Getting in to the makeup room every morning at work, and the hour that follows, is usually the most relaxing part of my day. And why wouldn’t it be. I sit in a chair while immensely talented and beautiful make up artists tame my hair, fix my face and provide the most stimulating conversations ever. Depending on who it is on the day, by the time my hair is perfect and my skin flawless, I’ve either delivered a lecture on Kashmiri history, chatted about Shakespeare, or ooh-ed and aah-ed over homemade sourdough bread. A few months ago, on an exceptionally good day, we managed to tick all three of those lovely boxes, and I ended up inviting my make up artist Cate over to mine, so she could watch me cook a traditional Kashmiri Lamb Curry – the RoghanJosh. Of course it took us forever to work dates/ schedules out, but we finally managed to make it happen last week. Added bonus, Marianne – another one of my lovely make up ladies – came along as well. Much fun was had as we chatted and cooked and sipped our drinks. Here’s the recipe for you guys. Must thank Cate for her lovely note-taking, and pictures.
1 Kg lamb (You could use any cut, but chops are great – meat, fat, bone. Oh yeah.)
Whole Spices – Kashmiri cooking is all about whole spices. I tend to dry roast and grind some of mine purely because my five year old is a drama-queen + pea prince rolled into one, and hates ‘seeds’ in his food.
Seeds from 7 – because odd numbers are better than even. Yup – black cardamom pods
1-2 teaspoons of coriander seeds – optional. Kashmiri cooking doesn’t use these a lot, but I love their slightly nutty, aromatic flavour.
2 -3 black pepper corns
1-2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 long stick of cinnamon
Ground Spices –
1-2 teaspoons of fennel powder
1-2 teaspoons of turmeric
1-2 teaspoons of Kashmiri red chilli powder
3-4 medium sized shallots – finely sliced.
3-4 fat cloves of garlic – ground.
1 inch ginger root (optional) – ground.
Around 400-500gms of Yoghurt.
Oil for cooking – I use olive oil but vegetable oil is fine. As is ghee. Whatever rocks your boat.
Take a thick-bottomed pan, big enough for all that meat. Once the pan is hot, add a generous amount of oil. Add the shallots and cook on a high flame for a few minutes till they are soft and translucent.
Add the meat and fry till golden brown.
Add all the whole spices (if you, like my son, don’t like “seeds” in your curry, or prefer a slightly more intense flavour, then all you need to do is dry roast the whole spices, except cinnamon, and grind them in a pestle&mortar, before adding to the meat. Boom), and fry, till it all smells gorgeous (5-6 minutes).
Next, add all of your ground spices to the pan, and fry those. Add garlic and ginger. Stir well, making sure to coat all of your meat with the spices.
Now is the time to start adding your yoghurt to the pan, a little at a time, making sure its cooked through before adding more. Once all the yoghurt is in, bring the pan to a boil. Add salt. Let it cook on a high flame for a couple of minutes before turning the heat right down. Put the lid on and forget about it for about an hour and a half till the meat is terribly tender and falling off the bone, and the gravy is rich and thick and beautiful. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with lots of steamed white rice.