Big flavours. I’m a big fan. And there isn’t a better definition of generous flavour than a beef rogan josh. A staple of Kashmiri cuisine, rogan josh is a melting pot of aromatic flavour, with cardamom, star anise, cloves and cinnamon always in the mix. If you like your taste buds blown away, then stick around.
While rogan josh is, historically, a lamb dish of Persian descent, there is room for “experimentation”. For me, beef works just as well, particularly in the form of one of the less-frequented cuts; ox cheek, shin or even chuck. You may lose that aromatic edge, but it is more than made up for by the sheer meatiness of slow-cooked beef.
Indeed, the beef only adds to the incredible richness of a rogan josh, the base of which is thickened by generous lashings of tomato puree. And adding to an incredible depth of flavour is a little more garam masala than you might usually expect. But don’t be timid; heap your teaspoons and embrace the flavour.
There is one danger, however. Yoghurt, even full fat, can split. And what you don’t want is minuscule chunks of curd in your curry. So, before you add the yoghurt, make sure you’ve given the rogan josh a minute or so to cool. Other than that, dinner couldn’t be simpler.
Beef Rogan Josh
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 star anise
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 6 cardamom pods, bruised
- 5 black peppercorns, crushed
- 5 cloves
- 1 onion, roughly sliced
- 2 red peppers, roughly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, mashed
- A small thumb of ginger, finely grated
- ½ tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp un-smoked paprika
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 600g ox cheek or similar, in chunks
- 1 tsp salt
- 300ml water
- 1 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
- A handful of coriander, finely chopped
- Using a large saucepan, gently fry the star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves until fragrant. Add the onions and oil and saute until translucent.
- Tip in the sliced peppers, garlic and ginger, replace the lid and slowly cook for 10 minutes, before incorporating the chilli powder, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, nutmeg and half the garam masala. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Stir through the tomato puree, followed by the beef and salt. Pour in the water, stir and leave to simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender.
- Finally, remove the pan from the heat, leave to cool slightly and stir through the remaining garam masala, yoghurt and coriander, holding back a little of the latter to serve.
Cost: The cost of your rogan josh will come down to the cut of beef – or lamb – you choose to use. Assuming ox cheek – which comes in at around £7 per kilo – you shouldn’t expect to spend much more than £6.50. Not bad for a meal for four.