As a huge fan of food from the Indian subcontinent, spice, and goats, it makes sense that I would eventually learn how to make a goat curry.
If you’ve never had it before, think: gamey, rich, greasy, spicy and intensely flavoursome. Various cuts of mutton, ranging from ribs, to shank, to chops, stewed together until the meat falls off the bone and the connective tissue turns soft and gelatinous in a vat of aromatics, spices and ghee. Best eaten with your fingers and a heaping pile of warm naan.
The following recipe is a combination of a few recipes that I had used before, with a few modifications to keep things interesting.
Oh, and to ensure the flavors are all there, I invited a few friends over for a test batch to make sure the taste stayed authentic.
Takes 3-4 hours
- 6 pounds of mutton chunks (preferably all cuts of the goat)
- 5 medium red onions
- 4 inches ginger root (minced)
- 3 heads garlic (minced)
- 1 liter plain, whole-fat yogurt
- 1.5 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1.5 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2.5 tablespoons ground cumin
- 15 whole cloves
- 10 bay leaves
- 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 4 tablespoons red pepper (I used korean red pepper flakes for some dry heat)
- 1.5 tablespoons ground szechuan peppercorns (trust me, adds a faint tingling spiciness, enhances the heat from the chilies)
- 10 de-seeded red chilies (adjust for your own spice tolerance, include seeds for extra kick)
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup ghee
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus extra for marinade)
- 6 cups water (or stock if you want to be extra fancy)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed into slurry)
- 1 bunch chopped fresh coriander
- Marinate mutton chunks in 2 teaspoons of coriander, turmeric, cumin and chili flakes with enough oil to lightly coat the meat. This could be done overnight, but an hour should suffice.
- Food process (or finely chop, if you’re some sort of masochist) 5 onions. We want a rough, paste-like consistency.
- Finely chop (or food-process) ginger and garlic to a paste.
- De-seed and finely chop chilli peppers.
- Add remaining oil to heavy pot over medium heat, add all remaining dried spices. This allows the oils in the spice to diffuse into the vegetable oil and makes things a bit more fragrant. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until you see a slight change in color and increase in aroma.
- Add onions, garlic, ginger and hot peppers, fry out until onions are translucent and begin to take on a very light brown tint.
- Add crushed tomatoes and cook out for 3-4 minutes, this takes away the astringency of the raw tomatoes.
- Add 6 cups of water, bring to boil.
- Add all of the mutton. I know what everyone is thinking. “Oh no, he didn’t sear the goat, where’s the maillard reaction, where’s the flavor??”. Just stop. If you would like, feel free to sear off 6 pounds of fucking goat meat. While you’re at it, you can have your friends pick up some polysporin for your numerous grease burns and a lifetime supply of fabreeze to get rid of the goat stink covering literally everything you own.
- But seriously,the bone-in cuts of mutton, combined with the volume and intensity of the aromatics and spices provide enough flavor. The searing would be a marginal improvement for a whole bunch of extra effort and pain.
- Stew for 1.5 hours on low-medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent burning.
- Add yogurt, ghee and cornstarch slurry, continue to stew for roughly an hour and a half.
- At this point, the curry is done and the remaining cooking time is completely up to you. Personally, I like a thicker, sauce-like consistency and prefer to boil the curry down until it’s almost a paste. Others prefer soupier curries (perhaps served over rice).
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with warm naan and chopped coriander.
- Stuff your fucking face.
I like my curry with naan, and I’m way too lazy to make my own, so to recreate restaurant-quality naan, just brush some water and ghee on your store-brought stuff and toss it in a 400 degree oven for a minute and a half.
Like anything stewed, the flavors intensify the longer you keep it in the fridge (until it goes bad), so this is great for Sunday meal-prep. It microwaves well, but if you’re planning on re-heating over the stove, add a bit of water or stock to keep the consistency.
Shitty cuts of meat are the best for this recipe. Since the meat is stewed for so long, the fat has time to render, and the collagen in the gristle and connective tissue denature into gelatin. I find that the bone-in cuts also provide a thicker and tastier curry as you can stew all the goodness from the bones. Oh, you also get the amazing bits of thigh/shin bone with a perfect, buttery bit of marrow in the middle. Just trust me on this one. Save your lamb chops for something else and get the shitty cuts.
Close all your bedroom doors, close the closets, lay down some scrap paper on the stove/near the counters. This stuff stains like none other and the smell really sticks to fabric.