While the Western Cape is known for its magnificent restaurants we sadly lack good, authentic Indian Restaurants in my area so when I have a craving for Indian I start paging through my pile of recipe books.

This week I felt like a favourite on Indian menus, Rogan Josh, also known as Roghan Ghosht.

I do occasionally use a good quality commercial curry paste for tikka or rogan josh, but I find I tire of those flavours and when the mood takes me I make something from scratch!

In researching Indian recipes one thing is clear is that while the core flavour and components are similar every recipe differs.

As with all ‘culturally authentic’ recipes every mamma or chef put their personal stamp on it.

I had not made Rogan Josh for many years so I complied a recipe from various sources using what I felt looked good. And I added lentils, which is probably a cardinal sin! I assure you the result was delicious. Lentils thicken the sauce naturally without changing the flavour and add an extra boost of plant based protein.

You can use boneless meat, but lately I try to use bone in cuts when making stews or casseroles to generate some much lauded collagen in my diet. ‘Bone-in’ meat is not always ‘socially attractive’ to eat so by all means go boneless if you wish!

Rogan Josh is an aromatic mutton dish of Persian origin

which found its way to Kashmir and then Northern India. It is not a hot curry, but has a lovely exotic fragrance from the spices. Cardamom, cumin seeds, bay leaves and ginger impart that. It is an excellent family curry and ideal for those who can’t take the chilli heat.

The name Rogan Josh, is translated as ‘red meat’. The orange-red colour comes from the tomatoes, paprika and turmeric. Apparently there is also a Kashmiri chilli that also imparts a red hue to food.


The meat used is traditionally mutton or goat. In India mutton on a menu is usually goat, but locally we would use lamb. If you can find goat meat, use it in curries. It is delicious!

The addition of yoghurt is optional. In this recipe I prefer not to add it as I think it dilutes the delicate spices.

I also use chilli flakes as one needs some heat but it must be delicate. I find chilli flakes work well here.

The pressure cooker gives you tender meat in just 20 minutes.  Then I leave it to warm for 30 minutes, this gives the lentils time to plump up and become integrated with the sauce.

Serve the curry with the rice of your choice. Traditionally Basmati is served, but I like to play around with brown and wild rice too.

Add naan bread or roti to complete an authentic meal.

Recipe: Lamb Rogan  Josh with Lentils