20 May 2022

Romy Gill’s Muslim rogan josh recipe

Romy Gill’s Muslim rogan josh recipe

This rogan josh recipe hails from the Kashmir Valley, and is “very different to the one we are used to eating in the West”, says chef Romy Gill.

“Kashmiri Muslims tend to use praan, a type of shallot, plus garlic and cockscomb flower for colouring.”

Muslim rogan josh recipe

(Serves 6-7)

1kg bone-in lamb leg, cut into pieces on the bone (ask your butcher to do this for you, if necessary)
1L water
15g garlic, crushed to a paste
1½tsp salt
2tbsp rapeseed oil
5cm cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
6 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
3 dried bay leaves
2tsp ground fennel
2tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground turmeric
½tsp freshly ground black pepper
4tsp shallot paste (see below)
1tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder, dissolved in 3tbsp water
200ml cockscomb flower extract (optional, see below)
½tsp saffron strands soaked in 4tsp lukewarm water
Steamed rice, to serve

For the shallot paste:
125g ghee
1kg shallots, peeled and finely chopped

For the cockscomb flower extract:
6-7 dried cockscomb flowers (you can buy online or from specialty stores, either whole or ground)
500ml water


1. Put the meat in a deep saucepan along with the water, crushed garlic and half a teaspoon of the salt. Boil for 20 minutes until the meat is half cooked. Skim off and discard any scum that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat and strain the cooking stock into a jug. Set the meat aside.

2. Make shallot paste: Pour the ghee into a heavy-based saucepan and heat to 170°C/340°F on a digital thermometer. Alternatively, you can drop in a tiny piece of shallot: if it floats to the surface, then the ghee is hot enough; if it sinks, the ghee is not hot enough yet. Once the ghee is hot, add the chopped shallots in batches and fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool. When the crispy golden shallots have cooled down, grind to a fine paste with a pestle and mortar. You must have patience to get the right consistency. Keep grinding until the mixture changes colour to creamy white and the texture becomes like a paste. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can blitz in a blender, but the taste and texture won’t be the same. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use in dishes when required. It will keep for up to a week.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the whole spices and bay leaves and cook for one minute, then add all the ground spices, along with the remaining one teaspoon of salt, the shallot paste and the chilli powder in its soaking water. Stir continuously until well combined.

4. If making your own cockscomb flower extract, add six to seven dried flowers to 500ml of boiling water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then strain through a muslin into a jar. It will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

5. Increase the heat to high and add the boiled meat. Sauté for about four minutes, then reduce the heat to low. Add the reserved cooking stock, cover and cook for 30–35 minutes until the meat is tender. Add the cockscomb flower extract (if using) and the soaked saffron. Mix well, and cook for a final two minutes.

6. Serve piping hot with rice.

On The Himalayan Trail: Recipes And Stories From Kashmir And Ladakh by Romy Gill is published by Hardie Grant, priced £27. Photography by Matt Russell. Available now.

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