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Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry

Show your family and friends how much you love them with this fragrant and generously spiced rogan josh curry. Use lamb, beef, or chicken as you wish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Beef, Chicken, Curry, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Entertaining, Freezer Friendly, Gluten-free, Lamb, Low Carb, Make ahead, Mughal, No onion, no garlic, Non-vegetarian, North Indian, Stovetop
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 150kcal


  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder ~ Cut into 2-inch cubes, smaller if you prefer. See Notes below
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil ~ Buy or make ghee
  • 2 whole dried Kashmiri red chilies ~ Or 2 teaspoons ground Kashmiri red chili; substitutions
  • 1 3-inch whole cinnamon ~ Broken into pieces
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 whole black cardamom pods ~ Crushed, seeds removed
  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3 blades mace ~ Or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mace, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch asafetida (hing) ~ Optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt ~ Substitutions
  • 1/2 cup yogurt ~ Buy or make
  • water as needed


  • Gather all your ingredients.
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Ingredients gathered and ready to be cooked.
  • Smash the black cardamom pods, and remove the seeds. Place in a small bowl with the cinnamon, cloves, whole chilies (if using), whole green cardamom, fennel seeds, and whole mace. If using ground chilies or ground mace, omit here because you will add them a little later.
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Whole spices in an spice grinder ready for the burr.
  • In a spice grinder, grind these whole spices to a coarse powder. Using a sieve, separate the larger pieces and run them through the grinder again. Return to the same bowl and if you didn’t use the whole chilies and mace earlier, stir them in now along with the ground ginger and salt. 
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Toasted and ground spices.
  • In a large sauté pan or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons ghee over medium heat and add a pinch of asafetida, if using. Stir for one minute. Add the cumin seeds and sauté for a minute or two until aromatic and the cumin seeds turn a slightly darker shade. Stir in the ground spices and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes to toast them until aromatic. Stir frequently so that the spices don't burn. Add a splash of water if the spices stick or are too thick.
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Sizzling cumin seeds.
  • Add the meat and yogurt and stir to combine; add water to just cover the meat. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat. The curry should only be slightly bubbling.
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Lamb browned and awaiting the braise.
  • Take peek at the masala every 15 minutes or so to check on the liquid level, and stir to prevent burning. Add water as needed and cook until the meat is tender. This will take about an hour for lamb or beef, depending on the size of your cubes of meat. Also, adjust the cook time depending on the protein you are using. Chicken will probably take 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When the meat is cooked, check for seasoning. You are looking for a thick sauce, but not a dry one. Add a little water if your curry has cooked down completely. If your meat is tender but the sauce is watery, remove the meat and cook the sauce down over medium-hight heat until it reaches the consistancy you are looking for. Taste for seasonings; add additional chili powder, salt, or additional yogurt to mellow the spicing, to your taste.
    Fragrant Rogan Josh Curry Served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice and garnished with a fluttering of bright green cilantro.


  • Traditional recipes call for ratanjot, a hard to find herb that lends a vibrant red color to food. I’ve left it out because apparently it is used not so much for flavor, but for its color. 
  • If you are not a fan of lamb, rogan josh can be made with beef, pork, turkey, or boneless chicken thighs as well. Chicken breasts tend to dry out, but use them if you prefer, being careful not to overcook the meat.
  • Cooking meat on the bone is more traditional, and if you would like to do that and you are using lamb, have your butcher cut lamb shanks into 4 or 5 pieces, then proceed with the recipe.
  • Shortcut: buy meat cut into the size you want to cook with.
  • Use coconut cream or milk instead of yogurt if you are cooking dairy-free.
  • Rogan josh curry is a great make-ahead dish and it will taste even better the next day, as will most curries.
  • Rogan josh curry is one of the Top 20 Dishes in India, enjoy!


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg