lamb rogan josh

Out of all our adventures and experiments with the slow cooker, this lamb rogan josh is my favourite so far. It’s easy (don’t let the long ingredient list spook you…um,think of it as four batches of ingredients). And it tastes like how it should, not some sort of slow cooked compromise.

On first taste, curries taste one dimensional – the best thing you can do for a curry is leave it overnight and it will transform into deliciously complex flavours.

Just think about how old the curry is from your local to taste that good…

Here are some bullet points to remember:

~ Before slow cooking, brown the meat and aromatics. For extra flavour, deglaze any sticky bits in the pan and add to the pot. There are swanky (expensive) slow cookers with stovetop safe crock pots, which means you can brown off the meat and slow cook in the same pot.

~ Reduce the the volume of added liquid by half or more, as any liquid produced during cooking will not evaporate.

~ Resist lifting the lid. The heat escapes and true to its name, the slow cooker is sloooooow to heat up. So unless you’d like to wait (even longer) for the food, don’t peek!

(Our slow cooker was one of K’s birthday pressies – thanks Todd!)

~*~

Rogan Josh
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking

To make life easier, use a food processor to whizz the ginger and garlic into a paste and chop the onions too.  Also, group together the whole spices (cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon) and ground spices (coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne) to prevent the mid-recipe frantic dash through the kitchen cupboards.

I’ve reduced the amount of ground paprika from 4 tsp to 3 tsp. (The original curry was spicy to the point of bitter, however if you like your curries very intense, load ’em up!)

Serves 4

2 inches ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
10 tbsp oil
1 kg boned lamb shoulder or leg, cut into bitesized chunks
10 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
2 medium brown onions, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
3 tsp red paprika, to taste
1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup water (2 cups, if cooking with stovetop only)
6 tbsp plain yogurt
1/4 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp pepper, ground

In a food processor (or if you don’t have a food processor or are a masochist – a mortar and pestle), blend the garlic and ginger into a paste with 4 tablespoons of water.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Brown the lamb in batches and set aside.

Into the same oil, add the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Heat until the bay leaves begin to take on colour. Don’t leave the pan unattended, spices burn exceptionally quick and burnt spices can not be saved!

Add the onions and cook until they colour slightly – depending on moisture this will take 5 -10 minutes. Add the garlic ginger paste and allow to heat through for 30 seconds. Add the powdered spices: coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir to heat through and then add the lamb and accumulated meaty juices.

Stir in the yogurt a tablespoon at a time – this ‘technique’ is supposed to prevent curdling but I don’t think it makes a difference if the whole lots goes in at once. Apparently some yogurts curdle more than others – I used Harvey Fresh with no problems.

Pour in the water and deglaze the pan (scrape up any bits sticking to the pan). Bring to the boil. If using a slow cooker, transfer the curry to the cooker.

If using the old fashioned stovetop, turn the heat to low and simmer.

For a slow cooker, at this point you can walk away until ready to eat (6-8 hours) – all the hard work has been done. On a stovetop, the curry has to be stirred every now and then, to prevent the bottom burning.

Just before serving, taste and season accordingly. Sprinkle the curry with garam marsala and freshly ground black pepper. Eat with basmati rice while praising the genius of slow cookers. Or make plans to buy one.

~*~

~ M

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