This is an Indian dish that can also be made with beef, if you’re not partial to lamb.  It’s a staple on every good Indian restaurant (or take away) menu, but the satisfaction of recreating it yourself is alone worth the effort.  But as with all the recipes on this blog, it is genuinely easy to make. The hardest part is getting all the spices, but you’ll find once you have them stocked you can use them to make all kinds of delicious curries.  The recipe requires a bit of stirring so is good to either prepare the night before (as with all curries it improves overnight) unless you have patient guests and lots of starters!

Also as with all the recipes on this blog it goes well with South African wine.  When I made this, I tried it with a Merlot from Drostdy-hof which was a good match.  Described as having “a bouquet of ripe red fruit with plums and prunes and slight oak spices and tastes rich and mouth-filling with lots of berries and a slight tannic background”, it definitely works well with a strongly flavoured curry.

If you don’t like your curries too hot this is perfect as you can make it as spicy or mild as you like.

rogan josh, recipes, south african wine, drostdy-hof, merlot, mathcing wine with food

Serves 4-6 (depending on how many sides you serve with it…)


2 chunks of fresh ginger , each about the size of your upper thumb knuckle – peeled

8 cloves of garlic (less – 6- for the faint of heart!)

350 ml of water

4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1kg of diced lamb or stewing beef

2 bay leaves

10 cardamon pods

A teaspoon of cloves

A tablespoon of peppercorns

Half a cinnamon stick

2 medium-sized onions – chopped

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

4 teaspoons of paprika

1/4 – 1 heaped teaspoon of cayenne pepper depending on how hot you like your curries

6 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

1/4 teaspoon of garam masala (you can buy this spice ready mixed, or make it yourself)

Salt and pepper

spices, merlot, south african wine, drostdy-hof, matching food with wine.


Whiz up the ginger, garlic and water in your food processor until you have a smooth paste.

In a large (preferably non-stick saucepan) heat the oil.  Put the cardamon, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon and stir for a few seconds. Add in the onions and stir again, cook for about five minutes until they start to go translucent.  Add in your garlic-ginger paste, stir and then add in the meat.  Stir all together and let the meat brown and all the spices mix in.  

After a few minutes add a spoonful of yoghurt.  Stir and cook as the yoghurt blends in (only about 30 seconds).  Repeat until all the yoghurt is blended in.  And then stir and cook for another five minutes.  Add the water (300 ml for lamb, 450 for beef).  Bring everything to the boil, mix well, scraping down the sides of the saucepan.  

Cover the pan and turn the heat down low and cook for about an hour for lamb and two for beef.  Stir every now and then to make sure it’s not sticking.  You should end  up with tender meat in a thick, reddish brown sauce.  Sprinkle the garam masala and season with salt and pepper before serving.

I like to serve this with simple buttery rice and Indian-style green beans (parboil beans for five minutes then fry a shallot a clove of garlic, chili flakes and some black mustard seeds for two minutes and throw in the beans and stir fry for two minutes).