Rogan Josh is a rich and flavorful curry from the beautiful valley of Kashmir. It features tender lamb or mutton slow-cooked to perfection with fragrant spices. This iconic Indian dish is renowned for its vibrant color, bold taste, and irresistibly tender meat, making it a favorite among curry lovers worldwide. Serve it with fluffy basmati rice or warm naan bread.

rogan josh ready to serve in a stainless pot
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Rogan Josh is a popular curry to order at restaurants, similar to butter chicken and chicken tikka masala.

This dish is traditionally cooked in a deep red sauce made from a blend of yogurt and various spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin. The cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, making the dish hearty and full of depth.

If you ask me, my preference for taste is always mutton over chicken. And this rogan josh recipe is an absolute favorite. It does take some time to cook the meat on the stovetop, but it is so worth it, just like this mutton biryani recipe!

Watch How to Make Rogan Josh

What is a Rogan Josh?

Rogan Josh is a classic Indian dish that originated in the Kashmir region. It typically uses tender chunks of meat, such as lamb or goat, simmered in a rich and aromatic sauce. “Rogan” translates to “oil or fat” and “josh” means “heat or passion” in Persian, which is fitting given the dish’s vibrant color and bold flavors.

Authentic rogan josh is made with mutton, which is goat meat. However, the same recipe works perfectly with lamb meat.

Typically, onions or tomatoes are not added to this curry, as it is from the Kashmir valley, where, during a good part of the year, fresh veggies are not available. Some people add blended fried onions to the curry to give it more volume and depth.

ready to serve rogan josh in a stainless pot garnished with cilantro

Traditional Vs. Modern Version

There are two main types of thought when it comes to Rogan Josh: the classic Kashmiri version and the more widely known modern interpretation.

  • The Kashmiri Way: This version skips the onions and tomatoes, relying on yogurt and spices to build the base. Sometimes, a touch of fried onion paste might be added at the end for a hint of sweetness.
  • The Modern Twist: Many restaurants and home cooks favor a thicker gravy that includes onions and sometimes tomatoes. 

However, I asked in a poll on Instagram stories, and most of you said you like the gravy with onions, so that’s the version I am sharing. However, I prefer not to add tomatoes to this curry to keep the authentic taste.

Ingredients in Rogan Josh

Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients you’ll need to make a Rogan Josh:

  • Mustard Oil – Used for its authentic flavor; you can also use ghee or vegetable oil as fine substitutes.
  • Yellow Onion – Forms the base of the gravy and adds sweetness.
  • Mutton or Lamb – The dish’s star, traditionally bone-in mutton, is used for deeper flavor, though lamb is also excellent. Use lamb shoulder for the best results.
  • Plain Yogurt – Adds creaminess and helps tenderize the meat.
  • Whole spices – You’ll need bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, black cardamom pods, cloves, and black peppercorns.
  • Ground Spices – You’ll need ginger powder, coriander powder, ground cumin, fennel powder, saffron, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and garam masala.
  • Cilantro Leaves – Adds color and flavor.

Note: I used ginger powder to keep this recipe authentic, but feel free to substitute with freshly grated ginger and add six cloves of minced garlic if you prefer.

ingredients needed for rogan josh

How to Make Rogan Josh?

  • Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Add mustard oil until it starts to smoke, then lower the heat a bit.
  • Toss in the chopped onion and cook it for about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and golden brown.
Saute onions to make puree
  • Then, remove the onion from the pot, transfer to a blender and blend it into a paste.
Onions pureed in a blender
  • In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt with all the ground spices.
create a yogurt mixture using spices
  • Add all the whole spices to the same pot with the oil. Let them sizzle for a minute to release their aroma.
  • Add the lamb or mutton pieces and cook them for 7-8 minutes, stirring often, until the meat browns on the outside.
add mutton to a pot to make rogan josh
  • Add the yogurt and spices mixture to the meat in two parts, stirring it well each time.
Add yogurt mixture into the pot
  • Let it simmer for a few minutes.
Mutton cooked with yogurt and spices in a pot
  • Add salt, the blended onion paste, and enough water to make a sauce.
add blended onion in the pot to cook rogan josh
  • Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer for about an hour or until the meat is tender. If the sauce gets too thick, add a bit more water.
  • Once the meat is cooked, remove the lid and simmer for a few more minutes to thicken the sauce again.
  • (Optional) Want a brighter red color? Heat some ghee in a separate pan. Then, take the pan off the heat and add the milder Kashmiri chili powder (be careful not to burn it!).

Note: In the authentic recipe, a spice named “Ratan Jot” is used to get the bright reddish color. See the details below for how to use it. However, ratan jot is not as easily available. Hence, I suggest using Kashmiri chili powder, which is mild but gives the curry the same reddish color.

melt ghee and add red chili powder in a pan
  • Mix it and add it to your curry.
cooked rogan josh ready to serve
  • That’s it! Garnish your Rogan Josh with fresh cilantro.
cooked rogan josh in a stainless pot opped with cilantro
  • Serve it with rice or flatbread for a delicious meal.
creamy rogan josh in a pot

How to use Ratan Jot?

Ratan Jot is a natural red colorant commonly used in traditional Kashmiri cuisine to give dishes like Rogan Josh their signature vibrant red hue. To use it, soak a small piece of the root in hot water until the water turns a deep red color, then add it to the dish while it simmers to infuse the sauce with its rich color and subtle flavor. Don’t worry if you can’t find it; a good Kashmiri red chili powder will do the trick.

Tips for The Best Rogan Josh 

  • Traditional rogan josh uses mustard oil, but ghee or vegetable oil works, too. If using mustard oil, heat it until smoking to reduce the intense flavor.
  • Kashmiri chili powder is milder than regular chili powder and adds a beautiful red color. Paprika can be substituted.
  • Fennel powder is optional but adds a unique flavor to the curry. If you can’t find it, you can leave it out.
  • The authentic recipe doesn’t include onions or tomatoes. You can skip the onions or use fried onions for a more traditional flavor.

What to Serve with Rogan Josh?

It goes excellent with fluffy basmati rice to soak up the sauce or soft roti or naan.

Add refreshing cucumber raita or tangy pickled onions to cool things down. You can also try naan, jeera rice, or vegetable pulao for a more flavorful side.

For a fabulous Indian dinner spread, make pakoras and aloo gobi along!

ready to serve rogan josh in a small stainless pot

How to Store and Reheat?

It is a fantastic make-ahead meal. Here’s the secret: like all stews and braises, the flavors actually intensify overnight!

  • Let your Rogan Josh cool completely before storing.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container (glass is ideal) and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Or, for even longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months. Portioning into individual containers makes reheating a breeze.


  • Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • If the curry seems a bit thick, you can loosen it up with a little water.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

More Restaurant-Style Curry Recipes

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Rogan Josh (Kashmiri Lamb Curry)

Rogan Josh is a rich and flavorful curry from the beautiful valley of Kashmir. This iconic Indian dish is renowned for its vibrant color, bold taste, and irresistibly tender meat, making it a favorite among curry lovers worldwide.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 tablespoons Mustard oil, Or substitute ghee or any vegetable oil, heat mustard oil till it smokes
  • 1 Yellow Onion, large, finely diced, about 225 grams
  • 1 1/2 pounds Mutton or Lamb, bone-in mutton or use boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped


Optional For Color


  • Heat a heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add mustard oil (or ghee) to it. If using mustard oil, heat till it smokes, then lower the heat.
  • Add onions and saute for 9-11 minutes till they are golden brown. Take out onions (leave the oil behind in the pan), transfer to a blender, and make a paste. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, add all the whole spices and saute for one minute until you get the aroma. If needed, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil.
  • Add the mutton or lamb pieces. Mix it all well and sear for 7-8 minutes while stirring frequently. The color on the outside of the meat will have changed by now.
  • Take yogurt in a bowl. Add all the ground spices and mix well.
  • Turn the heat to low. Add this yogurt mixture to the meat in 2 portions, stirring each time in between to incorporate the yogurt. Cook for 5-6 minutes while stirring continuously.
  • Add salt and onion paste, which was kept aside. Mix well with the curry. Cover with a lid and adjust the heat to low so it's simmering gently.
  • Cook for 1 hour or up to 1 hour 30 minutes, giving it an occasional stir, until the meat is tender. If the water has all dried up, then add 1/2 cup more hot water. Check that the meat is cooked well by using a fork.
  • Remove the lid, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes (to reduce the sauce slightly). The meat should be very tender by this stage.
  • (Optional) In a tadka pan, heat the ghee. Once hot, take the ghee off the flame. Then add the mild Kashmiri red chili powder to the ghee (we don't want the chili powder to burn). Mix and add to the curry. This helps to add an amazing bright color to the curry.
  • Your Mutton Rogan Josh is ready. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve it with roti or basmati rice.



Mustard oil or ghee: The traditional recipe uses mustard oil. It is important to heat the mustard oil till it smokes to reduce its pungency. If you cannot find mustard oil, use ghee or any vegetable oil of choice. You can also use butter if you prefer.
Kashmiri chili powder: For the wonderful color in this curry, use Kashmiri chili powder, especially if you are not able to find ratan jot. A good substitute is paprika.
Fennel powder: This is ground fennel seeds. If you can only find fennel seeds, toast them carefully on a dry skillet. Then, grind using a spice grinder. If you can’t find it, then it is okay to leave it out.
Onions: The traditional authentic recipe for Rogan Josh does not have onions or tomatoes, which are hard to find in Kashmir’s cold climate. However, I add the sauteed brown onion paste for a thicker sauce. If you prefer the authentic version, you can skip the onions. 
Ginger/Garlic: I used ginger powder to keep this recipe authentic, but feel free to substitute with freshly grated ginger and add six cloves of minced garlic if you prefer.
Mutton or Lamb: If you can find mutton/goat meat, use that in this recipe. I like to use bone-in mutton. Or you can use lamb shoulder. Cut it into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Trim large pieces of fat. You want 750g of lamb after trimming.


Calories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 25gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 729mgPotassium: 584mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 836IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 4mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Low Carb, Nut-free
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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