Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rogan Josh


After a summer of salads and grilled meats, I wanted something soul-satisfying and deeply flavored. "Rogan josh," my brain whispered.

I am not an expert in Indian food -- check out Chef Prasad if you want the real deal -- but I have had friends teach me the technique of frying spices in oil, so their flavors bloom.  I use this technique when I make beef chili too; it really makes a difference. Try it out if you've never used this technique before.

For the rogan josh, I used beef chuck instead of the more traditional lamb, and I used Penzey's rogan josh seasoning.  I am addicted to Penzey's spices. While I could have just used the spice mix, I threw in some fresh garlic, fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and some cardamom pods.  When they hit the oil, the most amazing warm smells fill the kitchen.

To finish the dish, I threw in fresh diced tomatoes and fresh cilantro for some brightness and served it with chickpea crepes and roasted cauliflower. Delicious (and low carb!).

Rogan Josh
1 lb. beef chuck or lamb
1 cinnamon stick (3-4 inches)
3 cardamom pods
1 1/2 inches ginger, peeled and cut into 4 slices or "coins"
2 bay leaves
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 jalapeno, diced (remove seeds and rinds if you want less heat)
2 tbs. Penzey's Rogan Josh seasoning
Few tbs. of yoghurt (or cream or coconut oil)
Salt and pepper
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh cilantro

Heat dutch oven or pressure cooker over medium-high heat until hot.  Add several tbs. of oil. 

Sear meat in batches on all sides, making sure the cubes don't touch each other and that the pot is not overcrowded (otherwise, the meat will kick off liquid and sweat).  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper as you cook it. Set browned meat on a plate as you cook the other batches.  Add more oil if necessary while you are browning.

Once you're done browning the meat, add more oil if necessary, turn the heat down to medium and add the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and bay leaves.  Fry in the oil for 30 seconds.  Add onions, garlic, and jalapenos.  Cook for five minutes or until the onions are translucent and browned, stirring occasionally.

Add 2 tbs. of Penzey's seasoning and a little salt and pepper to the onions. Stir until seasoning is incorporated.  Add back beef and it's juices.  Stir and cook for another minute.  Add a spoonful of yogurt and mix to incorporate.  Add two more spoonfuls, incorporating each time.  (Don't add the yogurt all at once as it won't mix in well and could separate.)

Add 1 cup or more of water to cover, and pressure cook for 30 minutes or cook for 1 1/2 hours in a regular dutch oven or until beef is tender.  If you use a pressure cooker, let it simmer after you take off the cover, so that the sauce reduces to a level you like (soupy, stewy, or dryer).

Stir in fresh tomatoes and taste.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

Top with fresh chopped cilantro and serve. (Note: let people know they should remove the ginger coins and cardamom pods if they come upon them.)