The history of Curry Goat

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Curry Goat is a classic Jamaican dish, beloved for its flavourful and tender chunks of goat meat in a rich and spicy curry sauce. The history of this dish is a testament to the fusion of cultures that characterizes Jamaican cuisine..

The story of Curry Goat begins with the arrival of Indian indentured laborers in Jamaica in the 19th century. After the abolition of slavery in 1834, British colonialists sought to fill the labor gap on sugar plantations. Between 1845 and 1917, nearly half a million Indians, primarily from the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were brought to the Caribbean region.

These Indian laborers brought with them their culinary traditions, including the use of curry. The curry blend they used typically included turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, and other spices, lending a distinctive flavor to their dishes.

Goat, which was already a common livestock animal in Jamaica, was readily available and more affordable than other meats. When curry was introduced, the Jamaicans embraced it and applied it to their local ingredients, including goat. The result was Curry Goat, a rich and hearty stew that quickly became a staple of Jamaican cuisine.

Over the years, Jamaican Curry Goat has evolved to include local ingredients and influences. Scotch bonnet peppers, a staple of Jamaican cuisine known for their intense heat, are often included in the dish. Additionally, Jamaican curry powder often includes allspice, also known as pimento, a spice native to the island that is central to many Jamaican dishes.

Today, Curry Goat is a beloved dish served at family gatherings, parties, and special occasions. It’s a dish that is synonymous with celebration and is a significant part of Jamaica’s culinary identity, reflecting the island’s multicultural history and Indian heritage.

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  • 1 tablespoon of ground allspice (also known as pimento in Jamaica)
  • 2 lbs goat meat, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Jamaican)
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and chopped (adjust to your heat preference)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

    Please note, Scotch bonnet peppers are extremely hot. You can adjust the quantity based on your spice tolerance. Always use gloves when handling these peppers to avoid skin irritation.

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Preparation of the Goat Meat:

Marinate the Goat Meat

In a large bowl, add the goat meat chunks. Add 2 tablespoons of the curry powder, the chopped Scotch bonnet pepper, half of the chopped onion, 2 cloves of the minced garlic, the grated ginger, thyme, allspice, salt, and black pepper. Mix all these ingredients thoroughly so the meat is well-coated with the spices. This marination process is key to infusing the meat with all the flavors. Once mixed, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to marinate. This should be done for at least 2 hours, but for best results, leave it to marinate overnight.

Brown the Goat Meat

Take a large pot and heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of curry powder into the hot oil, and cook it for about a minute. This process is known as ‘awakening’ the curry and helps to release its flavor. Now add the marinated goat meat to the pot. Ensure you reserve the remaining marinating liquid for use later. Brown the goat meat on all sides. This should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Simmer the Goat Meat

Now add the remaining chopped onion and the 2 cloves of minced garlic to the pot, and sauté until the onions become translucent. Following this, pour in the water and the reserved marinating liquid that was kept aside. Bring this mixture to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer. This process should take about 1.5 to 2 hours. The aim is to make the goat meat tender. Remember to stir occasionally and, if necessary, add more water.

Add the Vegetables

Check if the goat meat is tender. Once it’s tender, add the chunks of potatoes and carrots to the pot. Cover the pot and let it cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. The goal is to make the vegetables tender and to allow the sauce to thicken.

Final Touches

Now that your curry is almost ready, check the taste. If needed, adjust the seasoning. Your Jamaican Curry Goat is ready to be served! It is best enjoyed hot, served with rice and peas or your choice of side.

Please remember to handle the Scotch bonnet pepper with care, as it is very hot. Adjust the quantity as per your preference and handle with gloves to avoid skin irritation.

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