Vivek Singh, Founder and CEO of Cinnamon Kitchen, shows us how to make the mouth watering Lamb Rogan Josh, a recipe from Singh’s fifth cookbook, Spice at Home. FULL RECIPE BELOW…
HOW TO MAKE LAMB ROGAN JOSH:
This could be made with whole shanks, but it’s better made with shanks cut into three or four pieces (which are easier to fit into the pan and take less cooking time), like you would for an osso bucco. This dish would be just as good made with mutton or goat.
Not a lot of people know this, but ‘rogan josh’ literally translated from Hindi means ‘red juice’. It’s a Kashmiri dish where the redness comes from the bark of a locally grown tree called rattan jyoth. It is more than likely that you will not be able to find this even in Asian shops, so I suggest you use crushed beetroot in the final tempering process instead.
6 lamb shanks, each shank cut into three or four pieces on the bone (ask your butcher to do this for you)
5 tablespoons corn oil or ghee
2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed using a pestle and mortar
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 large onions, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Ginger and Garlic Paste (see page 226)
1½ tablespoons Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
200ml plain yoghurt
400ml lamb stock or water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 tablespoon ghee
2 sticks of rattan jyoth (see introduction) or half a crushed beetroot, to add colour
Pat the cut lamb shanks dry with kitchen paper and keep aside.
Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy-based casserole dish that you have a lid for, add the crushed cardamom, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns and stir over a high heat for 30 seconds or so until they release their flavours into the oil. Add the cut shanks and salt, sear over a high heat for about 10 minutes, turning frequently to brown the meat on all sides. Take care not to overload the pan as this would simply leach the juices out and stew the meat. Once browned, remove the meat and drain on kitchen paper.
Into the same pan, add the onions and salt, cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes. The paste tends to stick to the pan, so keep stirring continuously.
Now add the fried lamb, chilli powder and ground coriander and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Take care to handle the shanks carefully so the meat does not come off the bone at this stage. Whisk in the yoghurt gradually, stirring continuously until it gets absorbed into the mix. Once all the yoghurt is absorbed, add the stock or water. Take care not to add all the yoghurt at once as it will lower the temperature of the sauce and the yoghurt will split.
Cover with a tight lid and cook over a low heat for 50–60 minutes until the shanks are soft (or around 2 hours if using whole shanks). You may need to add some more stock or water if the sauce is thick or it requires more moisture to cook. If you do not have a suitable pan, the pot-roasted and browned meat could be put in a braising tray with the liquid, covered with foil and braised in the oven (160–170ºC/Gas Mark 3–3½) for about 2 hours. (Although it’s not traditional to finish this dish off in the oven, I find the results are much better if the last part of the cooking happens in an oven, as the textures are much better and the meat does not get broken.)
Check that the meat is cooked; it should easily fall off the bone when it’s done. Sprinkle in the ground ginger, fennel and garam masala.
For a special finishing touch, tie up the rattan jyoth/beetroot in a muslin cloth. Heat the ghee in a pan, add the rattan jyoth/beetroot and let it infuse for a minute. Add the infused ghee to the shanks and simmer for 2 minutes. When the sauce turns dark red in colour, take out and discard the muslin.
Remove the meat from the sauce to a serving plate. Add the cream and chopped coriander to the pan and bring the sauce back to a simmer, then pour over the meat.
Serve with either steamed/ boiled basmati rice or a bread of your choice. Use any leftover rogan josh as a filling in the Lamb Rogan Josh Pithivier – the perfect party pie (see page 114).