lamb rogan josh – restaurant style at home

Lamb rogan josh is one of the classic Indian dishes for a reason. It’s delicious. And it’s even better when you make it restaurant style.

This is one seriously tasty curry. Complex flavours in a rich restaurant style sauce. Lamb rogan josh. One of the big ones.

Lamb makes this rogan josh special

This dish is better with lamb. It pushes it over the the top. Adds a depth of flavour that you just can’t get with anything else.

I’m not saying you should only make it with lamb though. Not for a second. Best with lamb but still crazy delicious no matter what. Chicken rogan josh works really well. Beef does too.

Goat is really good too. If you’ve never had mutton rogan josh give that some thought.

Or you can go with paneer or chickpeas for a vegetarian version. All good. But for me lamb rogan josh is king. There’s just a little extra bit of wonderful there.

Bowl full of rogan josh from above.

What’s in a name?

Rogan josh is dish with a fuzzy history. It’s a Kashmiri dish. Definitely has some Moghul influence way back. And it’s become a global classic. But there’s no clear origin.

Even the words in the name aren’t obvious. Rogan josh can mean stewed in ghee or red/brown stew. I go with red/brown stew personally. That makes sense to me.

But seriously – what do I know? Believe what you want. Or don’t worry about it. That’s probably a better plan anyway. Just enjoy. Make it and be happy you did.

Fry out the yoghurt for great lamb rogan josh

I scratched my head for a long time trying to come up with a rogan josh recipe I liked. A long time. This blog has been running 3 years. Has a bunch of Indian recipes. But no restaurant style lamb rogan josh.

Because I just couldn’t get it right. I’d get this weird cheesy background flavour. Every time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cheese. A lot. But not in curry. Except paneer. But that’s different.

I’m talking this horrible, funky slightly off milk taste. Deep in the background. But always there. It’s why there are zero restaurant style curries with yoghurt on glebe kitchen.

So I started thinking hard about why yoghurt works in homestyle curries. And realized it’s because it’s cooked down. It goes in early. And simmers forever.

So the glebekitchen twist in this recipe is to fry out the yoghurt. So obvious. Once I realized it. I’m clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Lamb rogan josh in a black steel bowl from the front.

Don’t let the ingredient list scare you

I know. There are a lot of ingredients. That’s a necessary evil here. Lamb rogan josh flavours are complex. Nuanced. And that means more ingredients. Lots of different spices. No real way around it.

But it’s not that many ingredients. Most of them are spices. You just mix them up. Then it’s like one ingredient. If a bunch of spices can be an ingredient.

Never tried one before? This is probably as good a place to start as any. If only because it is such a tasty curry. So worth it.

Lamb rogan josh, rice, dal palak and parathas from above.

This is Indian restaurant style cooking

Indian restaurant style cooking is a little daunting at first. But it’s really not that hard. And once you get it down there’s nothing you can’t make like you get in a restaurant. Try it. You will amaze yourself.

This is how they do it in restaurants. Not sort of. Not maybe. For real. I’ve been in restaurant kitchens. This is the real deal.

Not saying that I have every secret figured out. I’m still learning too. But the techniques are right. The workflow is right.

It’s heavy on the prep. This dish comes together in 10 minutes. So you need to be ready.

You can’t be fumbling around looking for something while you are cooking. It goes fast. Really fast.

If you’ve never made a real restaurant style recipe there is a detailed primer on what to expect. Complete with video.

I spent a lot of time putting it together so obviously I’m biased. But I do believe it is really worth reading before you start.

Restaurant style is not the same as homestyle Indian cooking. So don’t think that you can rely on what you know. If you don’t know restaurant style take a few minutes to figure it out.

Spoonful of lamb rogan josh from the front.

This lamb rogan josh is inspired by the homestyle version

If it isn’t clear yet, rogan josh is one of my favourite Indian curries. Homestyle or restaurant style. Love them both.

I whip up big batches of homestyle rogan josh regularly. Fantastic leftovers for lunch. Which makes my friends at work a little crazy.

I don’t feel too bad about that, though. When you choose to sit at lunch with a cook you get what you get. Not my fault you bought that lousy baked burrito from the cafeteria. Pretty sure if you are reading this you know what I mean.

But when I want to really spoil myself this lamb rogan josh is on my short list. Try it. Could make your short list as well…

Chicken tikka masala in an Indian copper bowl from the front.
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4.85 from 20 votes

lamb rogan josh

Make lamb rogan josh that's better than you can get at your local Indian restaurant.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword beef rogan josh, lamb rogan josh
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pre-cook the lamb 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 479kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


Pre-cook the lamb

  • 1 lb lamb shoulder stew meat bone in or not – up to you
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder or Indian restaurant spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • enough water to cover the lamb

Spice mix

  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix powder – recipe link below
  • 1/2 tsp tandoori masala powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Restaurant lamb rogan josh

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 2" cinnamon bark – cassia
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 small onion cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 red pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste diluted in 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves and stems – finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 15 oz curry base – recipe link below
  • 1 tsp brown sugar or jaggery
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes cut in half


Pre-cook the lamb

  • This is basically the easiest stew you will ever make.
  • Combine the lamb, curry or mix powder, salt and enough to water to cover in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the lamb is tender. This usually takes 60-90 minutes.
  • You can do this the day before. You can also make batches and freeze the lamb in 12 oz portions (cooked weight) to make curries whenever you'd like. That's what I do.

Lamb rogan josh

  • Combine the coriander powder, cumin powder, Indian restaurant spice mix, tandoori masala powder, kashmiri chili powder, paprika, black pepper, salt and kasoor methi in a small bowl. This is your spice mix.
  • Cut up the onion and red pepper.
  • Dilute the tomato paste with enough water to get to the consistency of passata.
  • Heat your frying pan (don’t use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp vegetable oil. Use all the oil specified. It’s important.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the cinnamon bark and green cardamom. Cook until you see little bubbles form around the whole spices.
  • Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are soft and a few are starting to brown around the edges.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste. Cook it, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Turn down the heat to medium low and add the spice mix. This is the critical step. Stir it constantly for about 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the diluted tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add the cilantro leaves and stems. Cook for around 15-20 seconds.
  • Mix in the yoghurt. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30-45 seconds.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form. Turn the heat down to low and add the pre-cooked lamb and sugar.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don’t add water.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are just warmed through. Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh coriander if you like and serve.


Tandoori masala powder is available in any Indian grocery.
The recipe for curry base is here.
The recipe for indian restaurant spice mix is here
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
If you haven’t read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are making multiple curries, have your curry base warming in a pot on the stove. If you are just making one, microwave it to warm it up right before you start cooking.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1539mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1737IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 6mg

46 thoughts on “lamb rogan josh – restaurant style at home”

  1. Hi Romain

    Thanks for your recipes on this site! I’ve successfully made your beef Rogan Josh recipe several times and love it.

    I note this recipe is for only 1 pound of lamb. If I want to make 3 pounds at once similar to your beef recipe – how would this change the quantity of everything else? Can the spice quantity stay the same? The curry base? Do I triple everything?


    • The trick with restaurant style is frying the gravy. I don’t recommend ever doing more than doubling the recipe and using a large skillet to make the final curry. You can scale linearly when doubling. Tripling you run into the problem that the gravy kind of simmers rather than really fries. If you want to go big batch the hotel series is a better bet because the browning/frying step is completed before final assembly.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, I have made several Rogan Josh versions over the past five years, including Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe and your traditional style version (which was the best one so far), but never been quite happy with it. I thought it was me; perhaps Rogan Josh just wasn’t my thing? No that wasn’t it. I just hadn’t tried this version yet! This immediately became one of my all time favorites!! Just loved it! Full disclosure though: I made it adapting your “easy Indian” 30-minute curry style and used pre-cooked beef. Brilliant recipe, thank you so much!!

    • If I understand your question it is 1 tsp of the Indian restaurant mix powder along with the coriander, kasoori methi etc as specified in “the spice mix” in the actual recipe.

      The Indian restaurant spice mix recipe is a master recipe. You make up a batch and use it as needed.

  3. Hi, this looks absolutely delicious, one query though, does the yoghurt not curdle when adding it so early?
    After all it is then subjected to the heat needed to reduce the sauce etc,

    Not doubting you as I am aware of your experience with bir curries but just curious as I don’t really use yoghurt a lot in my cooking and am keen to learn more about it, thanks

    • I have not had a problem with yoghurt curdling when using high fat (e.g. full fat greek yoghurt). I was scared once upon a time too:-). For me the key in a short cooking dish like this is to give it as much time as possible to cook through. I really cannot stand the vaguely cheese flavour you get if you add it at the end.

  4. 5 stars
    This Rogan Josh recipe is amazing. Finally stopped making one pot/pressure cooker Indian meals and went all out with your recipes. Tastes just as good as my local restaurants. Only thing I can’t figure out is how to make Chili Balti and get the sour taste. Not sure if it’s lemon or Citric acid. Tried asking the chef and mentioned something about cooking wine. If you have suggestions let me know!

    • Awesome to hear!

      I don’t know what they might be doing at your local but tamarind paste works really well to add a balanced sour flavour.

  5. 5 stars
    worked a treat. Though, I had to put some of the stock that formed, in the dish, from making the lamb. I’m surprised you’d waste this!? Why wouldnt you use this? Esp. if it gets conentrated, it is a pool of flavour.

    • I don’t waste it but I do worry about the saltiness in the final dish, especially when concentrated. So I just pour into a mug and enjoy the broth. I do the same when I pre-cook chicken. Salty stuff but so tasty. Cook’s treat.

    • It would totally work. Follow the instructions for the hotel lamb madras but instead of adding coconut milk add more water. Add the yoghurt before the hotel gravy (like in this recipe). Leave out the tomato paste. I think I’ll do a chicken rogan for my next hotel recipe!

    • You can leave them in and eat around them (that’s what I do) or you can try to fish them out before you serve. That’s easier to do as you plate individual portions.

  6. 5 stars
    I can’t remember how I found this web site to start with – I think I just stumbled upon it by accident while searching for Kashmiri chillies. The content fired up my imagination as it’s obvious that your love of Indian food runs deep and your writing style put a smile on my face as I read.

    This was the first one of your restaurant curry recipes that I made and I have to say I was truly stunned by the result. This is better than any rogan josh I have eaten in a restaurant. The depth of flavour was way beyond what I was expecting.
    A good few of your restaurant recipes have now been cooked and thoroughly enjoyed. Another batch of curry base is currently simmering away in my kitchen and I will be making rogan josh this evening. My mouth is already watering just at the thought!

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, techniques and passion!

    I’d also like to pass on a tip for your readers who, like me, are not blessed with a gas cooker. It’s almost impossible to cook these dishes on a standard electric cooker as the temperature in the pan drops far too much when you add the curry base and takes too long to recover. I solved this problem by buying a separate induction cooking plate. This is capable of blasting 1.8KW of heat into my frying pan and has no problem with rapidly reaching and keeping the temperature needed to fry the curry base properly. It’s also very easy to control the temperature so that you don’t burn the spices when you bloom them. So, if you need the speed and control that a gas cooker gives, but don’t have one – induction is the way to go!

    • So great to hear you are trying the restaurant style curries. I’m delighted you are enjoying glebekitchen!

      And yes, that is excellent advice for those that don’t have gas cooktops. I have used a portable induction cooker myself and it does work well. Just make sure your pan is compatible (not aluminium). Another tip for those cooking on electric elements is to lift the pan if things are getting out of hand.

    • Thank you for the tip of an induction hot plate!!! My neighbour offered me hers a while ago and I think I’ll take her up on it – so many recipes here I need to make – lol!!!!!
      I made the restaurant style lamb which was really, really good, but you’re right, it took a while for the pan to recover the heat!

  7. Rogan Josh is one of my wife’s favorite Indian dishes. I have tried many times to create an equivalent to rival some of our favorite restaurant versions. All to no avail. It got so bad that my wife insisted that I stop my foolish search. Not to be stymied in my quest for a better Rogan Josh, I tried this one. My wife had a simple response “It’s a keeper”.
    That said, I did notice that the curry base on its own has a bit of a sour tang, is that to be expected. Once it was added to the rest of the preparation that tang disappeared. Still, a wonderful approach, even if it does require many components. Thanks

    • Delighted to hear your wife enjoyed it! I’m not sure where the sour tang came from. Curry base should taste like a weak, vaguely curry flavoured onion soup.

      It is a lot of work to get started but once you have a batch of curry base, spice mix and garlic ginger paste you can make a bunch of different restaurant curries!

    • Nice chunks. You are basically making a simple stew and you want your pieces to be the size you will use in the curry.

  8. Really good dish that is a big step up from the normal home cooked Rogan Josh. The long braise works wonders on the meat and the red capsicum retained a wonderful firmness.

  9. I’ve done a couple of recipes from here and they’ve all been amazing. My partner was blown away by this Lamb Rogan Josh and said that it was one of the nicest he’d ever tasted.

    • That is just great to hear! I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes and turning out meals you are happy with!

  10. 4 stars
    Hey Romain, how do you get the yogurt to not separate into the little tiny dots? also I’m having trouble sourcing green cardamom pods. Got an alternative? I tried using cardamom seeds – I only used a tiny bit and it was too intense.

    • I don’t experience the problem of the yoghurt breaking in this dish. I use a higher fat content. Are you using a yoghurt with zero fat content?

      I can see how even a few cardamom seeds would overpower. If you can’t get pods either keep rolling back on seeds or just leave them out.

  11. I never thought I would see this day. THANK YOU. I saved the lamb fat from the stew and used it for the curry instead of oil. OMG. Yes.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Romain,

    We had this dish for dinner and it was delicious. I have been cooking quite some of your recipes. I noticed that most recipes are not spicy. Whenever we visit the Indian local restaurant we drink quite some cokes. Is there a reason that the recipes here are without fresh chilies or other hot spices? If I would like to spice up your restaurant curries, should I add chilies to the very beginning together with onion just before adding the garlic ginder paste?

    Many thanks for all the great content here. It really helps me making te best out of the current crisis.

    • I’m glad I’m able to put a little shine on things for you.

      I spice everything on glebekitchen to around medium to make it try to keep it at a level that all will enjoy as a starting point. If you like it hotter then you can do a couple things. If the recipe calls for green chilies then you can probably double them without changing the overall flavour profile too much. You are right. They go in at the start before the garlic ginger paste.

      If it doesn’t call for fresh chilies then I’ve left them out on purpose (because I really like green chilies so if I could add them I would). In those cases you can double the kashmiri chili powder without changing the flavour profile too much. If you want significantly hotter than I would add a bit of a hot or extra hot chili powder to get the heat while largely maintaining the intended flavours.

    • Thanks Romain all clear. I also noticed your new post, garlic chilli chicken which is a spicy curry.

      I have got another question on the measurements… What are tsp measurements for non-fluids and non-powders, such as “ 1-2 tsp garlic pickle” in the garlic and chilli recipe?
      I assume for fluids and powders it’s just a teaspoon flat without heap?

  13. I want to make this curry for 2. Do I double everything in the recipe or just double the amount of base, meat, onion and peppers ?
    I was thinking if I double the spices and garlic/ginger paste then these would be overpowering in the dish.

    • With side dishes – say a dal and rice – this is a reasonable portion for two. If you are a big eater or aren’t doing sides I would not double the recipe. Risk of overpowering the dish aside, it is hard to drive your pan (heat) enough to really get the base to do it’s magic for a single portion.

      When I cook a double batch I just cook one portion and when its done transfer it to a small sauce pan over low heat and cook a second portion.

  14. Your recipes are brilliant. I have been searching for 25 years for this level of quality and “restaurant” style authenticity. I just made this dish today and it’s my favourite that I’ve so far made from your recipes (have also made restaurant bhuna and patia). Any chance of a Methi Gosht “restaurant style” recipe? That was always a personal favourite of mine.

    • I’m glad you like them. I have methi chicken on the to do list. Any of the restaurant curries work with pre-cooked lamb or chicken.

    • 5 stars
      IT IS !!! Really worth it. So good. added dryed kashmiri chilies and extra kashmiri powder, and mixed some lamb gravy with the curry base.

  15. 5 stars
    My husband said this was the tastiest dish he has ever had, he savored every bite, the lamb was so tender and you could taste many different flavors – this is definitely a “do-over” – thank you

4.85 from 20 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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