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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Rogan Josh (Indian and Iranian beef/lamb stew)

There are times - like cold and dark days - when one feels like a warm stew. This one comes from the non-vegetarian minority in Indian gastronomy and it has Persian origins :). It's specific to the region of Kashmir in India, and known since ancient times in Iran. It's usually made with lamb, but beef is not an uncommon replacement. In Persian, "Rogan" means clarified butter or fat, while "Josh" means hot, heat or passionate :). "Rogan" also means the red color, stemming from the same Indo-European root which is the source for the French "rouge" or the Spanish "rojo". These little details make me inexplicably giddy :).
To get to the dish itself, it contains beef or lamb cubes slowly stewed in a tomato and spice pasta, enriched a bit with light yogurt, and all served on a bed of simple basmati rice. It takes a while to make, but it's one of the dishes where the long cooking time really pays off: the meat becomes more and more tender, and the flavors blend and fall in love with each other more and more. Enjoy :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Orrecchiete with onion and sage sauce.
Two years ago: Flammkuchen (Tarte flambée) (Alsacian).
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 500 g beef or lamb stew meat, cubed (I used beef)
  • 20-30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder (or 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 500 ml jar of tomato paste
  • 200 g yogurt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • basmati rice to serve 

Heat the oil in a large pot (preferably heavy bottomed, like a cast iron pot). Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and add them to the hot oil:

Cook the beef cubes over medium heat, turning and stirring once in a while, until browned all over (about 10 minutes).

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate. Add the chopped onion to the pot. Cook over moderate heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne, bay leaves and curry powder.

Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, yogurt and broth. Bring to a boil and season with salt.

Return the meat and any juices it left in the plate to the pot:

Stir well, then partially cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender. Add the garam masala:

Mix and cook for another 5-10 minutes, uncovered. Remove and discard the bay leaves. The stew is done:

Spoon it over warm rice on serving plates:

Dig in! :)

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