Mother's Day and Kashmiri Lamb Rogan josh

Today was a day much like any other Sunday. Some cooking, some cleaning, some lazing under the clear Colorado sky, soaking in the sun. And, yes, it was Mother's Day. I had already been treated to a beautiful butterfly stake on Friday. She had covered hers with a grocery bag so she could smuggle it into the house as a surprise for me on Sunday. Unfortunately for her, the her two little friends decided to fly theirs home from the bus stop despite her pleas. She's learning to deal with events over which she has no control and instead of whining about it, she gave me the butterfly stake as soon as we got home. I showed her how proud I was by promptly driving it into the ground in my garden.

The butterfly card, I got this morning.

And for most of us, that was Mother's Day. A day spent with our children, basking in the warmth of their attention.

At dinner tonight, I found out that Mother's Day is not just a marketing ploy, created by the greeting card and gift companies. That it has origins much deeper. That, over a century ago, a woman named Julia Ward Howe introduced the idea of a special day for mothers so that they could work together against war.
"While the war was still in progress," she wrote, she keenly felt the "cruel and unnecessary character of the contest." She believed, as any woman might, that it could have been settled without bloodshed. And, she wondered, "Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?"

Unfortunately, Howe's version disappeared before WWI. Mother Jarvis and Anna Jarvis gave it new life in 1907. Read more about how Mother's Day endured and how there is more to it than the card and the gifts.

I feel truly honored.

War, fatherless children, displaced families remind me of the strife-stricken region of Kashmir. I have special memories of Kashmir that date back to the late 70s. It was a treat for me to be reminded of its simple yet varied cuisine by suman and her version of Kashmiri Rogan josh. I took the liberty to adjust suman's recipe to our taste.

Kashmiri Rogan josh

  • 2 lb boneless lamb, diced
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 7-8 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces
  • 1 large black cardamom
  • 3 tamalpatra small bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafotida)
  • 3 tsp fennel seeds, roasted and powdered
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 cup fat-free yogurt, whisked
  • Few strands of saffron
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a pan
  2. Add cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom and bay leaves. Stir these about or toss them around in the pan until they release their fragrance, taking care not burn to the whole spices
  3. Add the diced lamb and sprinkle the hing over it. Fry on medium-high heat until the lamb is browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the powdered fennel seeds, dried ginger powder, red chilli powder, and salt on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes
  5. Lower the heat and add the whisked yogurt and powdered cardamom. Stir till it starts to simmer. Cover and cook until the lamb is cooked thoroughly.
  6. Add the saffron strands and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve hot over steamed basmati rice.
The subtle flavors of dried ginger and cardamom make this Kashmiri Rogan josh unlike any other!


Anonymous said...

Wow. the new look to your site looks absolutely fantastic. The pictures are too good :).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Shilpa! I'm glad you like it!

Anonymous said...

The new look rocks! Btw is the gravy from just one cup of yogurt? No water?
This is one dish I have always wanted to try but never got around to it.That butterfly card from your daughter is so lovely.

Anonymous said...

Cooking Theory, thank you and welcome to IFR! I hope to see you around more!

Gini, thank you! The logo is not quite where I want it to be but I'll get there! The original recipe uses 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of water. The first time I made this, I went strictly by the recipe. The next time, I knew what I needed to do to to adjust it to our tastes.

So yes, I used one cup of fat-free yogurt, which I usually make at home. The lamb also releases its own juices when it is being browned so you really don't need any water.

Also, remember that this is the Kashmiri Rogan josh which is different from the regular North Indian Rogan josh, which is what you will find in the restaurants.

I love the butterfly card, too. My daughter asked me when it would be Daughter's Day and I told her "every single day." She doesn't quite believe me but it's true!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SH! The sketch is over 3 years old. Something a friend did for me. I think it's really cute, too!

Anonymous said...

Oh,that card is so cute!
Your blog's looking great,Manisha.

indianadoc said...

Antony's curry mela took me to the site..your site is fabulous...hmm...i think I'm going to be a regular visitor here...

Anonymous said...

Sailu, Thanks for the compliments!

Indianadoc, Welcome to IFR! Yes, I've seen your comments on Anthony's blog. He's an amazing young man, according to me! If you're in Indiana, then you used to be a previous neighbor of mine. We moved from the Chicagoland area about 6 months ago. I miss my friends and all my favorite Indian restaurants but I don't miss the weather one bit! I hope to see you around more!

Anonymous said...

the picture for the Rogan josh is not correct.It looks like kalayaa (yelow meat)Rogan josh is red in colour and even looking at that josh should come as the name states
Rogan Josh

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if you are Rekha or if you think I am Rekha! If you are Rekha, then welcome to IFR!

I am also not sure what you mean by the picture is not correct. The picture is mine and I cooked Rogan Josh according to this recipe, which is a Kashmiri recipe. Since I adjusted the original recipe to suit our tastes, it is very likely that I used less chilli powder. That is the only ingredient in the recipe that will make it 'red'.

It is also quite likely that you are used to the North Indian Rogan Josh, which is red in color and may contain tomatoes. Also refer to this article where it is mentioned that Rogan is not necessarily the color red.

I also got further confirmation that rogan/roghan means oil or fat and that the meat has been simmered such that there is a fatty layer of oil floating at the top. If you know otherwise, please share your thoughts!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Your Rogan Josh recipe is really good - I tried it.
This is a superb food blog.
Happy Eating
Vikram Karve

Indian Food Rocks said...

Vikram, welcome to IFR! My Kashmiri friend has since told me that this is more yakhni than rogan josh. No matter what the name, I like it, too!

Ansh said...

I have to agree with the reader "Rekha".. this is a good lamb recipe, but it is NOT Kashmiri Rogan Josh. Rogan does mean oil and I agree its got nothing to so with color red.

But Kashmiri Rogan Josh is a Deep colored dish with red being the predominat color. And also the use of a lot of curd in this dish makes it more like a Yakhni :)

Indian Food Rocks said...

Anshie, thanks for that! My source for all things Kashmiri, Anita, confirmed that this recipe leans towards yakhni because of the use of yogurt. I haven't changed the name on the post or the recipe - I guess I should!

I have also since found out that the vivid red coloring in Kashmiri food - mainly at weddings - is from adding ground cockscomb flowers. Do you use this in your cooking?

Welcome to IFR!

Subodh said...

Manisha and other readers,
I am writing as the Editor of, where we are capturing a variety of Indian memories. We have a newly launched section called Dadi Nani Cooking, where each recipe has a personal story attached to it. The idea is to record how food was cooked/eaten/enjoyed in the past. Please check out

I would very much like to get such recipes from you - only 1-2 per person. Please contact me at