Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

A Most Excellent Rogan Josh and Saffron Rice

Book: Food Safari by Maeve O’Meara (recipe by Kumar Mahadevan) Theme: Indian Recipe: Rogan Josh

This week flew, didn’t it? The Cookbook Challenge Week 2 theme is Indian. I have been itching to buy myself an Indian cookbook as I love making Indian food but never really got around to it. The Food Safari book is the companion to the Food Safari series (which I love and have on DVDs despite not having a functional TV at home). It has amazing recipes – which better still can be watched individually on the SBS Food website

This recipe is such a winner. It’s spicy, and oniony and meaty. The lamb was just so soft and rich. We have a bit of love for this Kashmiri specialty in our house because Josh orders a rogan josh when he is out of ideas at Indian restaurants simply because of its name. We amazingly enough never made it at home. I told Josh the night before about the idea of making rogan josh for the Cookbook Challenge and came home to find that he had defrosted the lamb chops, bought some tomatoes and fennel seeds and already made a start on chopping up the onions so I ended up backseat-cooking and helping him chopping things instead. He did most of the cooking.

We tweaked the recipe a little bit due to availability of ingredients – substituting here and there. But the full recipe, including a video, is available on the SBS Food site

Rogan Josh (serves 4)

  1. 1/2 kg lamb loin chops (about 4-5), bone removed, excess fat trimmed (keep some) and cut into cubes
  2. 1/2 kg red onions (about 3 large ones), sliced
  3. 1 tsp of salt
  4. 2 bay leaves (we used fresh but I’m sure dried is the norm)
  5. 1 tsp of cloves
  6. 1/2 tbsp of green cardamon pods
  7. 1 piece of cinnamon quill
  8. 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  9. 1 fresh bird’s eye chilli, halved lengthwise (keep the stem)
  10. 2 tbsp of jarred ginger and garlic paste *
  11. 1 fresh large ripe tomato, chopped
  12. 2 tsbp of tomato paste
  13. 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  14. 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  15. 1 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  16. 2 tsbp of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and add dried whole spices: bay leaves, cloves, cardamon pods, fennel seeds and cinnamon quill. Add the sliced onions and cook on medium heat until they are nice and browned. Add the ginger and garlic paste and the powdered spices. Add a bit of salt and toss around. Add the chopped tomato, tomato paste and the rest of the salt.  Turn the heat up and add the meat and toss around until they are sealed. Add a bit of water, stir and leave to simmer for half an hour. Turn off the heat and add chopped coriander and toss through.

Saffron Rice (serves 4)

I found a few of the saffron rice recipe online so I just kinda made things up here. The rice turned out beautifully but alas it wasn’t at all yellow despite the saffron being quite strong. I suppose ‘saffron’ rice at Indian restaurant just has the colouring in it because they never really tasted like real saffron to me.

  1. 2 cups of basmati rice, washed
  2. 1 red onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 large pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 3 tbsp of hot water for 10 minutes
  4. 1/2 tsp of cardamon pods
  5. a few pinches of salt

Add a bit of oil in the rice cooker (you have to keep holding down the cook button) until it’s hot. Add the onion and cardamon and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and toss around gently until the rice becomes too hot to touch. Add about 3 1/2 cups of boiling water (this water depends on your rice cooker and your rice) and throw in the saffron and its water. Stir. Leave to cook in the cooker.

To serve, sprinkle with crispy fried shallots. I just use the bottled ones.

* Available from Indian grocery store. Fresh ginger and garlic are better of course but because we use so much of it, this is much more convenient. I normally sprinkle some chopped fresh ginger in at the end of curries to give it that fresh ginger taste to compensate for the use of jarred paste.

Update 2/12/2009: see what everyone else made for the Cookbook Challenge Week 2