Curry Goat

Chris and I returned to my student stomping ground, Oxford last weekend to pay a visit to Chris’s bro who has just moved back over from Dubai. Amongst his possessions he had stashed a magazine clipping which he kindly saved for me and which covers one of my favourite subjects in the whole wide world – sandwiches. I was drawn immediately to a confit oxtail creation and set out in search of the necessary caudal appendage in Oxford’s Covered Market. Alas, it was not to be – sold out in every one of the five or so butchers inside. And then I spotted the goat. Not advertised as ‘mutton for goat’, which is the usual offering of, well, mutton instead of goat but the genuine, bona fide Billy.

An early afternoon train meant I would get back in time to pick up the other requisite ingredients from Peckham – scotch bonnets, thyme and spring onions. Ingredients secured I scurried back to the house, my eager mind racing with thoughts of welcoming a whole brand new meat into my life. And then a thought struck me…I’d never cooked curry goat before but I would bet my bottom dollar it needs marinating overnight. A quick Google confirmed this. Knowing I wouldn’t have a chance to cook the next day I resolved to push on regardless – a brief 1 hour marinade and 3 hours on the hob.

The results were, quite simply, dribble inducing. I sprung out of bed the next morning and missioned it down Peckham Rye in search of some more goat, striking gold almost instantly. I bought double the amount this time plus some bony bits for extra flavour. This batch would get some overnight marinating, even longer, slower cooking and a healthy mountain of rice and peas on the side.

Making a dish like curry goat takes serious patience and I strongly advise stocking up on snacks to save sanity. The smell of the meat in the marinade is a tease, the smell of the marinated meat hitting the hot pan is enough to make your knees turn to jelly, and the smell as it bubbles away gently on the stove is almost unbearable. The reward however is a deep, complex curry with meat that melts apart when you so much as show it a fork.

Although the second batch of curry was even better than the first due to the extra effort, I’m not convinced it actually was goat meat. The first batch melted almost completely and tasted a little bit like lamb but a bit more beefy. This second batch smelled just a bit too, well, lamby. It also had a huge amount of fat, and tasted suspiciously like mutton. Hmm. Whatever, the resulting curry was still fruity, spicy, fragrant and rich. If you’ve never made curry goat before I strongly encourage you to try it, although avoid, if you can, using mutton dressed as goat.

Curry Goat

For the curry powder (makes a small jar)

15g coriander seeds
Seeds from 7 cardamom pods
15g black peppercorns
10g fenugreek seeds
5g ground turmeric
15g ground ginger
10g ground cinnamon

Grind the whole spices in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and mix with well with the ready-ground spices. Store in an air tight jam jar or container.

For the curry

1kg goat meat, diced (or use mutton)
2 onions, finely chopped
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 scotch bonnet chilli, slit down the middle but left whole (or use two if you like it really hot)
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander plus extra to garnish
Small sprig thyme, leaves only
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon spice mix for marinating, 1.5 tablespoons for cooking
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon caster sugar
500ml lamb stock (or use water)
2 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil, for frying

Mix the goat meat with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, the spring onions, coriander and thyme. Mix well and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan. Dust the marinade off the goat meat, reserving the marinade in the bowl. Brown the meat in batches. Set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then fry the onions gently for 20 ? 30 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the 1.5 tablespoons spice mix, cumin, tomatoes, scotch bonnet, bay leaf and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then add back the meat.
Add the stock plus 500ml water (or use 1 litre water instead) to the bowl that contained the marinade, rinsing it around to pick up all the residue, then add this to the pan with sugar and the goat. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for approximately two hours, or until the meat is very tender. Uncover and simmer for a further hour to thicken the gravy. Check the seasoning and serve.

Category: Caribbean Food, Curry, Main Dishes, Meat, Peckham 30 comments »

30 Responses to “Curry Goat”

  1. Lizzie

    Oh my god. Straight to the top of my list. I love Jamaican food (what little I’ve had of it) and I NEED to make this!

  2. Charlie

    Bo!! whats your rice n pea recipe?

  3. Helen

    Lizzie – Me too, I am really obsessed at the moment!
    Charlie – Well I used one from t’internet but I can’t remember where I found it. It used rice (duh), kidney beans, water, coconut milk and an onion. I added a pinch of allspice too – cheeky! Bit of coriander would be nice although not authentic I don’t think.

  4. Dan

    I had curried goat once from a Nigerian stall in Exmouth market. Everything was going great, delicious – until I gagged on a paticuarly chewy piece……pulling it out of my mouth for closer examination I discovered a grey, rubbery, regular “ribbed” piece of meat which I imagine was a bit of throat or some other internal pipework. Somewhat put off by the discovery, the curry got binned and I haven’t eaten it’s like since.

    Yours on the other hand looks lovely.

  5. An American in London

    Funny you would post this recipe today . . . I was cleaning my cupboards last weekend and found a *ton* of jerk seasoning from a Jamaican holiday years ago. I wonder if the spices are still any good (probably not, though I can’t picture scotch bonnet losing its kick). In any event, I’ll have to give this recipe a try using my “cheat” of the pre-mixed jerk spices.

  6. Jonathan

    Brilliant. I’ve got a lot of time for goat after eating it non stop in Ghana.

    Following your theme… I’m keen to cook the cow’s feet/hooves that I keep seeing in Balham.

  7. Ollie

    God that looks AMAZING! I do love goat. Did you ever go to that Jamaican restaurant on the Cowley Road when you lived in Oxford? They were very keen on goat. There was always a stoned, irascible Jamaican guy sitting in the corner, who may in fact have been the owner.

  8. Helen

    Dan – Hmm, that doesn’t sound too appetising I must admit. No innards in my curry though, well apart from a few bony and fatty bits which I picked out at the end…
    An American In London – Yes probably worth a try. The curry powder was very satisfying to make though and is quite different from jerk.
    Jonathan – Sounds fantastic! I fancy a bit of cow foot action myself. I must check em out.
    Ollie – No! How did I miss that?! Argh!!!

  9. Dana

    You’ve been drum roll/Tweeting this Goatie Curry thing for almost a week now, and voila! Gorgeous. Rice looks almost sticky/risotto-style coconut milky?? Whatever. I want the whole thing right now for breakfast.

  10. nina

    Not something I would normally try, but your recipe is most tempting and I love all the interesting ingredients.

  11. Y

    Well, it’s only after 7 in the morning here, but already I’m craving goat curry!

  12. Niamh

    Oh Helen! This looks and sounds amazing. I’ve wanted to cook goat for ages. I must seek it out.

    Nice work!

  13. Oysterculture

    When we lived near Washington, DC there was this fantastic Jamaican place we used to go to and we always got goat curry. The first time I took my husband there I remembered thinking, we’ll have a good meal and nice conversation. My hubby put his head down and not until he practically licked the bowl did he look to me and say his first words “I give this place a 10″ This curry looks suspiciously like that meal, and so you have my everlasting gratitude.

  14. Dan

    I can confirm that is this indeed a stupendous dish, one that will tantalise the taste buds and blow your socks off!

  15. kang

    You’re beautiful :)

  16. Thomas Bonasera

    Another “must make” dish. This sounds amazing. My wife is a huge goat fan, but we’ve still never cooked it at home. We’ll do this one soon and I believe the Shepherd’s Bush Market is our best local bet for true goat meat.

  17. An American in London

    Oh, I meant the jerk seasoning could probably be used for the marinade portion of the goat curry recipe because the ingredients looked similar enough (allspice, thyme, scotch bonnets, garlic, salt, etc.)

  18. Helen

    Dana – Can’t beat a bit of curry for breakfast!
    Nina – Give it a try. I am currently a bit obsessed with Caribbean food…
    Y – Do it! Eat it for breakfast!
    Niamh – let me know if you find a good source.
    Oysterculture – ooh pressure! well I hope this one is almost as good :)
    Dan – yeah, sorry about the spiciness – glad you enjoyed it though.
    Kang – I’m blushing again….!
    Thomas – Ah yes good plan, I used to live over there myself so I know the market you mean – a good bet methinks.
    An American in London – Ohhhhh, I’m with you!

  19. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    This looks so good, Helen! I really love Jamaican food, and curried goat is really divine.

  20. SophieM

    I’ve also wanted ot try curry goat for ages. Sadly the goat you get in ethnic shops is very far from being happy meat and I haven’t yet found an affordable etchical goat stockist.

  21. Bron

    Yum -really like spiced or curried goat. There’s a good halal butcher in Tooting that always has good goat meat – will only sell you mutton if that’s what you ask for! Another good side dish is sweet potato roasted with ginger, chilli and garlic, and possibly an allspice berry or two.

  22. Peter

    Sounds fab….be it on a cool evening or after pints…goat curry it is!

  23. Trig

    Making me feel homesick for NE London!

  24. Chris De La Rosa

    Though simple enough on paper a good curry goat is not easily achieved. Been trying for years and I still can’t come close to my mom’s. Same can be said for my sister, she tries, but the taste is not the same. BTW, did you know that curry goat differs from island to island in the Caribbean. Try a Jamaican version as compared to one cooked from someone from Trinidad and Tobago and you’ll see what I mean.

    Thanks for sharing.

  25. gary elliott

    theres always a certain taste thats left out after i cook this dish,i just cant put my finger on it.it just doesnt have that special flavour that all the other take aways have.,something simple, something secret,time and patients perhaps i dont know..but, i sure have a good time trying.

  26. Helen

    Chris and Gary – I know what you mean. It’s funny because I’ve been reflecting on this the past few days and I think another attempt is on the cards. This was good but now Iook back I think it could definitely do with some improvement. I often find the takeaway versions a lot sweeter too. Maybe that could be worth a try – adding some sugar?

  27. Jim

    We do a very similar recipe in our pub, the Queens Head in Burnham on Crouch in Essex and our customers love it.

  28. Sue

    I’ve been meaning to make this since it was posted – and when I found goat on sale at our local market I finally had the chance. It was truly delicious. Thanks for a great recipe.

  29. Katie

    Always leave aside a bit of your seaonings to add near the end of cooking. This helps to intensify the flavours. Also best to use a bit of real ginger vs powdered. Last trick is to mix 2 or 3 differnt curry powders together to give a very complex flavour. I mix the Jamaican country style curry with the jamaican oriental spicy and sometimes the trinidadian Chief curry. Its a lot of curry so i give some to friends and family.

  30. mandrill

    You seem to have a bit of a passion for Jamaican foods. Be interesting to see your take on the slightly more obscure (but possibly more delicious) ‘Fifth quarter’ dishes like Cows foot soup/ Tripe/Souse(Hot or cold)/Black pudding/Pigstail Bouillion. etc.
    All of which were staples growing up as a South London kid in the 60′s & 70′s and absolutely delicious.
    Check em out


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