Beef rogan josh is one of the first Indian curries I ever learned to cook. I got it from Madhur Jaffrey’s first book and I thought I was the cat’s meow.
People raved. It became a house favourite. It was pretty good. But this is better. Much better.
Beef rogan josh is slow food
You can’t rush this rogan josh. No way. Homestyle curries take time. Beef takes time. But it’s time that makes it all come together.
This is no different than any other beef stew. You need to go slow. This is a braise. And braising cannot be rushed. It’s a good thing. The house will smell incredible. You will be pleased with what you cook.
Take the time to brown the beef
Browning meat is not about colour. That’s a nice byproduct sure. But it’s about flavour. Depth of flavour. Complexity. There’s this thing called the Maillard reaction that happens when you brown.
Basically something wonderful happens when the amino acids and reducing sugars in the meat hit heat. Complex chemistry. Food science. But you don’t need to worry about that if you don’t want to. All you need to know brown is better. Way better.
Good Indian cooking techniques make great rogan josh
I’ve learned a lot about Indian cooking since I first made this recipe. Indian flavours are big. To get big flavours you need spice. Lots of it.
Not necessarily more heat – chili is only one spice in the mix – but more flavour. I’ve also learned that blooming the spices – cooking them in oil up front – makes a big difference. Try that. You will never go back.
Browning onions well is another key trick. Cooking onions until they are translucent is good for western food. It is not right for Indian. Translucent is not brown. You want brown.
These are truths that apply to all Indian curries. If you like cooking Indian, consider adding these techniques to your cooking.
This is one of the only curries I make with beef. I like lamb and chicken. But it just wouldn’t be right. Beef rogan josh is all about the interplay of the spice beefy goodness. It just works…
beef rogan josh
- 3 lbs beef - stew from the chuck is nice
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large onions - minced
- 1/4 cup garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 whole green cardamom pods
- 2 inch stick cinnamon bark
- 2 bay leaves
- the spice mix - below
- 5-6 Tbsp full fat greek yoghurt
- 2 cups water
- kosher salt - this is to taste. Start with about a big tsp and up it from there
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes - halved
The spice mix
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp indian spice mix - recipe link below
- 1 tsp tandoori masala - available at any Indian grocery
- 2 tsp kashmiri mild chili powder - or 1/2 tsp cayenne with 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
- Work in batches. Lightly brown the meat in batches. Don't crowd the meat. Leave a half inch around pieces. It doesn't have to be super brown like when making a good French stew but it does need to be brown. Set the beef aside.
- If you need more oil add it now. Then add the onions to the same pot used to brown the beef. Cook until soft and well browned, about 10 minutes. Regulate the heat so the onions don't burn.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Move the onions to the outer edges and add a splash of oil. Add the whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay) and cook about 30 seconds.
- Leaving the onions on the edge, add the spice mix. Cook for around 90 seconds, stirring constantly. You want enough oil to keep everything wet. If it looks dry, add a Tbsp or two of vegetable oil.
- Mix in the garlic ginger paste and cook another 30 seconds or so.
- Return the meat and accumulated juices and scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pot.
- Now mix in the yoghurt one Tbsp at a time. Stir it in before adding the next one. I don't know why this is important but Madhur Jaffrey says so. I still do it. It has never gone wrong. Probably, it doesn't make any difference but, well, Madhur says so and who am I to differ.
- Now add a big tsp of salt with enough water to almost cover the meat.
- Cover and place in the pre-heated oven. Cook until the meat is tender, about 2-2 1/2 hours. Give it a stir every 30 minutes.
- When the beef is tender remove the pot from the oven and place over medium low heat. If the curry is dry, add a bit of water. If it's wet, simmer uncovered to reduce. You want the sauce to be the consistency of heavy cream.
- Let stand a couple minutes to allow the oil to separate. Spoon it off carefully. You should get nearly all your 1/2 cup of oil back. If you don't mind the calories though, leave some of it in the curry. That oil is loaded with spice flavour.
- Adjust salt and add the cherry tomatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with basmati rice.
40 thoughts on “beef rogan josh”
Super tasty. Being a huge fan of slow cooking, this one is a new fave. Keep ’em coming, Romain!
Awesome to hear and will do!
After great success with several of your recipes, tomorrow is time to do this one.
I’m surprised to see no tomato, other than the cherries added at the end. The hotel lamb rogan I did a couple of weeks ago contained tomato in the gravy. Basically I want to confirm whether this is a mistake. Thanks.
No mistake. This is my take on the traditional dish. Hope you enjoy!
I loved this recipe but my beef turned out a bit dry. Anything I can do to rescue this? Thanks.
Probably not. Not sure what cut of beef you used but I try to pick something rich in connective tissue like chuck for braises. Stew beef sold as stew beef (at least where I live) is often cut from the hip and counter-intuitively isn’t that great for braises.
Could I substitute beef with chicken? . . . I personally would prefer beef, however my wife won’t eat anything bar chicken #Nightmare!
I don’t know. The cooking times would be greatly reduced and the deep beefy flavour wouldn’t be there so it won’t be anything like what I made. Probably best to try to find a recipe written specifically for chicken in this case.
Could this be done in the slow cooker or pressure cooker?
I have never tried in either. I am generally not a fan of slow cookers (don’t own one) as they tend to extract all the flavour from the protein into the sauce. Pressure cooker might work. The only thing that gives me pause is the yoghurt cooked under pressure. I don’t know if it would split when cooked aggressively.
I realise that I have commented before on Romain’s rogan josh recipe, but as I have made it a number of times, I feel that additional commentary is appropriate.
Prior to discovering this recipe, my signature curry (if there is such a thing) was a version of beef rendang. This has replaced it. It’s a bit of work but totally worth it. I follow Romain’s recipes religiously, at least to start. The only slight deviation is that I grind my cumin and coriander in a spice grinder immedietly before use.
Like any of Romain’s recipes, this one is stunning. Try it, you won’t go wrong.
Replaced beef rendang. Wow. That is crazy high praise. Thank you! Delighted to hear it:-)
Hi Romain, I did Madhur’s variant a few months ago. This was even better. Thanks!
Better than Madhur. That is incredible praise. Thank you!
Wow – made this at the weekend for the family and everyone agreed it was the best home-made curry we’ve had. Everyone – you simply must try this one!
Delighted to hear that. It’s one of my wife’s favourites as well.
With the covid lockdown on and recent retirement, I have time to try new recipes. I have been a regular user of both glebekitchen restaurant and hotel style base. Yesterday, I tried this and was religious (so to speak) in following the recipe. This turned out beautifully and the flavours were outstanding. I will do this one again and again. Thanks Romain.
Delighted to hear you tried this one out Geof. Always great to hear from you!
This was perfect. I ordered some missing spices online and waited 2 weeks for them to arrive . Definitely worth the wait to be able to follow your recipe exactly . I used chuck for the beef and soaked it for 30 minutes in 2 tsp baking soda and a half cup water to tenderize it. This was a tip I got from a Chinese chef.
It really made the beef very tender. My whole family loved it
I’m glad to hear the wait was worth it and hope you put all those spices you ordered to good use. Thanks for the baking soda tip! I will give that a go.
Seems really delicious. Quick question, can i use a pressure cooker instead of the oven?
I’ve never tried it in a pressure cooker. I think it would work but I don’t ever recommend anything I haven’t tried – it’s just not fair to you…
So pleased with this delicious recipe! I always have an issue with homemade curries being too watery and the addition of the yoghurt before cooking (something I always would have added at the end) made a huge difference and so much more authentic. Thanks for sharing!
So glad you liked it! I really do find I get much better results if the yoghurt is cooked into the dish.
I’m half way through cooking this recipe and I’m concerned that it looks very thin sauce. Will it eventually thicken up?
See step 12. You will be OK.
How much of the spice mix I made do I add please?
Assuming you followed the recipe, you should add all of it.
“ Now mix in the yoghurt one Tbsp at a time. Stir it in before adding the next one. I don’t know why this is important but Madhur Jaffrey says so.”
This stops the yoghurt from splitting.
I love slow cooked curries, the meat is wonderfully tender & the complex flavours have time to develop. I will definitely try this recipe soon.
I’ve heard that but I can’t remember the last time I had yoghurt split whether I did this or not…
Hi! Are you using green cardamom pods in this recipe? Thx! 🙂
Yes. Thanks for the question. I’ve clarified the recipe. Ten black cardamom would be really overpowering:-)
This looks good and tasty!
Question though: If I don’t have any garlic/ginger paste prepared, can I use fresh chopped garlic and ginger? What would the equivalent be? 2 tbsp of each maybe?
Also, why do you add this at a late stage? Usually you fry this before adding the spices.
It is tasty:-)
You could certainly substitute 2 tbsps crushed garlic and 2 tbsp grated garlic instead of the garlic ginger paste.
In restaurant style cooking I like to add it early because I don’t want to risk burning the spices while I cook the garlic ginger paste. Everything goes really fast.
This is slower cooking. You are making a masala. You could add the garlic first. It doesn’t really matter. You might have to add more oil though if you do that. You never want to be short of oil when you fry the spices. They stick and burn and starting over after browning onions is just a huge drag.
Tried this dish. excellent. Could I substitute Lamb and follow the exact same quantities and procedure without using the curry base.
Absolutely. You will just need to reduce the cooking time a bit. Plan for 30 to 60 minutes less simmering time. Glad you liked it. I just posted a restaurant style rogan josh.
Hi the recipe doesn’t say when to add the cardamom in?
Thank you for pointing that out! I’ve corrected the recipe. Appreciate the heads up.
All your recipes are very tasty