How Hot is Rogan Josh? A 4/10 Mild – Medium Curry

Rich, a little oily, and delicious. Rogan josh is the perfect choice alongside a fluffy naan and a pile of rice. If you are sitting staring at the menu and are trying to figure out how hot is a rogan josh, you'll find the answer right here as I tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful Indian dish. Read on to find out more.

Rogan Josh is firmly in the category of a medium curry. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being a mild curry and 10 being hot, Rogan Josh is a solid 4. The dish does include chilli but in relatively small quantities. It also contains yoghurt, which brings the spice level down to a manageable level.

To know how it's made and what it tastes like, read on to find out…

What is Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh comes with an orangey-red sauce that is medium spiced. Due to the inclusion of oil in the recipe, plus lamb (which is never low in fat), the dish can be quite rich.

Just what we like!

There aren't many vegetables in the dish, just a few fresh tomatoes. Aside from that, it's meat and sauce all the way!

This curry is definitely savoury in flavour. It lacks any sweet taste, with the overriding flavours being tomatoes, onions and garlic, and a few medium spices.

Rogan Josh is a dish of Kashmiri origin. You'll find it traditionally served in curry houses as a lamb-based dish. There are a few theories about what "Rogan Josh" actually means. When translated from Urdu, "roghan" means "red", and "gost" means "meat"… Combine the two together, and you've got "red meat".

Considering that it is served as a lamb curry, this would appear to make sense.

However, "ghosht" in Urdu means "juice"… When you see Rogan Josh, it does indeed come with red-brown gravy, so this definition is also fitting.

And it gets even more complicated when you start throwing in Persian terms.

In Persian, "Roughan" means "oily " and "josh " means "stew".

Oily stew? It's a stretch, but it does match this definition too.

Dubious translations aside, what I know for a fact is that Rogan Josh is extremely tasty and is a real crowd-pleaser for either a curry night or to order at an Indian restaurant.

Like learning about curry names? I've got a full guide right here!

Which Ingredients are in a Rogan Josh?

There's quite the list of ingredients for making rogan josh. Creating such a flavorful curry takes a lot of work. Within the dish, you'll typically find: -

  • Seasoned Oil
  • Garlic and Ginger
  • A spice mix of cumin, chilli, paprika and turmeric
  • Methi
  • Chilli powder
  • Garam masala
  • A tomato puree base
  • BIR onion base gravy
  • Yoghurt
  • Cubes of stewed lamb
  • Fresh coriander

While chilli powder does feature among the spices used in rogan josh, it isn't a particularly fiery dish. There is just a touch of heat, but this will be at a tolerable level for most people.

What Does Rogan Josh Taste Like?

Rogan Josh is one of the tastiest curries on the menu. Suppose you like a real meaty curry with plenty of gravy and a savoury taste. In that case, it is definitely one that you should consider.

The curry is made with a tomato puree base which is added after roasting various spices in hot oil. This base is cooked down until it loses its sharpness. Rich onion gravy is added along with the meat and left to bubble down into a medium spiced sauce.

You'll pick up a little heat with the inclusion of a small amount of chilli powder, and undertones of garlic and ginger make the dish very fragrant.

Chefs often add a little yoghurt to the sauce, which removes some more of the heat, makes the rogan josh slightly paler and adds a slightly savoury, acidic element too.

You'll occasionally find some fresh tomatoes added in quarters too, these cook down a little until soft.

It is typical for restaurants to stir in a few spoons of fresh coriander to finish the dish. This adds a citrusy and light note.

Is Rogan Josh a Hot Curry?

Rogan Josh is not typically regarded as particularly spicy curry. It is the ideal choice for people who want to feel like they are 'having an Indian' but don't want to go for the truly mild curries like korma or chicken tikka.

You'll find a chilli element within, and while it isn't mild, nor is it overwhelmingly spicy. As an equivalent to other foods you may have tried, it is about the same heat as a piquant chilli con Carne. It's nowhere near as hot as Tabasco sauce…

The best way to describe rogan josh isn't hot. It's flavorful. With loads of spices and rich onion gravy, it is one of the tastiest curry dishes around and is well worth a try!

Is Rogan Josh Hotter than Jalfrezi?

Rogan Josh is nowhere near as hot as a Jalfrezi. Using my heat scale above, rogan josh is a solid 4/10, whereas jalfrezi is 7/10. Rogan josh lacks the chilli featured in jalfrezi, plus it includes dairy making it milder, whereas jalfrezi doesn't.

The dishes are actually very different. Rogan josh is a really saucy dish, whereas jalfrezi tends to be a little drier with more vegetables. It is also cooked differently.

If you are worried about heat, rogan josh is a great choice. It is packed full of flavour but features only a small amount of chilli.

Which Curries are Similar to Rogan Josh?

There are a few dishes that you could consider if you decide that Rogan Josh is not for you.

A Bhuna is slightly hotter than a Rogan Josh. However, it shares many of the same ingredients, with onions and tomatoes used as a base, along with garlic and ginger.

Dopiaza is another great choice. Just like a Rogan Josh, it has strong flavours and is generally considered an oily dish.

Balti is also comparable to rogan josh. It too features a small amount of chilli and could be considered a 'medium' curry. It also uses tomatoes, garlic and ginger and can be a perfect curry dish if you like lamb.


How hot is Rogan Josh? In reality, although it features a little chilli, it isn't hot at all. Anybody who doesn't mind a touch of warmth will be fine ordering or making this dish. Should you order it? Absolutely! It's one of the most ordered dishes on the menu and is perfect with a nice floury naan. Give it a go. You won't regret it! Looking for other curry ideas? You might want to check this out.

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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