Is Your Indian Restaurant Serving an Authentic Rogan Josh?


One of the favourite dishes that is served in typical Indian restaurants in Australia is Rogan Josh. This particular curry has been served for decades all over the western world as well as in restaurants throughout the sub-continent. Although there are plenty of restaurants in the country which make an authentic version of this fine dish, not every Indian restaurant around is quite so traditional, perhaps altering cooking methods or ingredients. If you are looking for the authentic version of Rogan Josh at your local restaurant, then what should you be looking out for? 

  • A Fragrant Dish With Two Names 

Firstly, Rogan Josh is an aromatic dish so you should immediately detect it from smell rather than its appearance. Bear in mind that although the dish is served widely all over Pakistan and India, it is originally a Persian dish that found favour in the region of Kashmir. It is sometimes referred to as Rogan Ghosht rather than Rogan Josh, depending on whether or not the restaurant that is serving it is predominantly Hindi or Urdu-speaking. 

  • The Importance of Meat

The choice of meat that will be included in a Rogan Josh is crucial. In Kashmiri cuisine, it is red meat that must be used. Since Hindu people do not consume beef and many non-Hindus in India also do not eat it out of religious respect, it is much more common for a Rogan Josh to be prepared with either lamb or goat meat. In the case of goat, or mutton for that matter, a long stewing time is required in order to properly tenderise the meat. 

  • A Ghee-Based Curry

One of the other signature ingredients in a Rogan Josh is clarified butter. This is often referred to as ghee in Indian restaurants. If your curry is prepared with vegetable or palm oil, then it will not have the signature flavour of a real Rogan Josh.

  • Spices and Other Flavours

When your restaurant prepares a Rogan Josh from scratch, it will braise bite-sized pieces of red meat in ghee along with garlic, ginger, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and, finally, bay leaves. If other spices are added, then this does not necessarily mean that the Rogan Josh is inauthentic, but further flavours should be added later. Typically, onions and yoghurt are also added to the curry. In addition, chilli heat will be added at a later time, ideally from chillies which are deseeded and dried. Since Kashmiri chillies are not widely available all over the country, some restaurants will approximate their distinctive flavour with a mixture of paprika and cayenne pepper. Saffron is another ingredient which is optional. A Rogan Josh without it is considered by many to be the most traditional version, but this is disputed by others. 

  • To Add Tomatoes Or Not?

Finally, it is important to mention that some Australian restaurants will serve a Rogan Josh wet with a high tomato content added to the meat and spices before the dish is served. This is certainly the way that Rogan Josh tends to be served in the UK, for example. However, most Indian food writers now agree that Rogan Josh with tomatoes is the traditional Punjabi version of the dish. Therefore, if yours is served without tomatoes, then you cannot really claim that it is an inauthentic version.


28 April 2019

Choosing a fine dining restaurant

When I decided to ask my girlfriend to marry me, I of course wanted the night to be really special. I knew she wanted to have a full movie proposal where we go to a fine dining restaurant, eat great meals and then have me get down on one knee and ask her to marry me. I checked which restaurants offered that kind of service and I even gathered some pictures from her favourite movie so I can get a place that perfectly matches what she was after. I ended up making this the perfect night. This blog is all about finding fine dining restaurants for the special dinners in your life.