Whenever I mention the Indian dish rogan josh to my friend Stacey, I accidentally call it Josh Rogan, and she says, “Who? What?” because she knows it’s really called rogan josh.
They’re nothing alike. See for yourself.
Rogan josh (also: roghan josh) is a curry dish from Kashmir and is popular in India, Pakistan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. And now, my kitchen in Austin, Texas.
Where the devil is Kashmir? I’m glad you asked…
I’d never eaten rogan josh before I bought the seasoning at the Penzeys store last summer based solely on how incredibly enticing it smelled. Different cooks make their spice blend different ways, but generally, rogan josh includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, cumin, aniseed, saffron, fennel, and red chillies. The resulting curry is rich and creamy with plenty of depth, but not very much heat. Delicious, dino-chow comfort food.
Also, I’m not making any promises, but… “rogan” means oil in Persian and “josh” means heat, red, or… hell, yeah… passionate. Perhaps rogan josh is an aphrodisiac? I know it makes me feel good all over and it’s so delicious it makes me want to marry me.
Traditionally, rogan josh is made with lamb and yogurt, but I replaced the yogurt with coconut milk, and it worked great. You can substitute beef for the lamb if you prefer… and if you’re feeling particularly decadent, add sliced almonds to the sauce for added richness.
Paleo Rogan Josh
This is easily doubled; make 2 lbs. of meat and enjoy leftovers.
1 teaspoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 lb. lamb or beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons homemade Rogan Josh seasoning or 2 tablespoons of Penzeys blend
1. Sprinkle meat generously with salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
2. Heat oil in a sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown well on all sides. Here’s a tip from me to you: respect the contact. Put the meat in there and let it be for at least 5 minutes so it gets a nice brown crust – resist the temptation to stir it around. Give it some private time and it will reward you for your generosity. (Do that with people and get the same result. Neat!)
3. When the meat is brown, add the chopped onion and cook until the onions begin to soften and get little brown spots.
4. Add the rogan josh seasoning to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. The spices really come to life in the fat so let them revel in it a bit.
5. Add the coconut milk and water to the pan. Mix well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let the meat braise in the coconut milk for 1-2 hours.
6. When time’s up, remove the lid and let the sauce thicken a bit… maybe 2 minutes or so. Inhale deeply and enjoy the fact that you have a nose.
This is great straight out of the pan, not that I would ever eat that way. Here are some other ideas for serving:
- over a pile of cauliflower fouscous
- next to a pile of fennel, sliced and sauteed with garlic and olive oil
- in a bowl, with sliced cucumbers and red or green pepper strips on the side
- atop a next of kale (or chard or spinach or beet tops), wilted and cooked with coconut oil and garlic
- accompanied by a side of mint chutney (scroll down at that link to get the chutney recipe)
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