This perfectly cooked lamb will melt in your mouth! Rogan Josh is a popular mild curry that is easy to make in an instant pot. The meat is cooked in an onion and yogurt gravy, making it both flavorful and tender.
Don’t let the fiery red color of this dish mislead you.
Rogan josh is actually a mild curry that isn’t meant to be spicy. It’s so mild that I introduced this curry to my baby Tony even before he turned one. It’s very flavorful, but there’s very little heat to it.
In the United States (and perhaps the UK too?), I’d say rogan josh is slightly less popular than butter chicken and about equally as popular as vindaloo. You can typically find both rogan josh and vindaloo on nearly every Indian restaurant menu. Just be sure not to mix the two when ordering, as vindaloo has a reputation for being very spicy!
A Kashmiri dish with Persian origins
Rogan Josh is a popular Kashmiri dish with Persian origins. So how did a Persian dish become an Indian (Kashmiri) one? Historian Lizzie Collingham writes in her book, Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, that during India’s Mughal empire, the Mughals, who were heavily influenced by Persians, would travel to the mountains of Kashmir to escape the heat. It was during their time there that they developed this dish.
According to Collingham, the ingredients of this dish changed depending on the cook’s religion. She writes, “Kashmiri Brahman’s are unusual in that they eat meat without any qualms, but they do avoid onions and garlic,” whereas a Muslim version would call for plenty of garlic and onion. She also writes that a dried flower native to Kashmir gave the dish a bright red color. These days, I think most use either Kashmiri chili powder (and perhaps tomatoes) to achieve this dish’s signature red color.
My rogan josh recipe is similar to one you might find at a restaurant (though I’m biased and think my version is better). It calls for onions and garlic, and a handful of other ingredients.
To give this dish its signature red color, my recipe calls for the use of tomato sauce as well as Kashmiri chili powder, which is mild and is typically used in Indian recipes for the color it imparts. Kashmiri chili peppers are very mild and taste similar to paprika, and I find the two to be interchangeable. So if you can’t find Kashmiri chili powder, go ahead and use paprika.
Serve this rich and flavorful lamb rogan josh with basmati rice or matar pulao and a vegetable side like aloo beans or aloo methi. Meat, rice, and potatoes. A perfect meal.
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 onions diced
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 6 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder OR paprika
- 3 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 8 tablespoons yogurt or dairy free yogurt if paleo/whole30
- Cilantro garnish
- Press the sauté button and add the ghee to the pot. Once the ghee melts, add the onions and lamb and stir-fry for 6-7 minutes, or until the outside of the lamb pieces are no longer pink.
- Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaf and spices and give everything a good mix.
- Add the tomato sauce to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the yogurt one tablespoon at a time.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure.
- Open lid, press the sauté button and cook for 4-5 minutes to boil off some of the liquid and reduce the gravy to a stew-like consistency.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.