Chris and I love curry so when I had a piece of beef skirt that I’d picked up extra cheaply at the supermarket and was wondering what to do with it, I decided that it was time to try a new saucy curry that I could leave in the slow cooker all day. This Rogan Josh recipe came from a recipe book of 100 classic recipes that I keep as a browsing and ideas aid – thanks to our love of spiced food I had all the ingredients in my store cupboards already.
Rogan Josh means ‘red curry’ and it gets the red colouring from the red chillis that are used to make a curry paste. I used a hand blender to make the paste but there wasn’t really enough to get a good blend so I had to keep switching off and removing all the paste from round the blade to re-zap it with the blender. Alternatively use a pestle and mortar to create the paste, but if doing that I recommend preparing the spices more carefully, chopping the onion and grating the ginger rather than just finely chopping it.
It’s a bit fiddly but the result was so amazing that when Chris tried a taster spoonful he instantly demanded that I make a large vat of it for him at the weekend. Chris is very particular about his curries so I counted this as a huge success.
For those needing curry classification, this is not an extra hot curry but it is also not one for the weak-hearted. I’d classify it as medium-hot – I felt the kick while I ate it but, thanks to the paleo all-natural ingredients I suspect, I didn’t get horrible post-curry heartburn or churning stomach afterwards and the spice tang left my mouth after about 110-15 minutes.
The curry achieves its fieriness from the red chilli seeds that are, unusually, not discarded when you chop the chillies. If you don’t like your food so spicy, discard the seeds from one or two of the chillis (though do keep some of the seeds or it won’t be Rogan Josh any more).
Ingredients (serves 3-4 – unbelievably the recipe said it would feed 6!):
2 tbsp ghee
1kg braising steak (or other stewing beef), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated (or finely chopped if using a hand blender)
4 fresh red chillies, chopped (seeds retained)
Seeds from 4 green cardamon pods – crack them using the side of a knife blade and then peel away the pod skin over a bowl, saving the black seeds and discarding the green casing
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
125ml plain yoghurt or pouring cream
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick or ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
150ml hot water
¼ tsp garam masala
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Heat the ghee in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the meat in batches. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- Using a hand blender or a pestle and mortar grind together the garlic, ginger, chillies, cardamon seeds, cloves, coriander, cumin, paprika and salt to create a red paste.
- Put the onion in the ghee and stir over a high heat for 3-4 minutes (don’t leave unstirred or the onion will burn). At the end of this time add the spice paste and bay leaf and stir together over the heat until fragrant.
- Return the meat and any juices in the bowl to the casserole dish, mix in with the spices and onion and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Keep the sauce simmering and gradually stir in the yoghurt (or cream) keeping it moving and simmering – if using cream you will want to be careful to keep it moving to prevent the cream from curdling.
- Stir in the cinnamon and hot water, cover and place in the oven for 1.25 hours – the meat should be tender and the sauce slightly reduced. If using a slow cooker, transfer to the slow cooker dish after adding the cinnamon and water and cook on low for 6-8 hours (you may want to stir it occasionally to prevent any beef sticking up above the sauce-line from drying out, though this isn’t essential).
- Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick (if using one) and stir in the garam masala. Skim some of the surplus oil off the surface, unless you are used to oily curries, and serve.