Ultimate lamb rogan josh

This recipe owes a debt to the Rogan recipe in Rick Stein’s excellent India book. My version dials back the spice and takes away some of the more esoteric ingredient choices but still produces a beautifully rich spicy sauce with a deep red colouring.

Serves 4

40g salted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chilli flakes
6 cardamom pods, bruised
4 cloves
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
4cm ginger, grated
1/2 – 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder, to taste
3 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 tbsp tomato purée
800g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes
2 tsp salt
500ml water
Coriander, to serve

Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium high until the butter has melted.

Add the chilli flakes, cardamom and cloves to the pan and fry for 1 minute, then add the onion and fry for around 10 minutes until it’s soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes (don’t let the garlic brown).

Add a splash of water to the pan and then add the rest of the spices. Fry these for 30 seconds before adding the tomato paste and salt. Stir everything together until it’s well combined.

Add the lamb and make sure it’s fully covered in the paste before adding the water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer gently for 3 hours.

For the last half an hour of cooking you can add more water or turn the heat up a little depending on if the sauce is looking too dry or wet.

Serve with basmati rice, Indian breads and lots of torn coriander.


If you don’t already have all the ingredients for this dish then you could, at a push, probably live without the cloves and the fennel and coriander seeds which provide the subtlest part of the flavour. I would, of course, encourage you to use them though if you can.

Photo via flickr