Vikram Sunderam is the chef at Rasika, the best Indian restaurant in D.C. (and some may argue the best Indian restaurant in the U.S.). Reservations at Rasika are incredibly hard to come by, so hard in fact, I gave up trying awhile ago and don’t even remember the last time I ate there. Not being able to experience Chef Sunderam’s cooking nearly as often as I’d like, I came upon a happy surprise one day while browsing recipes at foodandwine.com. Turns out the good chef contributed a simplified recipe for Lamb Rogan Josh to the magazine.
I like to make this dish when I am craving a hearty curry. Although it takes a long time for the stew to come together, the work itself is not particularly hard. The end result never disappoints and I have always enjoyed the first bite when the spices hit my tongue and overwhelm my taste buds. The intense taste of the curry, turmeric, cayenne, and garam masala are lightened by the tomatoes and yogurt. The lamb comes out very tender and flavorful due simmering for nearly an hour with the curry and other spices. I look forward to testing out the other recipes Chef Sunderam submitted to Food & Wine and hope to return to Rasika in the near future.
Lamb Rogan Josh (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaes
One 14-ounce can tomato puree
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 cups water
1 teaspoon garam masala
Cilatnro leaves, for garnish
Rice, for serving
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the lamb with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is browned, about 12 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Add the onions to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, curry, turmeric, cayenne and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato, yogurt and water; bring to a boil. Season with salt. Return the lamb and any juices to the casserole. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the lamb is very tender, 1 hour.
Stir in the garam masala; cook for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice.