It’s not necessary food always need to tickle the sweet memory spots. I cooked mutton Rogan Josh after almost 8 years. The last time I made this, I was 10 kg lighter, CPI (M) was still in power in West Bengal and a certain gentleman called Virat Kohli was still playing Ranji trophy. I was not a food blogger then …….  

After our tour to Kashmir and through Madhushree’s class mate Arti Zutshi, her brother Samir and aunty (Arti’s mother), we know by now that the preparations are different of the same dish when prepared by the Kashmiri Muslims and the Pandits. Main difference is the use of Onion and garlic. As Madhushree called up Aunty to get the recipe on a Saturday, I volunteered to cook this out and explore the recipe received via whatsapp. I can safely boast about my Kosha Mangsho cooking skills with practice but I was looking forward to add on to my repertoire.

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No over night marination, no rare ingredients, not much of complicated cooking techniques make mutton rogan Josh a go to dish for me. The process starts with frying the mutton brown in high flame with bayleaf, cloves and dalchini and we added ratanjot also. Just like an unedited RAW version of a film is not a testimony to the final product, this holds true for this also. As the mutton turns slightly brown and starts leaving water, the key step is adding the curd in phases and not in one go. 

There is an article by Vir Sanghvi where he had declared the Mutton Rogan Josh as the greatest Indian curry and it came second to Kosha Mangsho 

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I asked Aditti Ahluwalia in facebook , one of the Admins of the facebook group Mealability The flavour of Kashmir and this is what she had to say

Rogan Josh originated in Persia.This dish was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. The Mughals, during the invasion of India, mostly inhabited the plains, but to escape the perils of hot summers they would head to the mountainous, cool and heavenly province of Kashmir.Their presence in this enchanting land led to the blossoming of Kashmiri Cuisine with the influence of the Persian flavours/techniques.Now, Roughan, in Urdu/Persian means clarified butter.Incidentally in Irish, the word ROGAN means “red haired” !!! . And when I looked up the literal meaning of Josh , it comes up with “fire/heat” amongst many other synonyms but this word could also have been derived from the Persian verb “Jusidan Kandan” which means “to boil”…

And the marriage (संधि) between the two words led to the birth of RoganJosh..!!!

Some say in Persian Rogan means – clarified butter too. 

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Its characteristic intense deep red colour traditionally comes from Alkanet root (Ratan Jot) or Mawal (cockscomb) and yes from liberal amounts of dried Kashmiri red chilli powder.The use of colouring agents is entirely optional ????The recipe’s spice levels emphasise on aroma rather than heat.

There are significant differences in preparation between the Hindu and Muslim dishes in Kashmir. Muslims use praan, a local shallot tasting of garlic, and petals of maval, the Cockscomb flower, for cooling and colouring effect. Kashmiri Pandits do not use praan, onion or garlic but add yogurt to give additional body and flavour.”

While preparing this, the fun starts when the mutton turns brown. Add some Kashmiri chili powder and Garam masala and then start adding the beaten up yogurt but slowly nut not at one go. It’s like slowly putting on make up for a bride. Add one/ two spoons of yogurt, slow cook it then add some more and keep on going like that. Don’t forget to add asafoetida in the yogurt and whisk it well.

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Next time you are home – let me prepare this for you. Get some bottles of beer and some good conversations on cricket or music – you can get the chef in me going. Yes, the Rogan Josh is supposed to be had with Rice and most of the times they take up Haak with this. I had Mutton Rogan Josh more than couple of times in Kashmir and although the onion and garlic becomes the differentiating factor,  I like both.  I often say and believe that food unites us all, when I think of Mutton Rogan Josh I wonder if it is true? 

Pin this image for reference 

Mutton Rogan Josh pin

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Mutton Rogan Josh Kashmiri Pandit style

Slow cooked mutton dish from Kashmir, a classic made Kashmiri Pandit style without the use of onions and garlic. The key here is the flavour the mutton gets from the slow cooking. There is not much of gravy by the end of the dish but the flavour speaks for itself.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Non Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 kg Mutton preferably fresh meat
  • 1 inch ratanjot optional
  • 2 nos bayleaf
  • 5 nos cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 no black cardamom slightly crushed with the back of a knife
  • 1 heaped tsp dry ginger powder
  • 150 gms Yogurt
  • 4 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 pinch heeng read notes
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • salt as per taste


  • In a heavy bottomed pan or a wok, heat the mustard oil. Once it reaches smoking point, add the spices for tempering, ie cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom and bay leaf. Once they start to spluter, add the ratanjot. Ratanjot basically adds the extra red colour to the dish.
  • Now add the mutton pieces. Add the dry ginger powder and start browning the meat over high heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Now lower the heat and add salt. Continue stirring. Scrape the pan for the fat which will stick.
  • In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the heeng and then add a couple of tbsp of this to the mutton. Stir it well for a few minutes.
  • If your mutton is releasing too much water, increase the flame for sometime.
  • The process now is basically to gradually add yogurt and continue cooking. You do need to cover the pan also when you lower the heat for the mutton to cook slowly. Then femove the cover, increase the heat for sometime and keep stirring and slowly cooking the meat.
  • This entire process takes about an hour and half. At this point you mutton is almost cooked.
  • Then add the garam masala powder and the red chilli powder. Stir for sometime and then again cover and cook.
  • By this time the meat would have become rich dark red in colour. Finally check the seasoning once more and turn off the heat if the meat has become tender.
  • This dish is all about having the patience and slowly cooking with the yogurt.
  • Serve mutton rogan josh with steamed rice.


The amount of heeng or asafetida used depends on the potency of the spice. Too much heeng makes the dish bitter. So use wisely. The heeng I use is from Kabul gifted from a very dear friend. It is so strong that just a drop of it mixed with a bit of water is more than enough for any dish.