Braised food

Rogan Josh Recipe (Kashmir Chili – Braised Lamb)

Smoked red Kashmiri chili powder and rich ghee are the bases of this recipe from Ahdoo Hotel in Srinagar, Kashmir. Prepared for weddings and other auspicious occasions, the Kashmiri feast wazwan can consist of up to 36 dishes, often including these tender lamb shanks. The cooks who prepare the banquet are supervised by a wouste waze, or master chef, trained in the art of this meat-centric meal. This rogan josh recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 India special.

Rogan Josh (Kashmir Chili – Braised Lamb)

Smoky red Kashmiri chili powder and rich ghee are the sauce bases for the tender lamb shanks in this classic Indian dish.

Yield: for 4


  • 1½ tsp. Kashmiri Chilli Powder

  • 2 tbsp. ground fennel seeds

  • 2 tbsp. grounded ginger

  • 1 C. asafetida

  • 1 C. cumin seeds

  • 8 green cardamom pods

  • 2 ground blades or 1 tbsp. floor

  • 1 cinnamon stick, cut in half

  • ⅓ cups of ghee

  • 5 black cardamom pods, broken with the heel of a knife or mortar and pestle

  • 4 lamb shanks, halved crosswise (ask your butcher to do this)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • ¼ tsp. crushed saffron threads

  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro

  • Cooked white rice or naan bread, for serving (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Kashmiri chili, fennel, ginger, asafoetida and ½ cup of water to make a paste. In a spice grinder, grind the cumin, green cardamom, mace and cinnamon into a powder.

  2. In a large Dutch oven set to medium-high heat, add the ghee and black cardamom and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Season the lamb generously with salt and, working in batches, fry in the ghee, turning once or twice, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the saffron, reserved paste and 2 cups of water. When liquid boils, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 55 minutes. Stir in reserved spice powder, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is very tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.