Rogan Josh

“Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been... My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when moving through Kashmir”

Led Zeppelin: “Kashmir”

 

In the midsummer of 2009, Liv and I made a westwards trip in Hope from Kathmandu, down through the foothills of the Nepali Himalayas, into India and then up the full length of the Kullu Valley to Leh, Ladakh and Srinagar, in Kashmir. The journey was long and hard, and made no easier by the monsoon rains which had rendered the high mountain passes very tricky indeed. Liv was on a deadline, and had a plane to catch in Srinagar so we ended up pushing ourselves and Hope harder than we should. After a dark, fraught night when we became stuck in the mud halfway up a single track on a very steep drop below the Rohtang-la pass and had to sleep (or not) in the middle of what turned out to be, at daybreak, a fresh and significant landslide, we finally made it over the top to the drier Lahaul-Spiti side, to clearer air and a new perspective. Nursing a broken suspension and enduring several flat tyres, Hope took us over Taglang La (at 5,560m, long thought to be the highest motorable pass in the world), and down to the relative cleanliness and calmness of Leh, where we all took some much-needed rest before driving along the disputed border between Indian-administered and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. After making the last pass and descending through the small villages, willow trees, fruit and nut orchards and flower-filled meadows we finally made it to Srinagar, a hot bath and a clean sheet bed in a houseboat on Dal lake. The pace of our journey means that Kashmir is a place I will return as soon as I can. In the hope that you may also be tempted, we offer you a recipe for Rogan Josh, a classic Kashmiri lamb (or mutton) stew. Rich, smooth, and elegant. Much like the fabled Kashmiri culture and people...

 

Rogan Josh with Lamb

(Serves six)

Ingredients:

3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

7 cloves garlic, chopped

50 g ASA Rogan Josh

1 pinch Kashmiri saffron (optional)

4 tablespoons natural yoghurt

1 kg quality lamb shoulder cut into big cubes. (you can also use a leg or shanks - ask the butcher to chop them with the bone in for an authentic result)

5 medium-sized red onions, halved

2 red peppers, halved and deseeded

75 g unsalted butter (or ghee if you have it)

600 g tinned chopped tomatoes

1/2 tablespoon salt

To serve: sliced red or green chilli coconut shavings chopped coriander

Køb ASAs Rogan Josh her

 

Method:

1. Using a stick blender or food processor, pulp the saffron, ginger and garlic together to a paste and place in a bowl that's large enough to hold the meat.

2. Add the yoghurt and stir.

3. Place the lamb into the bowl and stir until it's evenly coated with the yoghurt and spices. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge to marinate.

4. Preheat your oven to 170ºC.

5. Chop the onions and peppers roughly and pulp them in a food processor.

6. Put the pan you are going to cook the curry in on a medium heat and add a splash of vegetable oil.

7. Add the Rogan Josh spice mix. Stirring continuously, fry for 20 seconds. Add the onion and pepper paste.

8. Cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

9. Add the tomatoes, the marinated lamb and half a pint of water, and stir well.

10. When the curry comes to the boil add the salt, stir, cover tightly with a lid and place in your preheated oven for 2 hours. Remove and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

11. Garnish with the coconut flakes and chopped coriander (and a little sliced chilli if you’re really feeling the need, or some yoghurt if it’s on the spicy side).

12. Serve with Basmati rice, naan or chapatis.