Curry Goat

curry goat

curry goat

August 23rd, 2014

Curry Goat is synonymous with Jamaican Cuisine and that of the other English speaking Caribbean Islands. Surprisingly the origin of the dish lies in colonial India and not Africa as one might imagine. Apparently, when slavery was abolished in 1834, the British government sought indentured labour from India to work on the plantations – labourers contracted to work for seven years and many settled in the Caribbean instead of returning home. These indentured workers brought their culture and cuisine with them – curry was a particularly popular method of seasoning and cooking in India. Lamb or mutton curry would have been a favourite at home and therefore, with an absence of sheep, curried goat (referred to as curry goat and never goat curry) became the replacement.

I’ve been thinking of cooking curry goat for a while and as the Notting Hill Carnival is taking place this weekend, it seems fitting to do so now. I’ve looked at and absorbed more than a dozen recipes for curry goat and used the ingredients that appealed to me most. I lived just off Portobello Road for the duration of the 1980s, right in the heart of West Indian Notting Hill and I’ve tried to recreate the type of curried goat I was used to eating at the carnival and Caribbean restaurants in the area. There are quite a lot of recipe variations, but I would imagine, that like those of Italy or Spain, the West Indian recipes vary from family to family, town to town and island to island.

scotch bonnets

scotch bonnets

A word of warning – I like hot spices and used a whole Scotch Bonnet chilli pepper including the seeds. If you like something milder, remove the seeds or just use half or quarter of a chilli. Be careful how you handle Scotch Bonnets – don’t rub your eyes or other sensitive areas. I found that three fingers on my left hand (holding the chilli while chopping) became warm and tingled for about three or four hours after preparation. I found the sensation quite pleasant, but if I’d got the chilli in my eye it would have been excruciatingly painful!

A&F butchers

A&F butchers

Goat isn’t especially easy to find in Britain, but luckily A&F Butchers, near me, in the covered market on Seven Sisters Road (Holloway Road end) sells it for £4.99 a kilo.

meat

meat

If you can’t find goat, lamb or mutton is an acceptable substitute.

goat

goat

Curry Goat recipe (serves 3, preparation time 5 – 6 hours):

2 lb chopped goat (including bones)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
4 – 5 fresh tomatoes (peeled and chopped) – or 1 tin
10 pieces of garlic (chopped)
1 Scotch Bonnet (chopped)
the green tops of 2 spring onions (chopped)
3 medium potatoes cut into 3 pieces each
1 lime (juiced)
1 inch of ginger (grated)
1 pint chicken stock
a small bunch of coriander (cilantro) (chopped)
8 or 9 allspice berries (whole)
4 dessertspoonfuls mild curry powder
4 dessertspoonfuls All Purpose seasoning
1 sprig of thyme
a large splash of olive oil for frying the goat

curry rub

curry rub

Almost all the recipes I saw called for Caribbean curry powder, so I bought Dunns River Curry Powder and All Purpose Seasoning (which are available in many London grocery stores and even the large supermarkets). Some recipes suggest blending the vegetables with curry powder to create a wet marinade, others suggest rubbing the meat with the seasoning. I squeezed the juice of half a lime over the goat and rubbed in the curry powder and all purpose seasoning. After rubbing, the goat should be rested for a few hours in the fridge, or ideally overnight. I just came across an interesting recipe which suggests adding a rusty nail – I’m not sure the rust makes any difference, but I might try it next time…

frying goat pieces

frying goat pieces

The consensus of opinion proposes that the goat should be fried in oil, until coated and then left cooking on a very low heat for 30 or 40 minutes. If you are worried about it burning, use a cast iron casserole with lid and put it into a preheated oven at 150º C.

goat and stock

goat and stock

Next add about a third of the stock and continue to cook with the lid on for another hour. Stir and repeat this at the end of the hour.

goat and vegetables

goat and vegetables

After the goat has had about 2 and 1/2 hours cooking, stir in all the other ingredients, (except the potatoes and the juice of half a lime). Cook for a further 2 hours in the oven at 100º C.

goat and potatoes

goat and potatoes

Cook the potatoes in the goat curry for a final hour and squeeze on the juice of half a lime just before serving with rice and peas.

 

rice and peas

rice and peas

Many years ago I had a Pakistani girlfriend who cooked me coconut kidney beans, as taught to her by her mum. The first time I had curry goat at the Notting Hill Carnival it came with rice and peas, which to my surprise were more or less identical to coconut kidney beans! Therefore, I suspect that the provence of the dish is in Asia, as per that of curry goat. Gungo or pigeon peas can also be used, but I believe red kidney beans are the most common “peas”.

If using dried kidney beans, these should be soaked and cooked beforehand. I’d intended to use fresh coconut milk, but the shop across the street that sells coconuts, only had small ones that sounded very dry, so I bought a tin of coconut milk – creamed coconut can also be used.

allspice

allspice

I was able to find some allspice berries at Bumblebee, which I crushed with a mortar and pestle – if necessary ground allspice can be bought in a packet from most supermarkets.

Rice and Peas recipe (serves 4):

1/2 lb basmati rice
1 lb red kidney beans (cooked) or 1 tin
1 medium onion (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (chopped)
2 spring onions (bruised)
1 Scotch Bonnet (whole)
1 sprig of thyme
16 allspice berries (ground)
1 tin of coconut milk
200 ml water
a large splash of olive oil for frying the onion
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the basmati rice in a seive to remove some of the starch.

Fry the onions in olive oil until they become soft. Stir in the garlic and rice, then pour on the milk and water. Add all the other ingredients (except the kidney beans) and bring the the liquid up to simmering. Make sure that you use a whole Scotch Bonnet pepper with no holes in it. Any holes will make the rice blisteringly hot, whereas the whole un-pierced pepper adds a subtle flavour, not heat. Ideally the mild rice should be a counterpoint to the spicy hot curry.

When simmering, stir the liquid gently, put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. Next gently stir in the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Allow the dish to sit without heating for a final 5 minutes. Before serving remove the pepper, thyme and spring onions.

Serve the curry goat with Red Stripe larger or Dragon Stout.

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About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
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37 Responses to Curry Goat

  1. cecilia says:

    John would like me to milk goats, i keep saying but I don’t like to eat them (if you want milk you have to have a kid i told him).. this recipe might change my mind. Interesting that goat meat is just called goat, not like mutton or beef or venison. Just goat. Curry goat whats more..Oh I miss London another reason why I do enjoy your posts.. take care mad, c

    • miss c we eat a lot of goat (well, mostly kid) in Spain and they do differentiate between the baby and full grown using separate words! – I was a bit wary at first but it’s so like lamb (which I love) I really enjoy it now! And then all that wonderful milk for ice cream, rice pudding, desserts 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia! The meat was fantastic and wonderfully tender after all that slow cooking. I have had mutton curry goat before, but with all the spices I can’t really say that I can taste the difference. In Spain where it’s a more normal meat, I’d agree with Tanya – it’s quite close to lamb and you can make goat’s cheese if you have goat’s milk 🙂

      • cecilia says:

        And I love goats cheese, so the best thing is to eat them young then.. hmm.. well i will think on it. I know i should not say it but milking goats feels so .. well.. girly, I do love the cows, but we will see..thanks your two.. c

  2. Brilliant post MD – I feel like putting on a sequinned head dress and heading out to Carnival! Fantastic recipe and the local caribbean shop sells that same curry brand. Love that you kept the bones in – authentic and much better flavour. Also more fun to eat! I remember being surprised the first time I ate rice and peas to find out the peas were actually beans 😉

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tanya – I think 10 years of carnival were enough for me and it’s not quite the same anymore. Notting Hill is now a rich white area and the the weekend is far to organised, regimented and commercial. Back in the day there were sound systems in every doorway, lots of little parties and people selling cheap Red Stripe everywhere. It was almost like a Spanish fiesta 😉

  3. Eha says:

    MAD, after your great ‘conversations’ with Celi and Tanya I almost feel I am intruding, but just wanted to say I really have to do more homework trying to buy goat here!! Have had wonderful goat curry in Fiji, have yet to find some here . . . Am going to try the recipe just as it stands but am amused you use a Scotch Bonnet and then MILD curry powder!!!!!!!! Want to see what your preponderance with allspice will taste like . . . love trying new balances. And please, please, please do post on the Notting Hill Carnival . . . hope you’re having a wonderful foodie weekend!!!!!!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha, you are very welcome to join in.
      I was meaning to say something about the choice of curry powder. Most recipes suggest mild curry powder and Scotch Bonnets, so I take that to mean that the curry powder is for flavour and the chilli is for heat. Allspice is a native Jamaican spice and true to its name smells and tastes like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves – to me it’s like Christmas 🙂

      • Eha says:

        Admit I know rather little about Caribbean cuisine . . . . oh, oft use allspice but your amounts are a wee bit bigger than usually meet my eye! Dying to try!! And I know what you mean about Yule as all N European Christmas cookies are full of the spice 🙂 ! Hope you don’t mind – could not help mentioning you/your recipe on REMCooks just now!! Such good luck to get two interesting recipes and stories on a Sunday morning!!!!! And that is a chilli site if ever there is one! Off to make chicken Mongolian with some couscous for lunch . . . now there is ‘fusion’ 🙂 !

  4. Very cool post about very hot gear. I liked the idea of the whole Scotch Bonnet, without holes, in the rice….very neat. I also checked out the link to Dunn’s spices. We have a lot of goats around here, but cheese is their purpose and I haven’t heard of goat being eaten although, with the massive African population in France, it must be popular in the cities. Nice memories of shopping in London although, unlike Celi, I’m surprised at how little I miss it 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger. Goat is very popular in Paris, particularly around Barbes, but I’m sure it gets eaten in the mountainous regions of France too. I’ve tried a few of Dunn’s spices – they only used to be available in Notting Hill or Brixton, but they even sell them in Sainsbury’s now. The Jerk and Barbecue rubs are also very good 😉

  5. Love this recipe mate, I’ve had curry goat at a street food stall here in devon, and it was wonderful, love the lengths you have gone to, to make it authentic.
    Cheers
    Marcus

  6. Conor Bofin says:

    Fantastic post MD. It is impossible to get goat here. My brother in Dar es Salaam gets to enjoy it regularly. I love the use of the scotch bonnets. Very hot, yet very tasty.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Conor! That really is amazing and there must be goats in Ireland because there’s Irish goats cheese, but even here, one has to search for the meat. I don’t suppose people make much effort to sell it if there isn’t a demand 😦

  7. Michelle says:

    Fabulous! Oh, how I love rice and peas.

  8. I love, love, love curry goat and this recipe looks absolutely fantastic. Have shared it on my Hot, Cheap & Easy FB page. I should be able to get goat….mmmmm, mouth won’t stop watering….I’ll send this to my dad too, see if we don’t get a little party going!

  9. Karen says:

    A deliciously authentic Jamaican meal Mad Dog right down to the rice. Yum.

  10. Pingback: Abergavenny Food Festival 2014 (Sunday) | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  11. Yum!!! I’ve had curry goat in Jamaica and loved it. Your recipe looks amazing; what sort of “cut” of goat should I look for or ask for at the butcher’s?

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