Saturday, April 9, 2011

Roghan Josh

Roghan Josh, also spelled Rogan josh, is a well known Kashmiri dish.  From Persian, "roghan" means ghee/oil/butter/fat and "josh" means like bubbling hot with it is like "hot bubbling fat." What a fatilicious name!

There are a lot of roghan josh recipes on the internet. Most are faux Mughlai/Punjabi restaurant style recipes and contain cream and tomatoes, neither of which are found in Kashmiri Pandit or Waza Roghan Josh recipes. It is actually pretty hard to google up an authentic recipe without some digging and research. For some basic info on Kashmiri Pandit and Wazwan cuisines, see here.

I wanted to share two recipes for Roghan Josh that I acquired after a lot of hunting online. I have tried them both multiple times, and they are both good. One is a Pandit recipe, and the other a Muslim recipe.

The Pandit style recipe I found at the another subcontinent forums from poster Suman. (post #1) (The Another Subcontinent forums has a wealth of anecdotal South Asia food information, tips and recipes. Every once in a while I just sit there and read food threads for a hour.) 

Rogan Josh.

(somehow blogger is not letting me link above anymore so I linked the source here)

1 llb lamb, cut into small pieces
couple tblsp mustard oil or substitute.

4 cloves/laung
1" dalchini/cinnamon
2 black cardamom
couple small bay leaves

1/4 tsp hing
2 tsp saunf/fennel
1/2 tsp sonth/dry ginger powder
salt, chilly powder

4 powdered green cardamon
1/4 cup yogurt, beaten till smooth.

Saffron optional.

In the hot oil put in the whole spices(cloves, cinammon, cardamom, bay leaves) and stir for a few seconds till fragrant. Add the lamb and the hing and fry on fairly high heat until speckled with brown. This should take between 5 to eight minutes. Add the saunf, saunth, chilly powder, and salt and fry for a minute or so. It should be pretty fragrant by now.

Reduce the heat, add the beaten yogurt and powdered green cardamom and keep stirring till it comes to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook till done. In LA the lamb takes about 30 minutes to cook, so adjust cooking time and the quantity of water.

Saffron can be added when done and simmered for a couple minutes more.

The resulting gravy should have body, should not be watery and is served with rice.

A green vege, stir fried with a tadka of a pinch each of hing and clove powder plus a whack of chilly goes very well with this.

I pretty much followed Suman's recipe to a T, but I used bone-in mutton and cooked for 1 and a half hours till tender, not 30 mins, I used sunflower oil (I don't like the taste of mustard oil), I powdered the saunf/fennel seeds and beat it in with the powdered cardamom, and I did not use saffron. It came out very nicely.

The second recipe was posted here by a Ms Princess W in the India Mike food section (post #55) by a US origin lady married to a Kashmiri Muslim and living in Indian Kashmir. At the time she posted, she was learning Kashmiri Muslim style cooking from her in-laws. I also recommend that you read through that entire thread as she and other posters share more information on Roghan Josh and Kashmiri cuisine.

Roghan Josh

(once again fickle blogger is ignoring my instructions to hyperlink above, so source is linked here)

1 kg lamb, bone in

1/2 to 1 cup Mustard Oil

3 Onions, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 1/2 cup plain curd, beaten to a liquid consistency

3 black cardamom pods

4 whole cloves

1" stick cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp red chili powder (if you want the red colour & more spice)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 green chilis, minced

1 Tablespoon dried mint leaves

2 teaspoons fennel, ground (can use whole seeds if you prefer)

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

First, boil the lamb in a kettle of water seasoned with salt and one of the black cardamoms. Boil about 10 minutes and remove. Reserve water.

In pressure cooker, fry onions in oil until golden brown and somewhat crisp. Remove and grind the onions with the garlic and ginger to form a paste. Add cloves and minced chilis to the hot oil and fry about 30 seconds. Add lamb to the oil and brown just a little, then add the rest of the seasonings and about 2 cups of the reserved lamb broth. Place the cover on the pressure cooker and let it come to full pressure. After 3 or 4 "whistles", reduce heat and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cooker cool naturally before opening.

Check the tenderess of the meat. If it comes off the bone easily, it is ready. Add the beaten curd to the pot and stir well. Let the Roghan Josh simmer on very low about 1/2 hour to blend the flavors, then let stand about 1 to 2 hours, or better yet, refrigerate, then heat n serve the next day, topped with the coriander leaves.

Here is my picture of the rendition of Ms Princess W's recipe.

 I used chaampen or mutton chops rather than botees as that is what I had on hand that day. Nice hot fat floating on the top, eh? And check out the red color! I did not pressure cook the lamb but cooked it stove top. Ms Princess W doesn't mention cockscomb here, but I also added paprika instead of more red chile powder to imitate the color of Kashmiri cockscomb flower, which obviously is hard to procure outside of Kashmir. Paprika is a good option instead of extra red chile powder since obviously the heat factor would be uncharacteristically amplified by extra chile. I also omitted the dried mint because I didn't have any. And just like with Suman's recipe, I forwent the traditional mustard oil simply because I am not a huge fan of the taste. It was a nice dish, and with the Kashmiri waza method of adding seasonings to a yakhni/broth and perfuming a dish with fennel, this dish was very distinct from my typical daily tamaatar-pyaaz Pakistani saalans.

I often create my own recipes by adapting and combining recipes from friends, in-laws, books and online, and altering methods and ingredients slightly to suit my taste and cooking style. Here you have two simple and authentic recipes that you can do the same with.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where Do You Store Your Masalas?

I have been eyeballing this pricy Tablefare SpiceCare Interlocking spice storage system for a while, but haven't found any in depth unaffiliated reviews of the product. I asked about it on my favorite foodie website, Chowhound, but no one responded to my query. It looks great, though. I am afraid it will cause fumbling and I will have to unlock a lot of stuff all at once to get out a few spices. The SpiceCare thingy was recommended by Chef Bosco Pereira on twitter (@Chef_Bosco), so that's how I found out about it, and I trust what Chef Bosco says a lot. (His tweet soliloquies on South and South East Asian food are awesome. His food-knowledge is as vast as the Seven Seas!) But I'd still like to read some feedback on the product before investing in it.

In my daily cooking, I usually cook the typical dishes of my husband's particular community. For those dishes, I keep the fast moving standard every-dish spices in a masala dabba.  Spices I use less frequently are in clear plastic jars with lids (the little jars are about 16 oz in size, I'd say). They are just all stuffed in the cupboard. There are some I keep at the front of the cupboard, but I step up on a step-stool to dig around for others. I have a friend who keeps all of her spices in a clear plastic jars but keeps the jars in clear plastic stackable storage drawers so the spices are easy to see and take out. Awesome idea! But never got around to doing that. I should really do that, I suppose.
The spices I purchase usually come in large plastic baggies. Here is what I do with the plastic spice baggies: If it is a fast moving spice for me like red chile powder or cumin, I pour some in a plastic jar, some in the masala dabba cup, and then use the tiny bit left over in the baggie first. If it is a very slow moving spice, I pour it into the plastic container, and I toss out the few tablespoons which are left over at the bottom because I know it will go stale before I use it all. It is a waste, I know, but I buy the spices cheaply at the Indian market, so no worries. Before I started tossing them out, I kept the left over amount in its baggie closed with a rubber band, but it would just sit in my cupboard for ages and I would end up throwing it away anyway. For Shan masalas, I mostly use only a couple of teaspoons at a time, so I keep them in the boxes in which they come. For rice and chapati ata, I have them in giant clear plastic locking storage boxes, and for daals, I have them in one drawer in medium sized lockable clear plastic bins.
What about you? If you are a spicy home cook, how do you store your masalas? Any recommendations?