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 onions - minced
- 1/4 cup garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 whole 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.
- When all the meat is browned add the onions. 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.