It’s not necessary food always need to tickle the sweet memory spots. I cooked mutton Rogan Josh after almost 8 years. The last time I made this, I was 10 kg lighter, CPI (M) was still in power in West Bengal and a certain gentleman called Virat Kohli was still playing Ranji trophy. I was not a food blogger then …….
After our tour to Kashmir and through Madhushree’s class mate Arti Zutshi, her brother Samir and aunty (Arti’s mother), we know by now that the preparations are different of the same dish when prepared by the Kashmiri Muslims and the Pandits. Main difference is the use of Onion and garlic. As Madhushree called up Aunty to get the recipe on a Saturday, I volunteered to cook this out and explore the recipe received via whatsapp. I can safely boast about my Kosha Mangsho cooking skills with practice but I was looking forward to add on to my repertoire.
No over night marination, no rare ingredients, not much of complicated cooking techniques make mutton rogan Josh a go to dish for me. The process starts with frying the mutton brown in high flame with bayleaf, cloves and dalchini and we added ratanjot also. Just like an unedited RAW version of a film is not a testimony to the final product, this holds true for this also. As the mutton turns slightly brown and starts leaving water, the key step is adding the curd in phases and not in one go.
I asked Aditti Ahluwalia in facebook , one of the Admins of the facebook group Mealability The flavour of Kashmir and this is what she had to say
Rogan Josh originated in Persia.This dish was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. The Mughals, during the invasion of India, mostly inhabited the plains, but to escape the perils of hot summers they would head to the mountainous, cool and heavenly province of Kashmir.Their presence in this enchanting land led to the blossoming of Kashmiri Cuisine with the influence of the Persian flavours/techniques.Now, Roughan, in Urdu/Persian means clarified butter.Incidentally in Irish, the word ROGAN means “red haired” !!! . And when I looked up the literal meaning of Josh , it comes up with “fire/heat” amongst many other synonyms but this word could also have been derived from the Persian verb “Jusidan Kandan” which means “to boil”…
And the marriage (संधि) between the two words led to the birth of RoganJosh..!!!
Some say in Persian Rogan means – clarified butter too.
Its characteristic intense deep red colour traditionally comes from Alkanet root (Ratan Jot) or Mawal (cockscomb) and yes from liberal amounts of dried Kashmiri red chilli powder.The use of colouring agents is entirely optional 😊The recipe’s spice levels emphasise on aroma rather than heat.
There are significant differences in preparation between the Hindu and Muslim dishes in Kashmir. Muslims use praan, a local shallot tasting of garlic, and petals of maval, the Cockscomb flower, for cooling and colouring effect. Kashmiri Pandits do not use praan, onion or garlic but add yogurt to give additional body and flavour.”
While preparing this, the fun starts when the mutton turns brown. Add some Kashmiri chili powder and Garam masala and then start adding the beaten up yogurt but slowly nut not at one go. It’s like slowly putting on make up for a bride. Add one/ two spoons of yogurt, slow cook it then add some more and keep on going like that. Don’t forget to add asafoetida in the yogurt and whisk it well.
Next time you are home – let me prepare this for you. Get some bottles of beer and some good conversations on cricket or music – you can get the chef in me going. Yes, the Rogan Josh is supposed to be had with Rice and most of the times they take up Haak with this. I had Mutton Rogan Josh more than couple of times in Kashmir and although the onion and garlic becomes the differentiating factor, I like both. I often say and believe that food unites us all, when I think of Mutton Rogan Josh I wonder if it is true?
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