Neni Roganjosh

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The culinary world is divided into two categories – those who know an authentic kashmiri dish and those who do not. Over kill? May be! But hey! I am a Kashmiri. I am supposed to have a nose pointed high and I am supposed to be snobbish! It is something we master subconsciously. 😉

So when you go to a very fine looking, pricey Indian restaurant and order a Kashmiri roganjosh or a kashmiri naan or Heaven save you – a kashmiri dum aalo , chances are that you would be served a dish that has raisins, cashews, almonds etc.  Stay mislead no more! Those are NOT kashmiri dishes.

Authentic kashmiri entrees are spicy, most of them have aniseed (saunf) as their base.  The dishes that do not have saunf as their base, have very few additional ingredients. So except for shufta or Modur pulav or Qahwa – Or my granny’s special stuffed dum aloo , the dishes do not have any of the dry fruits.

Here is how to make this quintessential kashmiri dish :

Serves 6


  • 2 pounds  (boneless) 3 pounds bone in  Mutton/ Lamb
  • 1/2 C Whisked Plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 4 -5  cloves
  • 2  Brown Cardamoms
  • 1 Green Cardamom
  • 1  Cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 C  Mustard oil
  • 2 Tbs Kashmiri Chilli powder [ Use about 1 tsp for a very mild heat level, 1 Tbs for medium]
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger powder
  • 5 tsp Fennel powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Garam Masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

Special Equipment: A heavy bottomed pan at least 6 Quart (about 5 Litre) capacity


  1. Because we are using mustard oil, we  need to heat up the oil and bring it to a point where it smokes.  If you choose not to use mustard oil,  just remember you are in the other category .. the one that does not know authentic 😛
  2. When the oil smokes, turn off the heat and let the oil cool for some time (about 2- 3 minutes). The heating step is important to eliminate the pungent taste of the oil. And we need to cool it as we don’t want oil splattering all over the cook top; or burn the spices when we add them to an oil that’s way too hot!  Now do we?
  3. Start reheating the oil on medium heat and add the cloves, cardamom green and brown, cinnamon and let them brown a bit. Slow and easy!
  4. I am assuming you wash the meat and dry it up with a paper towel. So If I am assuming right, go ahead and put the meat into the oil. If not, then stop what you are doing and pat the meat dry and then add to the oil. This is to avoid any hot oil accidents in your kitchen.
  5. Turn up the heat to high, and let the meat brown a bit on one side first. Then stir and let it brown on the other. Ensure you have evenly browned meat in the pan before the next step.
  6. Lower heat to medium, Add the whisked yogurt and stir until the yogurt almost evaporates.
  7. Add the chilli powder and immediately add some( about 1/4th cup) water. We need the chillies to coat the meat without them getting burnt.
  8. Stir until meat is well coated with the chillies and the oil starts to separate.
  9. Now add all the other spices, but no salt yet.
  10. Add the remaining water and after it comes to a boil, add the salt, simmer until the lamb is fork tender and the oil separates(about 25 – 30 min)
  11. Stir once a while simmering, to ensure that the spices do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  12. Once cooked to your desired tenderness, switch off heat, cover and let it rest for a few hours before serving.

You may serve this with Naan/ Roti/ Rice and Haakh . No Dal with this please. That sort of makes the Kashmiri in me squirm!

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