IndusFresh Details

By TPCI | November 1, 2019

Land that is draped in layers of beautiful flowers, pristine snowcapped mountains, picturesque valleys, aromatic fields cultivating saffron and vibrant shikaras – the state of Kashmir has something for everyone. While visitors and inhabitants alike revel in the scenic beauty of Kashmir, the state is equally known for its culinary marvels! One such jewel that this state boasts of is Rogan Josh – the ambrosia of Kashmiri cuisine.

This delectable delight has an incredible journey from Iran to India. It is one of the signature dishes of Kashmiri cuisine. Since “Rogan” means clarified butter (ghee) or oil in Persian, or “red” in Hindi, and “josh” refers to passion – fiery or hot – this dish is all about cooking lamb in an oil-based gravy with an intense heat. While it is Persians who can be credited for the invention of this, it was the Mughals who are responsible for introducing it in Kashmir. Culinary historian Lizzie Collingham wrote in her book, Curry, Tale of Cooks and Conquerors: One of the Mughals’ favorite destinations during the hot summer was the mountainous province of Kashmir. There, they escaped from the unrelenting heat of the plains in enchanting lakeside gardens. The presence of the Mughals encouraged a blossoming of Kashmiri cuisine and it was here that Rogan Josh, familiar to all (from the subcontinent) was perfected.

It is also interesting to note that there’s no hard and fast recipe for this meat stew and variations exist. Thus, while the Rogan Josh prepared by the Kashmiri Brahmans is devoid of any onions and garlic, and relies instead on fennel seeds (commonly used in Kashmir) and asafetida to infuse flavor into the lamb; the one cooked by Kashmiri Muslims uses lots of garlic and onion and the dried flower of the cockscomb herb (maval) which is endemic to the region. The use of saffron and asafetida is testimony to the fact that this dish bears the imprints of Persian and central Asian influence on Mughlai cuisine. At the same time, the use of Kashmiri mirch (chilli) and the aromatic Kashmiri garam masala also implies that this Kashmiri meal is a mélange of not just various cultures but also various agro-climatic factors. Naan, Roti, Rice, Biryani and Raita – all gel fairly well with Rogan Josh that you can nonchalantly enjoy with your family and friends on a cold wintery afternoon. And the best part is that it can be easily prepared in your kitchen:

Ingredients of Mutton Rogan Josh (Serving 4):
• 500 gm mutton
• 1 pinch asafetida
• 2 cinnamon
• 3 black cardamom
• 3 teaspoon powdered fennel seeds
• 1 tablespoon coriander powder
• 1 pinch saffron
• 1/4 cup grated khoya
• 2 ml kewra
• 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
• 1/4 cup mustard oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 6 peppercorns
• 3 red chilli
• 1 teaspoon ginger powder
• 3/4 cup hung curd
• 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
• 15 gm blanched & peeled,crushed to paste almonds
• 4 pinches salt
• 1 cup water

• In a large-bottomed pan, heat mustard oil on medium flame.
• Add asafoetida (heeng), cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamoms and whole red chillies.
• Sauté all the spices in the pan on low flame. Now add mutton pieces and cook on medium flame for 10 minutes. Now add some water and cook covered.
• When the pieces are soft and cooked half way, add all ground spices along with saffron and mix well. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes.
• Now add salt along with whisked hung yogurt and cook for about 3 minutes. Now add the garam masala powder, grated khoya, almond paste and kewra water.
• Cook the mutton on low flame till it is tender.
• Garnish it with fresh coriander leaves and red chillis. Serve hot with naan or rice.