It was Mr Hangry Em’s birthday last week, and having a curry has pretty much been his birthday tradition since he can remember. Well, we couldn’t go out for one as he had an iso-birthday, so I brought the curry to him. His favourite is a rogan josh, and as a birthday gift to him I will call this a rogan jonny. Happy Birthday, babe.
Now you will soon learn that I love cooking a curry (and my spice collection would give it away if you hadn’t picked it up yet), and this rogan jonny is up there with being one of my favourites. It is hot. I got a bit crazy with the chilli, so please adjust to your taste buds (and be careful of adding more unless you are trying to replicate an episode of Hot Ones).
Song to cook to: Rich Girl, Lake Street Dive
Recipe feeds 2 (yeah we cleared this whole thing… it could probably feed a third person if you were feeling friendly/wiling to share)
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
1 large onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, grated
5cm piece of garlic, peeled and grated
600g lamb, diced (I got mixed cut lamb from the butcher, different parts of the lamb, some with bones… it is cheaper and just as delicious!)
1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp yogurt
5 green cardamom pods
3 black cardamom pods
3 dried bay leaves
3 dried red chillis (optional, to avoid watery eyes)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp karshmiri chilli powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 garam masala
Fresh coriander, chopped, to serve
Warning – this recipe is a labour of love – but totally worth it.
Start by popping the dried chillis in a bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle, and leave them to stew for 10 minutes.
Heat a frying pan over a low-medium heat and toast the cumin and fennel seeds. When they start getting aromatic, tip them into a pestle and mortar and grind them down to a course powder, with a large pinch of salt and some black pepper. Add in the dried spices and the grated ginger and garlic, pounding and mixing it all together. Add in a tbsp of olive oil to bring it all together and make a nice paste. Marvel at your work so far, you just made a banging curry paste baby.
In a large casserole or saucepan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil over a low-medium heat. Slightly crush the green and black cardamom pods and add them to the pan, along with the bay leaves and cloves. When they start becoming really fragrant (it will smell the bomb), add in the chopped onion, gently cooking for 5 minutes.
Stir in your curry paste, mashing it into the onion mix, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes to allow the ginger and garlic to cook. Add in your tomato paste, diced tomato and both the dried chillis and their water, and turn the heat up to medium high.
When the water has evaporated, add your lamb into the spicy tomato mix until it has seared on all sides. Don’t worry if there are lots of crispy brown pieces on the bottom of your pan – this is fond, which we like as it gives so much flavour. Add in the yogurt, mixing it into the meaty pieces, and then pour in 250ml water, again mixing so it combines into the yogurt, meat and tomato. The water will deglaze the fond from the bottom on the pan, and will be dispersed through the sauce… YES.
Bring the curry to a boil, and then put your pan onto the smallest hob, on it’s lowest heat. Simmer for 50 minutes with the lid on your pan, stirring occasionally. If you feel like the sauce is becoming too dry, splash in some water.
The sauce will slowly thicken and reduce, and the lamb will become tender and succulent. Serve with rice and some coriander sprinkled on top, and pat yourself on the back for creating something so bloody great. A lager is a perfect match here, or gallons of water if you cannot take the spice.