This Chicken Rogan Josh is an easy Kashmiri chicken curry that is packed with flavor and tastes just like something from an Indian Restaurant.
Although Rogan Josh is usually made with lamb, this chicken version is a little quicker, making a great recipe for a midweek meal. Serve it with some rice and naan breads and your friends and family will be happy. This is one AMAZING curry!
This is a medium curry, but for the heat lovers out there, you can easily add extra spice, while those who like a mild curry can leave out the chili. The ingredient list looks long, but everything is easy to find in the grocery store.
Chicken Rogan Josh
Traditionally rogan josh was a main course prepared for special occasions like weddings and during as Eid.
But it is one of the most popular Indian curries, and you will find it on every Indian dine-in and takeout menu. It is often cooked with lamb, but this chicken rogan josh is quicker and just as tasty!
The curry gravy packs a big punch of flavor, but everything can easily be found in the grocery store.
Spices for Rogan Josh
Don't be put off by the length of the ingredient list. You probably have most of the spices in your pantry, and those you don't can easily be found in the grocery store. Those in bold have extra notes below the list.
The spices you need are:
- Ground coriander
- Ground cumin
- Cayenne pepper
- Garam marsala
- Ground fennel
Paprika - use regular or sweet paprika. Traditionally the red color would come from Kashmiri chilli powder, which is very different from the chili powder you buy in the US; it is ground Kashmiri chillies and is a vibrant red color and with a sweet, mild heat.
Cardamon - you can use ground cardamon or the whole green pods.
Cinnamon - traditionally, this is a cinnamon quill, but you can substitute with ground cinnamon. Both have been noted in the recipe card.
Cayenne pepper - Use this to replace the mild spice that you would get from Kashmiri chilli powder, you can easily adapt the recipe to suit your taste and spice levels.
Garam marsala - this is an Indian spice blend that you can buy in most grocery stores. It adds extra depth to curries. If you can't find it then you can add mild curry powder instead.
Ground fennel - this is a wonderful spice, and it can be used in Indian and Italian cooking. It has a very light licorice taste. You can buy the ground powder in most grocery stores, or pick fennel seeds and bash in a pestle and mortar.
Cloves - You can either use whole cloves or ground cloves. Both have been noted in the recipe card.
GHEE - The recipe calls for ghee, this is clarified butter. So butter that has been cooked down and then had the milk solids removed. It has a more intense butter taste. You can usually find it in grocery stores, but butter is a perfect alternative.
CHICKEN - the recipe uses chicken thighs as they won't dry out during the cooking time. If you want to use chicken breast, prepare the curry as instructed, but at step 6, don't add the chicken, just simmer the sauce for 30 minutes and then add in the chopped chicken breast for the last 15 minutes of simmering.
TOMATO PUREE/PASSATA - this is a thick, smooth puree. It is made with uncooked tomatoes that have been pureed and strained. It has an intense tomato flavor and is thicker than canned crushed tomatoes. In Australia, it is known as passata, but in the US it is more commonly labeled Tomato Puree (often with passata written underneath) Tomato paste is a much stronger product, so if that is all you have then use 3 tablespoons and thin it down with 1 tablespoon of warm water.
What to serve with Rogan Josh
Serve this chicken rogan josh with plain white rice, or if you have the time, make a simple Indian Pilau.
For all curries, I like to serve naan bread; it gives you something to wipe the plate with! Our go-to options are, Butter Naan, Garlic Naan bread or the sweeter stuffed Peshwari Naan. I like a spicy Bullet Naan, but the kids won't touch it...it is a very spicy one!
A fresh side is always a great thing to lift a curry, and Kachumber is the traditional side salad that you will often get in curry houses and Indian restaurants. It is a mixture of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion all mixed with salt and lemon juice, and the optional sprinkle of a little red chili.
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Easy Chicken Rogan Josh Recipe
For the curry
- 1.6 lb chicken thighs - see note 1
- 4 tbsp ghee, or substitute butter/oil - see note 2
- 1 cinnamon stick, or ¼ tsp ground cinnamon - see note 3
- 6 green cardamom pods, or 1 tsp of ground cardamon - see note 3
- 4 cloves or a pinch of ground cloves (- see note 3)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion - finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger - grated
- 1 cup chicken broth/stock
- 4 tbsp tomato puree/passata - see note 4
- 1 tsp salt
For the spice blend
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala - see note 5
- 1 tsp ground fennel - see note 6
- ¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste - see note 7
- ½ tsp garam masala - see note 5
- ½ tsp ground fennel - see note 6
- ¼ cup natural yogurt
- Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
- Chop the chicken into large chunks and set to one side.
1.6lb/750g chicken thighs
- Melt the ghee in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add the whole spices and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. (See note 3 if you aren't using whole spices)
4 tbsp ghee/butter/oil
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamon pods (lightly crushed)
2 bay leaves
- Add the chopped onion and fry for 10 minutes until softened and starting to turn golden brown.
1 onion - finely chopped
- Add the spices to the onion and stir to coat
. 2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground fennel
¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Add the chopped garlic and grated ginger. Cook for another minute.
4 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
- Pour in the chicken broth, tomato puree/passata then add the chopped chicken and salt.
1 cup chicken broth/stock
4 tbsp tomato puree/passata
1 tsp salt
- Stir well to coat, then bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Add in the yogurt then season with the additional garam masala and ground fennel.
¼ cup natural yogurt
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp ground fennel
- Cook for 2-3 more minutes and serve garnished with cilantro/fresh coriander.
- The recipe uses chicken thighs as they won't dry out during the cooking time. If you want to use chicken breast, prepare the curry as instructed, but at step 6, don't add the chicken, just simmer the sauce for 30 minutes and then add in the chopped chicken breast for the last 15 minutes of simmering.
- Ghee is clarified butter. You can usually find it in grocery stores, but butter or vegetable oil is a good alternative.
- If you are using the ground alternatives, don't add them until you add the other spices in step 4.
- Tomato Puree(US) or Passata (UK/AU) is a thick, smooth puree. It is made with uncooked tomatoes that have been pureed and strained. It has an intense tomato flavor and is thicker than canned crushed tomatoes. In Australia, it is known as passata, but in the US it is more commonly labeled Tomato Puree (often with passata written underneath) Tomato paste is a much stronger product, so if that is all you have then use half the amount and thin it down with warm water.
- Garam marsala is an Indian spice blend that you can buy in most grocery stores. It adds extra depth to curries. If you can't find it then you can add mild curry powder instead.
- You can buy ground fennel in most grocery stores, or pick fennel seeds and bash in a pestle and mortar.