Indian Cooking – Rogan Josh, Chana Dal, Spiced Cauliflower and Naan Bread

Posted By Stephen


We recently bought Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery as we felt that we needed a decent Indian cookbook and reference rather than just searching for recipes online if we fancied cooking Indian dishes. The book has turned out to be just what we were after, with a section on the various spices and other ingredients that are used and a section on commonly used techniques. Even though many of the spices overlap with those used in Thai cooking which we have done a lot of, it is interesting to see the slightly different angles on their emphasis and combinations in cooking in different regions and cultures. Importantly, it also has a section on how to put together a balanced menu.

Having never cooked rogan josh before, we started with that, a dish which gets it’s name from the rich, red appearance. The menu section told us that there would usually be a lentil or bean side dish as well as a vegetable dish. We opted for naan bread too, in order to give our new oven another workout.

Although there was a lot of preparation to be done and careful timing to ensure everything was ready at once, this all came together very well and was brilliant. The lamb was tender and aromatic with a decent hit of spice that was cooled by the dal and the cauliflower. The bread was essential to mop everything up and ensure nothing was wasted. This was one of the best things we’ve eaten in a long time.

Rogan Josh
Serves Two

1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons plus 225ml water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
450g diced lamb leg
5 cardoman pods
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
5 peppercorns
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
Black pepper

Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons water a blender or mortar and pestle and blend into a paste.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat and brown the meat, remove and set aside.

Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon into the same hot oil, stir and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on colour (a few seconds).

Put in the onions and fry until medium brown. Put in the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the meat and fry for another 30 seconds. Now put in one tablespoon of the yoghurt and fry for about 30 seconds until incorporated. Add the remaining youghurt a tablespoon at a time. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes.

Now add 150ml water, bring to the boil, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for one hour, stirring every ten minutes.

Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium and boil away some of the liquid. Spoon off any excess fat, sprinkle with garam masala and black pepper and serve.

Chana Dal
Serves Two

115g yellow split peas
1 pint water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 thin slices unpeeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder

Put the spolit peas into a pan with the water. Bring to the boil and remove any scum. Add the turmeric and ginger, cover and simmer gently for 1.5 hours, stirring frequently during the last 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

Add the salt and the garam masala, stir and remove the ginger slices.

Fry the cumin seeds in hot oil and a couple of seconds later, add the garlic. Fry until the garlic is lightly browned. Put the chilli powder into the pan and immediately pour the contents onto the split peas. Stir and serve.

Spiced Cauliflower
Serves Two

275g cailiflower
1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pinch of asafetida
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, sliced into half-moons
1/2 hot green chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
60ml water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Break the cauliflower into florets.

Put the oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and add the asafetida. A second later, add the cumin seeds. After ten seconds, add the onions and cook for two minutes.

Now add the cauliflower and the chilli, turn the heat down to medium and mix so that the cauliflower is well coated. Cook for a further minutes, add the lemon juice and water and bring to a simmer.

Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

Naan Bread
Serves Two

75ml hand hot milk
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
75g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
75ml natural yoghurt
1/2 large egg, lightly beaten

Put the milk in a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast, mix and set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.

Sift the flower, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the remaining sugar, the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the yoghurt and egg. Mix and form a ball of dough.

Empty the dough onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Form into a ball, place into an oiled bowl and leave in a warm place for one hour.

Pre-heat the oven to the highest temperature, put a pizza stone (or baking tray) in to heat and pre-heat the grill.

Punch down the dough and knead it again. Divide into balls, stretch into naan shapes and place on the pizza stone. Bake for 3 minutes.

(Our dough didn’t really rise but still made very good bread. We also found we needed to use a lot more flour than the recipe stated).

Nov 21st, 2009

3 Comments to 'Indian Cooking – Rogan Josh, Chana Dal, Spiced Cauliflower and Naan Bread'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    That looks delicious – the naans look great!
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..The Blaggers’ Banquet =-.

  2. Tim said,

    A good Rogan Josh is one of the best Indian dishes imaginable, and this looks dee-licious, the real deal – a properly dry sauce. The superb ‘dry meat’ (as it’s rather unappetisingly named) at the New Tayyab has a similar quality.

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