loved by almost all the Indians, yeah non-vegetarian Indians off course!
My version of mutton rogan josh is not much similar to the one made by the Kashmiri pandits, where they do not use onions and garlic. Plus, I could not get hold of ‘Ratan Joth’ which is primarily used to lend that vibrant red color to the mutton rogan josh gravy.
I used ‘Kashmiri’ red chilli powder instead and I must say that even without ‘Ratan Joth’, my version of mutton rogan josh looked and tasted just as good. The spices did their trick and created that magical flavor and color which is the ultimate attraction of the ‘Rogan Josh’.
Few points to note while preparing mutton rogan josh:
- First, I would not suggest you to use pressure cooker for this recipe simply because the slower the cooking process is, the more will be the taste as the mutton will get more time to absorb all the flavors. You can surely marinate the mutton overnight or couple of hours prior to the cooking.
- Make sure to use Kashmiri red chilli powder which is easily available in any grocery store. This specialized chilli powder is mainly meant for color and not for heat. If you substitute this with equal amount of normal chilli powder, the dish will become very hot and you may not even get that vibrant red color.
- If possible, prepare your mutton rogan josh 2-3 hours prior to the meal time. So, by the time you serve it, the flavors will penetrate deeper into the mutton making it more delicious.
- Mutton (Goat meat) or Lamb – 1 kg
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Vinegar or lime juice – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Fresh ginger – 2 inch piece, peeled and chopped
- Garlic – 8 fat cloves
- Onion – 2 cups, finely chopped
- Yogurt – 6 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil for Cooking
- Fennel seed powder – 2 tsp
- Dry ginger powder – ½ tsp
- Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2-3 tsp or more to get the red color
- Red Chili Powder – ½ tsp to start and then to taste
- Green cardamom – 6 to 8
- Black cardamom – 2
- Bay Leaf – 2
- Clove – 6
- Whole black peppercorn – 10
- Cinnamon – one 2 inch stick
- Mace – ½ tsp
- Marinate the mutton for 2-3 hours in 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 2 tsp vinegar or lime juice, turmeric and salt.
- Put the ginger, garlic and very little water in a blender and blend well into a smooth paste.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok/pot on a medium-high flame. Add the mutton pieces in a single layer and sauté till they are browned. Add a dash of Kashmiri red chilli powder while frying the meat. Remove and set aside.
- Temper the same oil with all spices listed under tempering. Wait a few seconds for the spices to sizzle.
- Now add the sliced onion. Fry the onions to a medium brown color.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste that you made and sauté for a couple of minutes or so.
- Now add the dry spices – fennel powder, dry ginger powder, Kashmiri red chilli and the regular red chili powder. Add a splash of water and fry the spices till you see oil separating from the edges.
- Now add the browned meat cubes along with the meat juices. Stir well so that the meat is coated with the masala.
- In the meantime, beat the yogurt well in a bowl adding a little water if needed to dilute it.
- Now lower the heat and add the beaten yogurt little by little stirring continuously so that it doesn’t curdle in the masala paste. Stir and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on low heat.
- Add 1 to 2 cups of water and salt to taste. Mix everything well, scraping the sides and bottom of cooking pot.
- Bring the gravy to a boil. Check if the salt and red chili powder is in correct amount. Add more chilli powder if you want your rogan josh more spicy!
- Cover the wok, turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour or two until meat is tender.
- Give the pot a good stir once in every 5 minutes to prevent burning. If the gravy is becoming too dry add some more water.
- When the meat is tender, take off the lid. Turn the fire to medium-high and boil off some of the excess liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened.
- Once you get the desired consistency, you can do what I did to get that restaurant-like sheen into your gravy – take out all the mutton pieces and keep aside in a bowl, then strain the gravy using a big strainer. As you strain, you will get all the thick parts of the gravy along with the spices stuck in the strainer and the smooth and rich gravy will be separated out. Now add the mutton to this smooth gravy and give a quick stir. [I didn’t discard the onion-masala mix which was filtered out from the gravy. You can use it any in non-veg prep which will add a nice flavor to the dish.]
- Sprinkle the black pepper over the mutton and mix them in just before you serve it.
- Enjoy mutton rogan josh with plain Basmati rice.