This dish is traditionally made with lamb, but I made it with Beef shin and skirt. Use this type of meat or a stewing steak, as the fat will turn gelatinous, and a leaner cut of meat would be much more chewy.
3 dried red chillies (seeds removed) or 2 fresh bird’s eye chillies, deseeded and sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons blanched almonds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ghee or peanut oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
4 cardamom pods, bruised
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
750g boned leg or shoulder of lamb, cubed
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped
If you are using dried chillies, soak them in half a cup of boiling water for five minutes, then drain well, but reserve the liquid they were soaked in.
Combine the garlic, ginger, desiccated coconut, almonds and chillies into a food processor with the reserved soaking liquid and blend to a smooth paste. If using fresh chillies, add a little water to the mix. Leave them in the bowl of the processor for now.
In a small frying pan, toast the ground coriander, cumin, poppy seeds and fennel over a low heat for a few short minutes, until the aromas are released. Take care not to burn the spices. Add these spices to the chilli paste mix in the food processor and whizz until smooth and thoroughly combined. Using a spatula or large spoon, transfer this mixture to a bowl, then add the cardamom, cloves, mace and pepper. Set aside for the moment.
Heat the ghee or oil in a large heavy-based pan, or wok, over a low heat. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring, until the onion is golden brown and softened. Add the cardamom pods, turmeric and chilli paste to the pan or wok, and cook until the oils separate from the spices.
Now add the yoghurt, a little at a time, stirring to combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and the salt, and cook for up to five minutes longer. Now add the lamb and cook it over a high heat, stirring to brown the meat evenly on all sides. Lower the heat, pop a lid on the pan, and cook gently for an hour or more until the lamb is melt-in-the-mouth tender and the liquids have reduced. During this cooking time, stir gently every so often to ensure that the spices don’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Add just a little extra water if needed, but don’t overdo it.
Finally, sprinkle the garam masala over the top of the rogan josh, cover and cook for five minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander and serve with rice. Serves 6. As always, the dish will be more flavoursome the day after it is made.