Rogan Josh

This is a highly-spiced lamb dish that'll leave the kitchen filled with the smell of subcontinental spices for days and days. I tend to use a wok to cook this dish initially, then transfer to a ceramic casserole dish to stew in the oven.



  1. Chop the dried chillis into pieces between 5 and 10mm wide, taking care to remove the base of the chilli and keeping all the seeds. Place the chillis aside into a dish.
  2. Place the cardamom pods (black and green) into a mortar and pestle, and lightly grind until the outside of the seed pod is broken, without grinding into a powder. Add the cloves and fennel to the mortar, and smash the spice mix a couple of times. The cloves should start to fall apart and the fennel crack slightly, but don't go grinding down the cardamom.
  3. Add a thin layer of oil to the wok, about 5-10mm deep. Be warned, this step is a bit messy, but entirely worth it. Heat the oil until just short of smoking. Add the spice mix from the previous step, the cassia bark, bay leaves and chillis. Place a mesh screen over the wok, if you have one - the seeds may explode and pop while being cooked. You only need to cook the spices for 15-30 seconds; you don't want to burn them, just bring out the scent.
  4. Add the chopped onion and a large pinch of salt to the wok, and reduce the heat. You want to caramelise the onions, so keep stirring until the onions are brown. Ensure the spices do not stick to the bottom of the wok.
  5. You will now want to ensure the oven is heated to approx. 170° Celsius, to cook the meal later on.
  6. While the onions are browning, add the garlic and ginger to the mortar and pestle, and grind down to a paste, adding a small amount of water to help create the paste. Add the chilli paste to the mortar, and mix in. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger paste to the wok once the onions are browned, and stir through for about 30 seconds until the garlic and ginger are fragrant.
  7. Now add the dry spices - chilli powder, coriander powder, and tumeric to the wok, stirring frequently so the spices do not burn. Add the vinegar, stirring for another 30 seconds before also adding the tinned tomatoes. Let this cook for a minute or two.
  8. Remove between half and two thirds of the mixture in the wok into a bowl, and set aside. Ensure the wok is turned up high again, and add the meat once up to temperature. Sear the lamb, but do not cook through as yet, ensuring the paste is spread across the meat while cooking. Keep stirring for a few minutes until browned fully, then add the remainder of the onion and spice mix back to the wok. Combine through, and get a casserole dish out.
  9. Take the wok off the heat, and empty the contents into the casserole dish. If the contents are looking dry, you may want to add half a cup of water to cover the meat and tomato. Place the dish, covered, into the oven and leave to cook for 60-90 minutes at 170° C.
  10. Serve on jasmine rice, with a side of mint yoghurt.

Something else?

If a Rogan Josh isn't your sort of dish but you're still looking for good winter-y food, try making a goulash. 15 minutes to prepare, and 45 minutes to cook. Easy.