Pumpkin Rogan Josh – Kashmiri

The thought of Rogan josh immediately invokes deep rooted memories of family gatherings infused with love and the fragrance of spices that make this deeply flavored and rich colored broth.

A signature dish of the Kashmiri cuisine, it is usually made with Lamb or Goat and  flavored with the famous Kashmiri Chilies. Growing up that was pretty much the only way I knew how to eat Rogan Josh – with lamb or goat. There is also a Chicken Rogan Josh recipe on my blog which is absolutely delicious, do check it out.

Over the years and during my more recent deepening explorations of the vegetarian side of Kashmiri cooking I have made this delicious vegetarian Rogan Josh. I have experimented with a few different types of pumpkins and found that the butternut squash, locally available to me, worked the best.

The spices here are mostly familiar used in Indian cooking with just a slight change in the way they are used that differentiates it from other curries . The aromatic whole spices are fried in ghee or oil to bring out the oils and aroma. The touch of water further steams through the spices.

I have also used Mawal here, which is responsible for the deep red color. Mawal is dried cockscomb flower which is boiled with equal quantity of water and then strained through a fine mesh. A few tablespoons of the liquid are then added towards the end of cooking.  A pinch of saffron dissolved in warm water is the last flavor and aroma enricher.

This dish is cooked with love and the process of cooking it is something to be enjoyed as much and eating it. Many of the  traditional ways of using the ingredients have been adjusted in my American kitchen but the uniqueness of flavor still command the respect of the cook and the guest.

If you follow my blog you know that the measurements provided below are approximations. Your spice and heat levels should be adjust to your personal taste. Also to make this vegan just omit the ghee.

Vegetarian Rogan Josh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

A beautiful vegetarian Kashmiri Rogan Josh

*Adjust the chillies and spices based on your taste


  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 2 onions – sliced
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 green cardamom
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder soaked in warm water
  • 1 tablespoons Mawal powder ( cockscomb powder) -optional
  • A few tbsp of oil for shallow frying the pumpkin
  • A few tbsp oil for frying the onions
  • 1 tbsp Ghee ( or oil if vegan)
  • Salt to personal taste
  • Saffron(-pinch soaked in warm water
  • Black pepper crushed
  • 1/4 black cumin seeds ( Shah Zeera)
  • Approx 4-5 cups water


  1. Peel the Butternut Squash and cut into chunky cubes then shallow fry them in batches until golden brown. Set aside on a paper towel to drain
  2. Use the same oil, add more if needed and fry the onions until golden, grind to a paste and set aside
  3. If using Mawal powder, boil 1 tbsp in 1 cup of water for 10 mins minutes. Strain through a fine sieved and bottle it up to use as needed. This can be stored in the fridge for other recipes
  4. Add ghee or oil to a heave bottomed pan and add the cloves, bay leaf and cardamom. Fry until they sizzle.
  5. Remove from heat and add a tbsp of water and cover to let the spices steam
  6. Return to heat and add the garlic, sauté for a minute
  7. Add turmeric, chili, onion paste and salt. Sauté and please add splashes of water to prevent burning if needed. Add the fennel and ginger powder
  8. Add fried pumpkin and enough water to cover and bring to a boil
  9. Cook until tender ( about 20 mins)
  10. Add the Mawal liquid, saffron and black pepper.
  11. Once it has returned to a boil, turn off the heat and top with Shah Zeera

Serve Beautifully!

4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Rogan Josh – Kashmiri

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