Rogan Josh vs Jalfrezi: What’s the Difference?

Written By Ollie Cartwright


Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi are two of the most popular orders at the local Indian takeaway. In this comparison, we’ll delve into the distinctive characteristics that set these dishes apart while highlighting their shared culinary heritage.

Rogan josh and jalfrezi side-by-side with labels for comparing

Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri dish known for its aromatic and deep red gravy, primarily featuring lamb. In contrast, Jalfrezi, originally from Bengal, is a spicy stir-fry dish often made with chicken, bell peppers, and onions.

What is Rogan Josh?

Rogan Josh is a classic dish from Kashmiri cuisine, renowned for its deep red colour and aromatic spices.

The name itself translates to “red meat” in Persian.

Rogan Josh uses yoghurt and a unique blend of spices, including cardamom, fennel, and ginger, contributing to its distinctive flavour and creamy texture.

The dish is typically slow-cooked, allowing the meat to become exceptionally tender and the flavours to penetrate the meat fully.

How Spicy is Rogan Josh?

Rogan josh, a classic Indian dish, is moderately spicy. It balances heat with aromatic spices like cardamom and cinnamon, so it’s warm rather than intensely hot. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the recipe or restaurant.

What is Jalfrezi?

Jalfrezi, on the other hand, hails from the Bengal region and is known for its fiery and tangy taste. It is essentially a stir-fry made with marinated pieces of meat (usually chicken, lamb, or prawn), peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

The key to Jalfrezi’s distinctiveness lies in its spice mix, including cumin, turmeric, coriander, and generous chilli.

The dish often features a slightly drier sauce compared to other Indian curries, with a noticeable acidity that comes from the addition of tomatoes and sometimes vinegar or lemon juice.

How Spicy is Jalfrezi?

Jalfrezi is generally spicier than Rogan Josh. It’s known for its rich, fiery flavour, often featuring green chillies, which add a significant heat level. However, like many dishes, the spiciness can be adjusted to suit personal taste preferences.

Similarities Between Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi

Although they are different curries, they share some similarities, so it can be hard to decipher what makes them different.

  • Base Ingredients: Both dishes typically use meat as the primary ingredient, with variations including chicken, lamb, or prawn.
  • Spice Use: Each dish relies on a unique blend of Indian spices, showcasing the diversity and richness of Indian spice blends.
  • Popularity: Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi are both widely popular in Indian cuisine and have gained significant popularity internationally, especially in the UK.
  • Serving: Both are commonly served with rice or Indian bread like naan or roti, making them staple dishes in Indian meals.

Differences Between Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi

Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi are completely different curries so the list of things that makes them different is fairly extensive:

  • Flavour Profile: Rogan Josh is milder and more aromatic, focusing on a blend of warming spices like cardamom and fennel, while Jalfrezi has a bolder, spicier profile due to the use of chillies and tangy ingredients.
  • Texture: Rogan Josh has a creamier, more velvety texture, largely due to the yoghurt and slow-cooking process, whereas Jalfrezi is less saucy, with a slightly drier and more textured feel because of the stir-frying method.
  • Heat Level: Generally, Jalfrezi is spicier than Rogan Josh. The use of chillies and acidic components in Jalfrezi contributes to a higher heat level compared to the milder, more subtly spiced Rogan Josh.
  • Cooking Technique: Rogan Josh is slow-cooked, allowing flavours to develop over time, while Jalfrezi is quickly stir-fried, retaining more of the fresh flavours of the ingredients.
  • Origin: Rogan Josh has its roots in Kashmiri cuisine, influenced by Persian culinary traditions, whereas Jalfrezi originated in Bengal, reflecting a blend of Indian and British culinary practices.

Rogan Josh vs Jalfrezi: Which Wins?

Right… You’re about to head into your local Indian takeaway, and you have to order of these two, which are you picking? Let us know by voting below:

Do You Prefer Rogan Josh or Jalfrezi

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