Thursday, January 7, 2010


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Roganjosh has always been my favorite meat dish for a very long time. Over the years my family and friends have suffered over my insistence of having this dish featured on food menus whenever we have gone dining and even having it on a buffet for parties organized by me. The intense aromas and a taste to die for have made this dish a piece de resistance of the kashmiri cuisine. What is even more interesting than this dish maybe the fact that its origins are Persian and it was bought to Kashmir by the Moghuls who made Kashmir their winter capital.
There are two main theories to the origin of the name Roganjosh. The first one credits the name to its Persian origins wherein Rogan means clarified butter or oil and Josh means Intense. It is simply put a meat based stew cooked in clarified butter over intense heat. The second theory states the name to be a Kashmiri version meaning red meat (Rogan means red in Kashmiri and Josh is the anglicized version of Gosht meaning Meat).
Different versions of this dish exist throughout the country and even in Kashmir where it has been perfected there are two distinct versions on how it is made. The Kashmiri brahmins(hindu caste) eat meat (as opposed to other hindus in the country barring the Saraswat Brahmins of Goa) and make this dish without garlic and onions which they do not use in their cooking. They flavor the dish using fennel (very distinct to Kashmiri Hindu cooking) and asafoetida. The Kashmiri muslims use lots of onion, garlic and also the dried flower of the cockscomb plant commonly known as Maval in Kashmir. Maval provides the dish its distinct bright red color. Maval surprisingly is in itself a substitute for Ratan Jot (Alkanet Root) which was the preferred ingredient to impart color not only to Roganjosh but also Tandoori chicken during the Moghul period. This is now becoming rare and substituted by Maval petals in Kashmir as this flower is indigenous to the state and in other parts of the country artificial food colors are used.
I chanced upon Ratan Jot sometime back in Hyderabad and immediately bought it. This was the perfect time to use it. My version tries to mix both the kashmiri muslim and hindu coking styles by adopting the use of onion, garlic, fennel & asafoetida. It surely tastes good and is great for a nice winter evening served with some pulao.
Other Indian chicken/meat gravy items on my blog that one can read are as under:


Lamb /Mutton, leg or shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes - 1 Kg
Garlic Paste - 3 Tblsp
Ginger Powder (Sonth) - 2 Tsp
Brown Onion Paste - 1/2 Cup
Yogurt - 1 Cup
Cumin powder - 2 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tsp
Coriander Powder - 2 Tsp
Green Cardamom - 2 pods
Black Cardamom - 2 Pods
Cinnamon - 1-inch stick
Cloves- 4
Bay Leaf - 1
Kashmiri Degi Mirch - 1 Tsp
Ratan Jot,crushed - 1/2 Tsp
Asafoetida (hing) - a Pinch
Fennel Powder - 1 Tsp
Ghee - 5 Tblsp
Salt - To Taste

1. Mix together sonth (dry ginger powder), garlic paste, chili powder, degi mirch, coriander & cumin in a large bowl.
2. Add the Meat pieces and mix well to coat all pieces evenly. Allow to rest for atleast 6 hours or preferably overnight in a refrigerator.
3. Heat ghee ina large saucepan. Add Asafoetida and cook for a minute.
4. Add in the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon to the pan. Fry for a minute.
5. Add the meat pieces and sear well for 3 minutes. Add in the onion paste and fennel powder and cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Add half a cup of water and cook for 5-7 minutes on high flame, reduce the flame, cover and simmer till all water has evaporated (30-45 minutes).
7. Stir in whisked yogurt slowly and mix well. Keep stirring from time to time to ensure meat does not stick to the base of the pan.
8. Add in the Ratan jot and salt. Stir well and cook till meat is tender.
9. Serve hot with rice.


JH said...

I have been following your blog avidly for a long time. Have a request/favor. Can you talk about a typical Lucknow biryani and how to make it. How does one get those typical fragrances that the biryani rice is famous for, kewra, gulab. How are these products used. What is mitha ittar and where can one procure it from. Thanks so much in advance

Jaya Wagle said...

Ok, a question. What is Ratan Jot? Is it absolutely necessary for this yummy curry? Haven't had it in ages but one of our Pakistani friend's makes a mean one. :)

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow... aromatic and flavorsome recipe...looks delectable...

Gaurav said...

@Jaya - Ratan Jot is a alkanet root ...It adds a good reddish color to the gravy. U can even cook without it...afterall it is the great taste that u r after :)

@Kitchen Flavours - Thanks :)

@JH - Will surely do so in the coming weeks. Kewra essence (Screwpine essence) is commonly available at stores across India. Gulab Jal (not the face wash kind) and meetha aatar needs to be sourced as only some shops carry it. These are usually during finishing of the dish. Will explain while doing a post on Lucknowi Dum Biryani or dum pukht cuisine.

JH said...

...Gaurav - I cannot wait enough for this post. Finally some one who is willing to share/teach us how to make LKO biryani after years of trying. Very excited.

I am in India for a couple of weeks and would love to source kewra jal and meetha ittar. I have ppl in Lucknow, Delhi and Pune who can procure stuff for me. Any thoughts as to where I can get it from?

Thank you so much in advance and look forward to your post.

Best wishes

Gaurav said...

I am requesting a friend of mine from LKO who is a chef to help me with the authentic biryani.
Since you are going to be in India, you should try getting Kewra and Gulabjal from local grocery stores. Dabur is the brand name and they are available in 250 ml. bottles.
You can try Le Marche in Delhi (DLF One mall, Saket) or SRS store in Omaxe mall(Sohna Road), Needs Store(Gurgaon) ...some of the names randomly remembered.
They should be commonly available in LKO.

JH said...

Thx gaurav. Looking forward to hearing on the biryani. Also, if you can ask your friend where in LKO to procure the mitha ittar from. Is there a particular store I can send someone too?

Gaurav said...

LKO Biryani is taking time, as I'm currently in the US and just cannot wait to come back and have my friend come over and cook some (3 weeks from now) :(

sangeeta said...

lots of great recipes in recent times , have been away for a while n seeing all these at once feels like heaven :)
just hope i get back to my normal self n start posting myself seeing all these yummy things....your blog will be a great resource for authentic Indian non veg recipes ...

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