The very first time I had tasted Jamaican Curry Goat many suns back was in an International Festival. We were trying to decide on our lunch, when we spotted this Spicy Rich Curry & got rooted there. It was served with white rice & some fried Plaintains- & needless to say we were satisfied & pleasurably surprised. Till that day I was under the misconception that that the concept of “Curry” did not go beyond India. How did the Curry travel to the Islands? This is what I found..”Curry, which is popular in Jamaica, was introduced there in the 17th century by East Indians
slaves (who were not slaves as I had initially read, but free servants,- as mentioned in the comments below), who were brought to the island (then an English colony) by the British.” So along with the immigrants, went the curry, spices & all. Now that explains…
This curry goat immediately reminded me of home. I remember when we would live in a joint family, with my grandparents & Uncles & Aunts & Cousins all in the same house… it was a glorious time. My grandfather was very fond of goat meat, & it was a “RULE” at our home at that time that we get the best kind of goat meat available & cook it the most elaborate way when we had company & during other special times.. My grand pa would actually pull a chair in the kitchen & supervise the cooking of the goat curry. The preparation to cook the goat curry would start from the day before when it would be marinated in spices & yogurt. The following morning it would be cooked under the strict vigilance of my grandpa who gave directions to the cook. There would be no quick pressure quicking that I resort to today. The meat cooked all day long as the big pot sat on low almost dying charcoal flame…. while the spices & ingredients mixed, combined, simmered & got flavorful beyond words. The meat would be so tender to bite….We would have it with white rice, a side salad of finely sliced cucumber, onions & tomato & the meal ended with “mishti doi” (Sweet yogurt)…I could close my eyes & get transported to those days.
While my grand pa supervised (& the rest of us benefited from a delicious meal), what he did not know was, in another part of the world there is someone else too who is taking that extra special care to cook a curry goat. For I have learnt that the main meat of the Caribbean is goat and it forms the centerpiece of any important celebration and one is judged on just how good your goat cooking is. In Jamaica the curried goat rules Supreme. It is an aromatic preparation done with a lot of spices & a lot of care. Jamaican curry powder has coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon stick, ground ginger and ground turmeric & Scotch Bonnet Peppers which lends it’s very original flavor . These are all familiar spices to me except for the Scotch Bonnet Pepper. Before I made this, I did have some questions about the authentic preparation of the curry goat, which were immediately clarified by Cynthia of Tastes like Home.
Sending this to Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: Caribbean Cooking. It is hosted by Meeta herself.
- 2 pounds goat meat, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 Potatoes, Peeled & quartered
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 1 large onions, chopped
- 1 large Tomato, chopped
- 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, minced.[I used Habanero, since I could not find any Scotch Bonnet] (For less heat, seed the peppers and remove the veins.)
- Black pepper
- About 4 tablespoons curry powder (more or less to taste)
- 8 tablespoons Cooking Oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lime
For the Curry Powder (Adapted from here): (You can buy store bought Jamaican Curry Powder. I made my own)
- 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cayenne or any Red Chilli Powder
- 3 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2″ Stick of Cinnamon
- 4 Cardamom Pods
- 4 teaspoons Whole black pepper
- 2 teaspoons star anise or aniseed
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice.
Combine all ingredients and mix them together well with a mortar and pestle or a blender. Store the powder in a tightly sealed jar.
In a large bowl, combine the goat meat, scallions, half of the onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of curry powder, and 2 tablespoons oil. Mix the ingredients together, coating the pieces of goat well with the mixture. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
The following day, remove the goat meat from the refrigerator and set aside. Scrape off as much marinade as you can from the meat, & save the marinade.
Place a large Dutch pot over medium high heat. Add the cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add two tablespoons of curry powder to the pot and stir it into the oil. Add the meat to this & fry for about 10 -12 minutes at medium heat, till all the spicy oil coats the meat & the meat starts to brown on the sides.
Add the remaining onions and cook them until they are translucent. If needed splash some water & stir to deglaze.
Add the garlic, tomato & the saved marinade (the one you scraped off) to the Dutch pot and stir & toss to well to combine all of the ingredients for about 15 – 20 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and the lime juice & 1 cup of water.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot and simmer the goat meat for 2 or3 hours (or until the meat is very tender) at medium heat, adding water as needed. Towards the end of 2 hours, add the potato pieces to the pot and cover & cook again for may be an hour. Add little more water if required.
You are done when the meat & the potatoes are tender.
Garnish with more Fresh Peppers if you want & serve with Plain White Rice. Some fried plaintains & Mango Chutney would make it a feast!
MMMmmmmmmmm! Perfect! Talking about flavors here.. there was no dearth of it. What we were missing were the Warm Sun, Sand & the Sea & some Live Reggae….
Here is for my record: Just completed 6 months of blogging & this happens to be my 100th post.