Upar Gaar Recipe

Discover the secrets of authentic Upar Gaar recipe. Indulge in the aromatic richness of Indian cuisine with our step-by-step guide.

Upar Gaar

    Upar Gaar

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Category: Main Course
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 150 calories

Upar Gaar, often referred to as Rogan Josh, is a legendary dish hailing from the beautiful region of Kashmir in India. This iconic Kashmiri curry is celebrated for its exquisite blend of aromatic spices and tender chunks of meat, traditionally mutton or lamb.

At the heart of Upar Gaar is its captivating red color and rich, flavorful sauce, which is achieved through the use of Kashmiri red chili powder, a key ingredient that imparts a vivid hue without excessive heat. The recipe typically includes a medley of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and fennel seeds, which create a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.

The preparation of Upar Gaar is a labor of love, involving slow-cooking the meat until it reaches melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. The slow simmering allows the spices to infuse the sauce, creating a symphony of flavors that are both vibrant and harmonious.

Upar Gaar embodies the soul of Kashmiri cuisine, a cuisine renowned for its use of indigenous spices and ingredients. It's a dish that has transcended regional boundaries, becoming a beloved part of Indian cuisine as a whole. Whether served with steamed rice or Kashmiri bread like naan or roti, Upar Gaar is a timeless culinary masterpiece, cherished for its warmth, depth, and unforgettable taste.


Unlock the vibrant flavors of Kashmir with our tantalizing Upar Gaar recipe. Experience the magic of rich spices in every bite!


  • 500g mutton or lamb, cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust for spice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Method Instructions

  1. Heat the cooking oil or ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan or pressure cooker over medium heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add the finely sliced onions and cook them until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Sauté for another couple of minutes until the raw aroma disappears.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. Stir well and cook for a minute to release the spices' flavors.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
  7. Add the mutton or lamb pieces and sear them until they turn brown on all sides.
  8. Add enough water to cover the meat, season with salt, and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let it cook until the meat is tender. This can take 1.5 to 2 hours or longer depending on the meat's toughness. If using a pressure cooker, it will cook faster.
  9. Once the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened, check the seasoning and adjust salt and spice levels if needed.
  10. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  11. Serve Upar Gaar hot with steamed rice or traditional Kashmiri bread like naan or roti.

Upar Gaar/Rogan Josh is known for its rich, flavorful sauce and tender meat. Adjust the spice level to suit your taste, and enjoy this classic Kashmiri dish!

Recipe Video

Upar Gaar

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Recipe Tags: Upar Gaar, Upar Gaar Recipe, Recipe


Serving Upar Gaar (Rogan Josh) is a delightful experience that involves complementing its rich flavors with suitable accompaniments. Here's how to serve Upar Gaar:

  1. Main Dish: Upar Gaar is a substantial main course on its own. It's typically served in individual bowls or on plates, with a generous serving of the meat and its flavorful sauce.
  2. Rice: The most common accompaniment for Upar Gaar is steamed white rice or fragrant basmati rice. The fluffy rice serves as a perfect canvas to absorb the aromatic gravy.
  3. Bread: Traditional Kashmiri bread like naan or roti is an excellent choice for sopping up the delicious sauce. The soft, chewy texture of these bread varieties complements the robust flavors of Upar Gaar.
  4. Garnish: You can garnish Upar Gaar with fresh cilantro leaves or a sprinkle of finely chopped coriander for a burst of freshness and color.
  5. Yogurt Raita: To balance the spiciness of Upar Gaar, consider serving it with a side of yogurt raita. This cooling condiment made with yogurt, cucumber, and spices provides a refreshing contrast.
  6. Pickles: Indian pickles, such as mango pickle or lime pickle, can add an extra layer of flavor and tanginess to the meal. A small spoonful of pickle on the side can be a delightful addition.
  7. Lemon Wedges: Offer lemon wedges for those who enjoy an extra zesty kick. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the Upar Gaar can brighten up the flavors.
  8. Serving Platter: If you're hosting a gathering, you can present Upar Gaar in a decorative serving platter with the accompaniments arranged neatly around it. This enhances the visual appeal of the dish.

Upar Gaar is known for its bold and aromatic flavors, so serving it with mild and complementary side dishes is a key part of the dining experience. Feel free to adjust the spice level to suit your guests' preferences, and enjoy this exquisite Kashmiri delicacy.


  1. Quality of Meat: Start with good-quality meat, preferably bone-in, as it adds depth of flavor to the curry. Lamb or mutton is traditional, but you can use beef or chicken if you prefer.
  2. Marination: Consider marinating the meat for a few hours or overnight in yogurt and spices before cooking. This can help tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.
  3. Slow Cooking: Patience is key when making Upar Gaar. Slow-cook the meat over low heat until it becomes tender and succulent. This can take 1.5 to 2 hours or more, depending on the meat's toughness.
  4. Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: Use authentic Kashmiri red chili powder to achieve the signature red color without excessive heat. It imparts a vibrant hue to the dish.
  5. Spices: Be mindful of the spices, especially if you prefer a milder curry. Adjust the quantity of spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon according to your taste.
  6. Balancing Heat: If the curry turns out too spicy, you can balance it with a touch of honey, sugar, or cream. Conversely, if it's not spicy enough, add a bit more Kashmiri red chili powder or a chopped green chili.
  7. Frying Spices: When sautéing the whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, be careful not to burn them. Fry them just until they release their aroma.
  8. Simmering: Allow the curry to simmer gently. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and add water if it becomes too thick. The goal is to have a luxurious, well-spiced gravy.
  9. Fresh Ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh ginger, garlic, and tomatoes for the best flavor. Fresh ingredients can elevate the dish.
  10. Resting Time: After cooking, let the Upar Gaar rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  11. Garnish: Fresh cilantro leaves or a sprinkle of finely chopped coriander can add a fresh note to the dish.
  12. Traditional Accompaniments: Consider serving Upar Gaar with traditional sides like steamed rice, naan, yogurt raita, and pickles to complete the Kashmiri dining experience.

Ingredient Substitutes

If you're looking to make substitutions for some of the ingredients in a Upar Gaar (Rogan Josh) recipe, here are a few options:

  1. Meat: While traditional Upar Gaar is made with mutton or lamb, you can substitute it with other proteins such as beef, chicken, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. Adjust the cooking time accordingly as different meats or tofu will cook at different rates.
  2. Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: If you can't find Kashmiri red chili powder, you can substitute it with a combination of regular red chili powder and paprika. Start with a smaller quantity and adjust to achieve the desired level of heat and color.
  3. Yogurt: If you don't have yogurt or prefer a dairy-free option, you can use coconut milk or almond milk yogurt. These alternatives will provide a similar creaminess and tanginess.
  4. Whole Spices: If you don't have specific whole spices like green cardamom pods, cloves, or cinnamon sticks, you can use ground versions. However, use them sparingly as ground spices are more concentrated in flavor.
  5. Ghee: If you don't have ghee (clarified butter), you can use regular cooking oil or butter as a substitute. Ghee adds a unique flavor, but these alternatives will work well.
  6. Green Chilies: Adjust the quantity of green chilies to your preferred spice level. If you prefer less heat, reduce the number of chilies or omit them altogether.
  7. Fresh Tomatoes: If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned diced tomatoes or tomato puree as a substitute. Ensure they are well-cooked to break down any canned tomato flavors.
  8. Cilantro Garnish: If you don't have fresh cilantro, you can use fresh parsley or skip the garnish altogether.
  9. Naan or Roti: If you can't find traditional Kashmiri bread, you can serve Upar Gaar with any type of bread you have on hand, such as regular naan, roti, or even crusty bread.
  10. Rice: While steamed white rice is the classic accompaniment, you can serve Upar Gaar with other grains like brown rice, quinoa, or couscous.


Wrap up your culinary journey through the flavors of Kashmir with Upar Gaar. Savor the warmth and tradition of this unforgettable dish.

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