This is an adaptation from a Lamb Roghan Josh curry in The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. When I cook, I double the recipe and then portion the curry into plastic containers, label and freeze. If you have the luxury of a large or chest freezer, this is a great way to have tasty meals during the working week that don’t create too many dishes- just pull out of the freezer and heat on the stove top with some rice for a substantial working week dinner, or quick lunch. But I have written up a standard recipe that will feed 6-8 as a side with other curries.
Although the recipe may seem involved, I do like to include details and visuals of steps in my writing and as a cook. I find it makes a recipe easier to follow and understand.
There is nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying a curry you have made from scratch. So make yourself proud and try one of these 3 curries out, or make them all, and sample together. When you make it yourself not only do you get the satisfaction, it is also less greasy, and there is a better liquid to meat ratio. And depending on how good your local curry takeout is, there can also be less fatty meat and runny liquid.
So here ’tis:
lamb rogan josh
1 kg lamb shoulder (will need to de-bone- tips below). Bones are about 300-400 gm – keep this in mind if purchasing from a supermarket where lamb is packaged with gram amount as it will include the bone)
6 whole dry chillies
1 cup of boiling water (for soaking the chillies)
6 cloves of garlic (throw in 1-2 extra if they are on the small side). Roughly chopped.
15g of peeled ginger (don’t bother peeling if a young ginger – skin will look almost translucent). Roughly chopped.
65g of almonds. Blanched (blanching steps below)
25 g desiccated coconut. Toasted.
2 tbs ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom (can leave out and add 15 cardamom pods – bruise)
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds.
6 cardamom pods. Bruised (or 15 if not adding the ground cardamom)
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp mace (ground or whole- crush a bit with a pestle if whole)
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup ghee (215 gm of salted butter melted will make about this much ghee) or ½ cup oil
1 medium onion. Finely chopped.
3/4 cup of natural yoghurt
3 ripe tomatoes. Chopped.
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam marsala
3 tbs fresh coriander leaves. Chopped.
deboning the lamb:
Use a sharp (but not your best) large knife. The larger Kiwi Brand ones from Asian supermarkets are perfect).
Make a slit with your knife through the meat from the top to the bone.
Feel around with your fingers to see where the bone and joint begin and end. Don’t be afraid of the meat.
Slide the edge of the knife along the bone to cut the meat off around the bone. This is like carving the meat off of the bone. Flip the meat around as much as you need to stay as close to the bone as possible. You can even cut away larger bit as you remove them from the bone.
Don’t worry if a bit messy – it is going into a curry. Once the bone is removed, if you think you could have got more meat off, use the knife to shave the remaining meat.
Cut the lamb into large pieces. Set aside in the fridge.
blanching the almonds:
Put the almonds in a small bowl.
Pour boiling water over to cover. (Soak the chillies at this point too – see making the curry paste)
Leave for about 2 minutes or until you can start to see their skins give way.
Use your thumb and forefinger to pop almonds out of their skin.
Throw away the skin.
toasting the coconut:
Add desiccated coconut to a dry fry pan and shake of medium heat until golden brown. Give the fry pan a quick rinse and dry as you will use later.
making the curry paste:
Soak chillies in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
Put roughly chopped garlic, ginger, toasted coconut, blanched almonds and chillies together with 3 tbs of the soaking chilli water (set the remaining chilli water aside – it may come in handy later) in an electric blender.
Dry fry the ground coriander, ground cumin on a high heat. Take off the heat once it starts to brown and smoke slightly and it is aromatic. Don’t bother washing the fry pan this time.
Add to the mixture that is already in the blender.
Blend until smooth.
In the fry pan, add the poppy seeds and fenugreek seeds. Heat on a high. Take off the heat once it starts to smoke slightly and it is aromatic.
Add these to the blended mixture. To this, add the ground cardamom, bruised cardamom (All 15 if not using ground cardamom), cloves, mace, turmeric and pepper. Stir but do not blend. Set aside.
making the ghee:
In a small pot, melt the butter on low. This will create the ghee. When the butter is melted it will split. When pouring off (next step) only add the top yellow liquid that is clear.
Heat ghee or oil in a large heavy saucepan. Fry the chopped onion, stirring until the onion is golden brown. Add the curry paste. If the paste looks a little dry, you can add some of the reserved chilli water or plain water to make it wetter.
Fry, stir until well cooked and the ghee (or oil) starts to separate from the spices.
Add the yoghurt, a spoonful at a time and stir.
Add the tomatoes and salt, stir and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Add the lamb and cook over med- high heat, stir and turn the meat until all is coated with the spice. Once lamb is simmering and all coated, turn down to low.
Leave on low with the lid on. Give a stir every 15-20 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. You can take the lid off if looking too liquid-y, the curry will need to be checked and stirred more often if the lid is off as it is more likely that it will stick to the bottom. Can also adjust the heat higher at the end with the lid off if the curry is looking too liquid-y.
Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Taste for salt, add more if necessary.
Before serving, stir through garam marsala and chopped coriander leaf.
Serve with rice (I have been using wholemeal basmati), mango chutney, kasundi and/or lemon pickle, natural yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy the curry on its own, with the Yellow Cauliflower curry and/or the Red Pork curry.