One of the most popular curries, found in all the Indian restaurants and curry houses across the country, Rogan Josh, is famous for a reason! Whilst this curry is typically made with lamb or mutton, we decided to go with an easy and commonly loved chicken option, making it an easy weeknight dinner that cooks quicker and is a lot less expensive to make! What is more, we don’t use whole spices in this recipe for convenience, so if you have lots of ground spices in your cupboards, this is a great recipe to put them to good use! We are sure you will be in love with this Chicken Rogan Josh recipe.
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What Is Rogan Josh?
Rogan Josh, also known as Roghan Josh originates in the Kashmir region of India but is now popular in the more generic Indian cuisine as well as curry houses across the world. It is speculated that this curry dish was brought to the subcontinent by the people from the Mughal empire, and therefore, is seen as a dish that is heavily influenced by Persian cuisine.
Typically made with lamb or mutton, Rogan Josh also features a complex sauce, made with a range of spices, including cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and Kashmiri chillies, making it one of the more aromatic curries. Surprisingly, tomatoes are often not a part of this delicious curry in India (we ordered this curry twice on our travels in India, and it has no tomatoes in it whatsoever – it didn’t have much sauce at all). We were also told that Rogan Josh is not an everyday curry, it is made for special occasions and family get-togethers, rather than on busy weeknights.
It seems that it is common to incorporate spices in tomato sauce in the Western world, and this recipe is aiming to replicate what you would get in Indian restaurants in the UK.
So if you love good curry nights at home, enjoying the best Indian food, there is no need to order takeout or buy a pre-made curry sauce! It’s really easy to make this North Indian Curry in your own kitchen! Make it alongside a creamy Chicken Pasanda and a spicy Chicken Karahi, and you have yourself a feast!
And if you’re looking for a curry-inspired lunch, try our Chicken Tikka Sandwiches!
Why Chicken Works In This Curry
If you love Lamb Rogan Josh, you will likely enjoy this chicken version too!
- It is quicker to make: chicken cooks quicker, making it a brilliant weeknight meal.
- Chicken thighs don’t dry out quickly, so you can cook them in the sauce for a while to enhance the flavour of the chicken without it becoming dry!
- Chicken has less fat, more protein and is lower in calories.
- Chicken is a lot cheaper than lamb, so it makes a relatively inexpensive meal (especially if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet).
Ingredients and Substitutes
A delicious combination of spices and a rich tomato-based sauce coat succulent pieces of chicken making it the most delicious chicken curry ever!
- chicken thighs: use boneless skinless chicken thighs. They can be substituted with chicken breasts (see Recipe FAQs section).
- brown onion: can be replaced with white onion or shallots. Red onions have a stronger flavour, but if it’s all you have, it won’t change the flavour profile too much.
- garlic cloves: you may use a pre-made garlic paste, but note that it is often heavily salted, so you may need to go easy on seasoning.
- ginger: ginger root, peeled and finely chopped.
- spices: see section below.
- tinned chopped tomatoes: can be replaced with tomato passata.
- tomato puree: also known as tomato paste. It’s a concentrated tomato in a tube.
- chicken stock: can be substituted with vegetable stock.
- sugar: we used light brown sugar, but you can use any sugar you have, or substitute it with honey.
Spices For Rogan Josh
There are a number of aromatic spices that go into the spice mix for Rogan Josh. But if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you should have most of them already! For simplicity, we don’t use any whole spices in this recipe (like a cinnamon stick or cardamom pods).
- paprika: use sweet paprika (not hot or spicy, unless you like your curries HOT). Smoked paprika won’t work here either.
- ground coriander.
- ground cumin.
- garam masala.
- chilli powder: can be replaced with cayenne pepper, or use Kashmiri Chilli powder for more authentic aromatic flavors.
- ground cinnamon: can be replaced with a cinnamon stick. Just don’t forget to fish it out before serving.
- black pepper.
- coriander (fresh cilantro): finely chopped and scattered on top.
- greek yogurt (or plain yoghurt): a great way to cool down the heat from the spices if you added too much.
- chilli slices: slice your chilli peppers in thin rounds, and decorate the top of the curry.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (with a matching lid) on low heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 4-5 minutes, until the onions soften.
Add the spice mix and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the chicken pieces and cook for 6-7 minutes, until they change colour on all sides and are coated in spices.
Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and stock. Mix well, cover the pan with a lid and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Once cooked, taste the curry sauce and adjust the seasoning.
Garnish Chicken Rogan Josh with coriander and yoghurt.
It depends. What does it depend on? First, your spice tolerance. Typically, Rogan Josh is classed as a mild or medium curry in many restaurants. This Chicken Rogan Josh does have some chilli heat from the chili powder and garam masala, but it certainly isn’t very hot. If you want to make it into a mild curry, skip the chilli powder and serve it with a dollop of greek yogurt on top. The spices that you use can affect the heat too – some garam masala mixes are a lot more fiery than others
Our recipe is gluten-free, but note that some other recipes use wheat flour to thicken the sauce.
Yes, but note that chicken breasts are a lot lower in fat, making them dry out quicker. You may reduce the time you cook chicken in sauce, but it will absorb less flavours from the spices and the sauce. If you choose to use chicken breasts, cut them into larger chunks and simmer them in a sauce for 15 minutes instead.
Yes! I think that traditional Rogal Josh, made with lamb or mutton, actually tastes better when made a day ahead (the flavours and aromas of various spices have time to release, infuse and amalgamate). But chicken has a tendency to dry out, so this recipe has more succulent pieces of chicken when served freshly made, but for the best sauce, serve it the day ahead! A solution to that? Make a big batch, serve it fresh for dinner, and then reheat leftovers the next day to enjoy the best of the two worlds.
Storage and Reheating
Fridge: Spoon the leftover curry in an airtight container, cool it down to room temperature, then cover it with a lid, and store it in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Freeze: Once your curry has cooled down, place it in an airtight freezer-safe container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Reheating: The best way to reheat the curry is in a microwave. Depending on how powerful your microwave is, it should take 2-4 minutes. Just make sure it is hot! We recommend thawing the curry in the fridge before reheating it if you froze it.
What To Serve Chicken Rogan Josh With?
As with most curry recipes, this Chicken Rogal Josh is best served with rice and flatbreads to scoop up that delicious sauce. Try it with:
- Warm Naan Breads (or try Sourdough Naan Flatbread if you keep a sourdough starter).
- 4-Ingredient Rotis (also known as Chapatis).
- Boiled Basmati rice, Pilau rice, brown rice or even cauliflower rice.
Other Curry Recipes From Around The World
What Is your favourite curry recipe? If you enjoyed our easy Chicken Rogan Josh recipe and would like to explore more curry dishes from around the world, why not try:
Chicken Rogan Josh Curry
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 10 g ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or medium curry powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 chicken thighs skinless boneless (approx 900g)
- 1 can tinned chopped tomatoes 400g
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste/ puree
- 150 ml chicken stock made with 1 stock cube
- To Garnish:
- 5 g fresh coriander roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon natural yoghurt
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (with a matching lid) on low heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 4-5 minutes, until the onions soften.
- Add the spice mix and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Then add the chicken pieces and cook for 6-7 minutes, until they change colour on all sides and are coated in spices.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and stock. Mix well and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Your sauce will reduce and thicken.
- Once cooked, taste the curry sauce and adjust the seasoning.
- Garnish Chicken Rogan Josh with coriander and yoghurt.