Rogan Josh vs Korma: What’s the Difference?

Written By Ollie Cartwright


Knowing the differences between Indian curries can be a bit of a challenge. I’m going to take a look at Rogan Josh and Korma. Both are popular choices in Indian restaurants across the UK but how do they differ from one another?

Rogan josh and korma side by side with labels for comparisons

Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri dish known for its deep red colour and robust flavour, while Korma, originating from the Mughal era, is milder and creamier. The main differences are their spice blends, heat levels, and texture.

What is Rogan Josh?

Rogan Josh is a staple of Kashmiri cuisine, traditionally made with braised lamb chunks cooked in a gravy seasoned with garlic, ginger, and aromatic spices like cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon.

The dish’s signature red colour comes from the liberal use of Kashmiri red chilli powder, which imparts a vibrant hue without adding too much heat.

Rogan Josh is known for its deep, complex flavour and moderately spicy profile.

What is Korma?

Korma, on the other hand, is a dish with roots in the Mughal culinary tradition. It typically consists of meat or vegetables braised with yoghurt, cream, or coconut milk, producing a rich, creamy sauce.

The spice blend for Korma is subtle and fragrant, featuring mild spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric, often accentuated with nuts and dried fruits. It is far from spicy!

Korma’s defining characteristic is its mild, subtly sweet flavour, making it a favourite for those who prefer less spicy food.

Similarities Between Rogan Josh and Korma

Although they do have a completely different flavour profile, they do share some similarities with one another:

  • Basic Ingredients: Both dishes use primary ingredients like meat (often lamb or chicken), garlic, and ginger.
  • Serving Method: Typically, both are served with rice or Indian bread like naan or roti, making them a staple in Indian feasts.
  • Popularity: Both Rogan Josh and Korma enjoy widespread popularity in Indian restaurants across the UK, appealing to a wide range of palates.
  • Rich Aromas: Each dish is known for its rich, aromatic qualities, drawing from the use of various spices and cooking techniques inherent to Indian cuisine.

Differences Between Rogan Josh and Korma

There might be 4 similarities between these two curries but the list of differences is fairly extensive.

  • Spice Blend: Rogan Josh uses a spice blend that includes Kashmiri red chilli, providing a robust and slightly spicy flavour. Korma, in contrast, utilises milder spices and often includes nuts and dried fruits for a subtly sweet taste.
  • Heat Level: The chilli content in Rogan Josh gives it a moderate heat, which is significantly higher than the mild, almost sweet flavour profile of Korma.
  • Texture and Colour: Rogan Josh has a more oily and less creamy texture, with a deep red colour, while Korma is creamier and paler, often yellow or white in colour.
  • Origins and Cultural Context: Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri dish, reflecting the region’s culinary traditions, whereas Korma originates in Mughal cuisine, indicative of a different cultural influence.
  • Meat Preparation: In Rogan Josh, meat is usually braised and cooked in its own juices and spices, whereas in Korma, meat is often marinated and cooked in a creamy sauce.
Is Rogan Josh or Korma Spicier?

Rogan Josh is generally spicier than Korma. Korma is known for its creamy, mild flavour, while Rogan Josh, a Kashmiri dish, typically has a more robust and hotter spice profile.

Rogan Josh vs Korma: Which Wins?

If you were to head into your local takeaway this evening and you had to pick between these two curries, which are you going to vote for? Voted? Then make sure you let us know why in the comments section.

Do You Prefer Rogan Josh or Korma?

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