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15 September 2014 @ 07:19 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week One: Rogan Josh  
Some time around two years ago, softlykarou and I started a tradition of curry night on Mondays. Since she was gone a couple nights a week for school activities, she'd make a big wok of curry, we'd both eat it together, and then I'd eat it through the rest of the week. She'd always make pretty much the same recipe--Thai curry with a coconut milk base and whatever vegetables we had handy--since I don't really need that much variation in my diet, but a few days ago she came to me with the copy of 50 Great Curries of India we received as a gift a while back and a proposition. Switch away from the same curry, and cook one curry each week for fifty weeks until we'd gone through all the curries. I agreed, and furthermore proposed that I'd write about each of the curries on my blog, and here we are.

Ingredients! Note the huge hunks of lamb.

Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri curry. I'm not actually sure what that entails, other than the recipe saying that Kashmiri curries are distinguished by the use of Kashmiri red pepper and fennel powder. I didn't really taste either of those, though. The main taste I got from the finished curry, other than the lamb, was cardamom. The recipe called for black cardamom, but we couldn't find it in our usual places and didn't want to go too far afield for a spice we probably wouldn't use that often, so instead softlykarou used a bit more green cardamom. No complaints from me--cardamom is great.

Here's the curry with yogurt and spices, but pre-meat.

The sauce was thinner than I'm used to with coconut milk. softlykarou actually said it was bit more watery than she would have liked, and she added a bit of almond flour to try to thicken it up. She poured hers over rice and I had mine with rice on the side, both because I unthinkingly started rice and because the recipe said that it's traditionally eaten with boiled rice so I'm retroactively justified. Though softlykarou did say that she was thinking of having curried potatoes on the side until she saw that I had started the rice. I'll have to remember to plan for having other side dishes in the future.

Words from the Chef
In terms of cooking it was pretty easy, the shallots got a little burnt which worried me, but it apparently just added some nice depth. Other than that it was super easy to make. I could take care of most of the spice and shallot prep while the meat boiled. Given that the lamb had the potential to be fairly tough, it was actually pretty tender.

In terms of flavor, it was pretty good. It didn't have the spice or creaminess i was used to. My issue was I used a bit too much of the cooking liquid. I need to measure that out a bit more in the future. However, the cardamom taste came out nicely, and was easily the strongest flavor. I think I'd make it again but with a few other cuts of meat in the curry to add some more richness to it. For a first attempt it certainly wasn't bad and I learned some key lessons for next time!

It's just as tasty as it looks.

Speaking of side dishes, softlykarou made some zucchini on the side since our usual Thai curry has whatever vegetables we have around the house thrown into it each week. Originally I ate it separately, but the curry sauce was so tasty I eventually mixed in the zucchini and the rice together to soak up as much of it as I can. The lamb was good, but the sauce was definitely the standout portion of this curry. I could see making it and just putting it over bread (also implied by the book, since roti is a traditional accompaniment) or as a vegetable stew.

Would I Eat It Again?: Yes
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: No
What Would I Change?: Add some vegetables. I know most Indian curries tend to be sauce/meat with a couple vegetables, but see above with the zucchini. It wouldn't need much, just a bit.

Bonus photo! The chef at work:
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Rachel & Miles Xplain the X-Men podcast
Wouldn't you like to knowlibby_may on September 16th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC)
Bonus photo FTW <3! Potato would totally have been amazing with this!
dorchadasdorchadas on September 16th, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
I was super confused for a moment since potato is softlykarou's pet name for me!

But yes. Curried potatoes, get in my mouth.
Wouldn't you like to knowlibby_may on September 16th, 2014 04:14 am (UTC)
I did not know that! I get the confusion now ;)