Goat Rogan Josh (The Inauthentic Slow Cooker Version)
The mention of goat meat will cause many people of my acquaintance to run screaming from the room. I'm not really sure why this is. Goat is a very tasty, lean meat that's well suited to long, gentle cooking, especially in a slow cooker. The first goat dish I bumped into many, many years ago was a Jamaican goat curry and I'm still tempted to make a version of that dish whenever I find good goat meat. But this time I decided to do something a little different after I read that “traditional” rogan josh is often made with goat.
This isn't an authentic or traditional rogan josh. My recipe is really a mishmash of the nicest rogan josh dishes that I've eaten in England combined with elements of other slow-cooked curries. The origins of the true, traditional rogan josh seem to be disputed but I favour the idea that the name derives from ratan jot (alkanet root) which was originally used to give the dish a distinct red colour.
Goat meat tends to be very lean but for this dish it's best to choose a cut with a little more fat, such as shoulder. Don't skip the marinade stage because it really does make a difference to the final texture and flavour. This dish could also be made with lamb (well, preferably, mutton) or even beef.
Kashmiri chilli is mild, fragrant and quite widely available these days, but other types of dried chilli will be fine. Smoked, dried chilli will work well if that's what you fancy.
This curry can be cooked slowly in the oven or on the hob if you prefer but it does lend itself beautifully and conveniently to the slow cooker if you have one. I often add vegetables (in this case carrots) into meat curries. This certainly isn't authentic but I enjoy the contrast of textures and flavours.
450 g goat meat cut into roughly 2 cm chunks
For the marinade:
5 tbsp thick yoghurt (a low fat version works fine)
2 - 3 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 black cardamom pods
3 green cardamom pods
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 dried Kashmiri chilli
2 carrots, peeled and cut into smallish dice
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
Mix the yoghurt, ginger, black pepper and a little salt with the goat. Cover tightly and marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or, ideally, overnight.
Preheat the slow cooker. Lightly crush the cardamom pods and briefly toast them in a dry frying pan. (As I said above, I wrap the cardamom pods in a small muslin parcel but you really don't have to if you're made of sterner stuff). Toast the fennel and cumin seeds in the same way and then grind them in a pestle and mortar. Add the dried chilli to the mortar and give that a bash or two to break it up.
Boil or steam the carrot dice for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Set aside. Fry the sliced onion slowly in a little oil until very soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and continue frying for a couple more minutes. Add the fennel, cumin, ground coriander and the chilli to the pan and fry for a further two or three minutes. Tip the contents of the pan into the slow cooker.
Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the meat in batches without wiping off the marinade until they just begin to take on an even colour. Add to the slow cooker.
Deglaze the frying pan with around 2 tablespoons of water making sure that you gather up any stuck bits from the base. Add the tomatoes, the tomato purée and the carrots and bring to a simmer. Pour into the slow cooker, add the cardamom, give everything a stir and put on the lid. Cook on low for around 6 hours.
Treat that 6 hours simply as a guide. I know that “low” can mean very different things depending on the slow cooker you own. My usual slow cooker is pretty average and 6 hours is perfect but I once owned a small slow cooker that would have needed 8 hours of low to get the same result. I also have a large, family-sized slow cooker that needs only 4 or 5 hours on low.
Sprinkle with chopped coriander immediately before serving.