Jamaican Curry Goat

Jamaican Curry Goat

Curry goat is a classic Caribbean dish that you expect to see at every Caribbean family gathering or party. As every island has their own unique differences I can only really speak from a Jamaican perspective when I say that this is one of the best dishes to come out of Jamaica and unless you don’t eat red meat or you really don’t like a curry flavour – you will love this! I definitely have to have it on my menu when it’s time to celebrate, and I don’t like to brag (honestly) but my curry goat gets a 10/10 every time. So of course, I am sharing it with you all so we can all be winners in this game and shut down the party… properly!

As with most dishes, it’s all about the quality of the ingredients, the right flavours and the technique. As simple as it sounds, cooking goat meat is not something everyone can do and in your greatest efforts of getting it tender and juicy it can easily be overcooked, trashy and you will end up with “curry goat soup” (no one likes this, it’s not an alternative and it will never be ok.)

Curry goat can take some people a few attempts to master so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time. If you follow the recipe people will probably never know anyway! 😉

Because curry goat is such an intricate dish, this post is a bit heavy with information but if you want yours to turn out like mine (and trust me… you do) then keep reading after the recipe for some of my curry goat wisdom. It’s a lot I know hehehe but I wouldn’t be telling you if you didn’t need to know. 🙂


  • Serves: 2-4 people
  • Cooking time: 2+ hours
  • Prep time: Overnight

Ingredients

  • 2½ lbs goat meat
  • 1½ litres water
  • 3 garlic cloves (whole but squashed)
  • 1-2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 large scallion (or very large spring onion)
  • ½ sweet pepper roughly chopped
  • Handful of fresh thyme (approx. 10 sprigs)
  • 2 tbsp & 1tsp Betapac curry powder
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp finely ground pimento
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper

Prep

  1. Cleanse your goat meat in a cup of white vinegar and 3 cups of water and rinse thoroughly.
  2. In a seasoning bowl, add the goat meat, 2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp sea salt, ½ tbsp pimento, ground garlic, garlic cloves, ginger, mixed herbs and black pepper and mix well. It is best to use your hands (wearing gloves) to work the seasoning into the meat.
  3. Add the onion and sweet peppers and thyme and mix well.
  4. Using a heavy object or kitchen hammer, squash the skellion from top to bottom until it is completely flattened. and place this into the bowl.
  5. Leave to marinate (best to leave overnight).

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Instructions

  1. In a dutch pot or large casserole pot heat a tablespoon of coconut oil until it has melted.
  2. Add your goat meat and ‘stir fry’ for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour 900ml of hot water into the pot & add the scotch bonnet and bay leaves.
  4. Set your timer to 2 hours, place the lid on the pot and leave to simmer on a high heat. Check it regularly and give it a quick stir just to make sure it is not sticking.

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  1. After about 45 mins to an hour add ½ tbsp. of pimento, 1 tsp of sea salt (optional) & 1 tsp of curry powder. Check that your scotch bonnets have not burst in the pot – if they have you should remove them unless you want it to be very spicy.
  2. Taste a small piece of the meat to that ensure it is tenderising. By this point is should be soft enough to eat comfortably but not quite ready yet.
  3. Once the gravy has reduced and thickened (usually after the first hour) add 200ml – 400ml of water to the pot and stir.
  4. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes, reducing the heat to medium and then taste it to see if it needs anymore salt. Add more if you would like.
  5. Turn the heat to a low setting and leave the meat to simmer for the remainder of time left.
  6. When your timer goes off, taste a small piece of the meat to ensure that it is tender. If not, leave the heat on a low setting, checking regularly until you are happy with the texture.
  7. Once you are happy, remove the pot from the heat and serve with some basmati rice, homemade coleslaw or fried plantain.
  • While your goat is cooking always remove the scotch bonnet peppers temporarily before stirring as this can cause them to get “lost” or burst in the pot, increasing the intensity of the spice and potentially making it too hot to enjoy (unless you like things extra hot!)
  • If you find that your meat took more than two hours to tenderise or never really tenderised at all after about 4 hours of cooking… you were probably sold old/low quality meat 🙁

The key to success if you want an authentic tasting (Jamaican style) curry goat that is one of a kind, is in the curry powder you use. Understandably, not everyone will be able to find this particular brand –although it is available to purchase from Amazon at a rather cheeky price – but where possible please please please use it. Betapac is an authentic Jamaican curry powder (made in Jamaica might I add) perfect for curry dishes. I can’t even explain the differences between this brand and the other alternatives – it’s like some kind of umami! Other than online you can find it in nearly any ethnic/Caribbean specialist store (if you live in London you will find it in places like Brixton, Tottenham, Stamford Hill, Dalston).

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Try and find a butcher that you can trust to purchase your goat meat, to ensure that it is fresh and definitely goat (some people will try and sell you lamb/mutton. It’s neither the same nor does it taste the same). You need a good mixture of meaty pieces and boney pieces so I recommend requesting meat from the shoulder. However if you do prefer the meatier parts then I would suggest asking for the leg.

The consistency of the “gravy” is another thing people like to debate. I myself like a ‘light’ gravy with ‘body’. So it’s not like water but it’s not so thick it’s like a stew, nestled somewhere perfectly between the two. My big tip for your curry goat gravy is that if you find that you’ve added too much water and you need to thicken it, DO NOT use gravy granules. These will alter the taste and also potentially make it too salty. Make sure your curry goat is seasoned perfectly and then use cornflour to thicken.

Finally, to bring it all together I recommend serving this with plain basmati/long grain rice. This is how most people eat it in Jamaica (not with rice and peas as most people think) and I love it with some homemade coleslaw or fried plantain on the side.

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Enjoy! 🙂


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