Jamaican Goat Curry

Goat meat is the best! Please welcome Hank Shaw as he takes us through a wonderfully spicy way to prepare goat. ~Elise

“What are we going to do with this goat?” Elise asked. Her acupuncturist Steve had given her an entire front shoulder of a goat from a local farm.

Why not goat curry? It was one of my favorite Jamaican foods growing up in New Jersey, along with those awesome meat patties the street hawkers would sell on corners in New York City. Rich, filling and spicy, goat curry (often made with beef back then, when goat was a little harder to find in NYC) was just as good on a hot day as a cold one.

Turns out this is one of the great dishes of Jamaica, along with jerk chicken. No matter which meat you use, the long-simmered stew makes great use of tough cuts of meat, or those with bones in them. Definitely use goat if you can find it – look in ethnic markets, especially a halal market if your town has one – but the dish works fine with lamb, too. Substitute beef if you’d rather.

You need to know that Jamaican curry powder is different from Indian curries, although they tend to have most of the same ingredients: turmeric, coriander, cumin, mustard, cayenne and the like. Jamaican curry is heavier on the allspice, so if you cannot find the real stuff, mix in some allspice with regular curry powder.

Is this stew spicy? You bet, but it’s not so fiery as you might think. We used one habanero chile, and I could barely detect the heat – although Elise could taste it. If you are into hot food, you could use as many as 4-5 habaneros here.

Time is your friend with goat curry. While it’s good freshly made, the stew deepens over time and is actually better several days afterward. It will last for a week or so in the fridge, so make a batch big enough to feed the Jamaican bobsled team and eat it for your lunches during the week.

Jamaican Goat Curry Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serve 8-12

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6-8 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp allspice (see step 1)
  • 3 pounds goat (can use lamb or beef if you can't find goat)
  • Salt
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1-2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped
  • A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 5 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Method

1 Make the curry powder. If you can find Jamaican curry powder, definitely use it. If not, use regular curry powder and add the allspice to it. You will need at least 6 tablespoons of spices for this stew, and you can kick it up to 8-9 depending on how spicy you like it.

2 Cut the meat into large chunks, maybe 2-3 inches across. If you have bones, you can use them, too. Salt everything well and set aside to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3 Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and heat until fragrant.

4 Pat the meat dry and brown well in the curried oil. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pot. It will take a while to do this, maybe 30 minutes or so. Set the browned meat aside in a bowl. (When all the meat is browned, if you have bones, add them and brown them, too.)

5 Add the onions and habanero to the pot and sauté, stirring from time to time, until the onions just start to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over them as they cook. Add the ginger and garlic, mix well and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

6 Put the meat (and bones, if using) back into the pot, along with any juices left in the bowl. Mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and tomatoes and 5 tablespoons of the curry powder. Stir to combine. If you are using 2 cans of coconut milk, add 3 cups of water. If you’re only using 1 can, add 4 cups of water. Add the thyme. Bring to a simmer and let it cook until the meat is falling-apart tender, which will take at least 2 hours. Longer if you have a mature goat.

7 Once the meat is close to being done – tender but not falling apart yet – Add the potatoes and mix in. The stew is done when the potatoes are. Taste for salt and add some if it needs it.

8 You might need to skim off the layer of fat at the top of the curry before serving. Do this with a large, shallow spoon, skimming into a bowl. Also, be sure to remove any bones before you serve the curry.

The stew is better the day after, or even several days after, the day you make it.

Serve with Jamaican rice and peas, a coconut rice with kidney beans.

Links:

Goat gyros from Food on the Food
Venison Curry - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

49 Comments

  1. Fuji Mama

    This looks and sounds absolutely over the top amazing! I LOVE LOVE LOVE goat meat and really don’t understand why it doesn’t get used more here in the US, when it is so prevalent in so much of the rest of the world. I didn’t know about Jamaican curry, now I’m on a mission to find some so I can do a taste comparison! Thanks Elise!

  2. Paige

    Oh yum! I’ve never had goat but I work on a goat farm. It’s a dairy, but once in a while there is cause to have a goat butchered (i.e. the hermaphrodite goat). I’ll have to see if I can get some from the freezer and try this out. Looks amazing.

  3. Patrick

    Hi, perhaps coconut oil instead of vegetable oil? (Since coconut milk is also an ingredient and vegetable oil is turning out to be the devil incarnate due to high omega-6 levels.) Just a thought. Recipe sounds great.

    Never used coconut oil, but I bet it’d work fine. ~Hank

  4. Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

    I have never seen goat meat in any store. There are some curry lovers in this house and they certainly like trying new things. I will keep an eye out for goat meat – maybe a farm nearby?

    Check a farmer’s market, but really, if you have a tough time finding goat, use lamb – it’s close enough. ~Hank

  5. Jane

    It’s not really Jamaican if you don’t marinate it overnight. Interesting that goat meat was substituted with beef in the US. Over here the usual substitute is mutton (old sheep) or lamb but that’s expensive.

    Ha! Tell that to my old Jamaican neighbors, who said marinating was a waste of time. I’d say you can definitely marinate the meat in some of the curry – if it is in chunks. Marinating whole pieces does little good.

    Oh, and if you do marinate, scrape off the marinade before you brown the meat. ~Hank

  6. Anisha Nazeer

    This is simply amazing. Thanks for posting such a wonderful dish.

    Tip: Those who are looking for goat meat, they may look in Indian or Pakistani run meat shops or supermarkets. Goat meat has lesser fat content than lamb meat. Also it has no smell, softer and tastier.

    Anisha Nazeer, India

    Good tip. But an old goat will definitely have a smell, though… ~Hank

  7. Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy

    Mmmm, Elise, you found the way to my heart. Curry Goat is soooo good! We eat it all the time, especially when I go home to visit my grandmother. She makes the best kind, thanks for sharing a recipe dear to my heart.
    Also laura@sweetSavoryPlanet, you can find goat meat at any Caribbean markets… they always have it.

  8. mantha

    This is the New York food of my life. Never had it before I came here 25 years ago — ate it within a week of arriving, and now it’s my hot and cold weather comfort food, from little hole in the wall restaurants all over Harlem. It will pick up your mood better than chocolate or Prozac. You never feel so fed, so warm. This recipe is about what I would have imagined, except I had no idea about the coconut milk — but it explains the sweetness under the heat and the rich mouth feel.

  9. Barbara | Vino Luci Style

    You say curry and I know I’ll love it; add in some real heat and it’s a done deal.

    Will most likely use lamb; I have NEVER seen goat meet available anywhere locally; now has me wondering if it’s something that could even be found through a local resource.

  10. Paula

    I made this recently. A vendor at our local farmer’s market sells goat meat. I was curious since I’d not had it before. First I roamed the internet for some goat recipes. Then I talked a few adventurous friends into coming over for a dinner featuring 2-3 different preparations of goat. This was our favorite, although a grilled rack of goat came in a close second. I know goat is a common offering in many places in the world, but it was new to us and made for a fun and delicious meal.

  11. Anna

    One of my favorite local restaurants is a Jamaican place and when I go there it’s always a tough decision between the goat curry, the oxtail, or the chef’s special (usually a whole fish). Now with this recipe to make at home, perhaps the ordering decision just became easier.

  12. Rumana

    After browning the meat and sauteeing the onions, would it be ok to just stick everything in a crock pot and call it a day?

    Seems like that would work. Give it a go and let us know. ~Hank

    • leigh

      I’m doing this right now!

      I browned the meat in the roasted spices as directed, sauteed the onion and threw the rest in the crock pot. We have a pretty big one but I failed to read through the recipe to see the yield. oops! lol

      Half the recipe quantities and that should be fine.

      Jury is still out on how it’s going to taste though. We will find out in 4 hours or so. =)

  13. Andrea

    Way cool!! Happy to see a Jamaican dish posted on the site. I see you have accompanied the goat meat with white rice which is great. However, in Jamaica it is also a tradition to go with rice & peas (also made with coconut milk) instead-it makes a great Sunday meal. Also, if you are short on time a pressure cooker comes in real handy. First, brown the meat, then add suffient water and coconut milk to the pressure cooker, pressure for say around 30 mins (more or less time might be required depending on the toughness and the size of the pieces of meat). Once the meat has reached the required tenderness you can then add your potatoes, carrots and some fresh seasonings such as thyme, onions and pepper and just let it simmer.

    We thought about doing rice and peas, but ran out of time. Definitely want to make that recipe, though… ~Hank

  14. Brian

    From what part of the goat should the meat come?

    Really any part — except the chops or loin. Those are the parts you should cook medium-rare! ~Hank

  15. Elle@KitchenGifts

    Gak. I seriously hate goat meat, but I have to try this curry recipe for sure. It sounds awesome.

    A few of my girlfriends come from different parts of the Caribbean and there’s an ongoing debate of who has the best curry. Imagine if this Canadian girl ended up the winner??

    Thanks for the share!

    That’d be awesome! I’m betting you don’t like goat because you’ve had old ones, which are stronger flavored. This works really well with lamb or beef, too, though. ~Hank

  16. Joanne

    I’m so glad to finally see that America is opening up to Goat’s meat, it has such amazing flavor, as a Ugandan it is one of our staple dishes. I can’t wait to try the recipe !

  17. Kristopfer Krueger

    I will be making this dish this weekend. FYI, for those having trouble finding goat meat, sometimes Latino markets will have goat meat as it is a common ingredient in Mexico and South America. We also happen to have a local meat shop that specializes in less common meats. I’ll be buying some goat from them soon!

  18. Cathy K

    I love Simply Recipes and have tried a gazillion recipes with excellent results each time. I looooove goat and will be making this tomorrow for Sunday after church lunch!!! Can’t wait!!!

  19. Jacquie

    Oh, you have soooo made my day. (A big fat smile) Thank you!!!!! It’s been less then a year that a dear and very beloved friend passed away (way too young). She was born in Jamaica and was a fierce and fantastic cook. This brings yet another connecting recipe.

    This is one special plate of food. Great for the belly and good for the soul. Yumm!

  20. marion

    Thanks for this recipe. We have a dairy goat herd and always have (young) goat meat in the freezer. People who say they don’t like goat: I bet they haven’t tried kid meat yet. It’s the best! And I recently read that is is lower in fat and calories than chicken!

  21. Tanya

    Absolutely one of my favorite things from home, but now that you have the recipe, you need to call it by its proper name! CURRY GOAT! We always put the Curry first in the dish name. That way, people will think you’re an expert. May have to look for some goat around here. Not many West Indians around here, but lots of Middle Easterners/North Africans, so I may be in luck. Though my hubby doesn’t like goat, he’ll just have to suffer.

  22. Darcy

    I have never seen ginger in a Jamaican Curried Goat recipe. Ginger in curry is more Trinidadian/Guyanese tradition. Ive also never seen west indian people not marinate meat. Your neighbors who told you it was a waste of time have been in this country for too long. I dare you to go to the country in Jamaica and find somone who would tell you such a thing. If even for 15 minutes, the meat is going to be marinated.

    • Felician

      you can not cook Curry without ginger dear. Jamaican always cook with ginger roots. some people remove it before serving it.

  23. Al in SoCal

    Can I get some idea about which cuts of beef or lamb to use for this? Like a roast? Looks great. Thanks!

    Al

    Use something full of flavor but cheap — short ribs would be ritzy, but any roast would do. We used shoulder. ~Hank

  24. Dave

    Am going to cook this over the upcoming weekend. I’ve never seen a recipe for this using coconut milk (most others just use water). What purpose does the coconut milk provide?

    Coconut milk adds both richness and flavor to the stew. ~Hank

  25. Alta

    I made this last Sunday, and OMG, what delicious (not so traditional) football-watching food! So comforting, and that heat is so good. I put 2 habaneros in and it was definitely spicy – and I’m a chile pepper lover!

  26. Janeille Powell

    I’m a Jamaican and there are a few suggestions to that recipe. I’ve really never tried habanero peppers the scotch bonnet peppers are whats usually used here, you can also add carrots not just potatoes. And instead of using canned coconut milk you can use coconut milk powder where you don’t necessarily have a lot of water the canned ones provide and also you don’t have to marinate it overnight.

    Thanks for the suggestions! Always good to hear from people who make this all the time. And habanero peppers are very similar to Scotch Bonnet peppers. ~Hank

  27. GaNeane

    Question: did you use tomato sauce or the crushed tomatoes? There is a definite texture difference in the two, and I’m wondering what works better.

    I prefer crushed tomatoes, but either works. ~Hank

  28. Melissa P

    I’m eating a bowlful of this curry right now with a big smile on my face; it is the most delicious thing I have ever cooked!
    I substituted the goat with cubed beef, and the white potatoes with sweet potatoes (went really well with the spice of the curry). Thank you so much for this recipe, it is fantastic!

  29. Carol van der Pennen

    Our local butcher (McLaren Vale, South Australia) had goat meat in stock, and having had a wonderful Jamaican Goat Curry on a visit to the USA last year I hunted around for a recipe. I found this one and made it, and slow cooked it in the oven in my Le Creuset cast iron casserole for hours. I added sliced carrot as well as sweet potato and potato. The result was the most delicate and delicious curry ever, the meat was falling apart tender and absolutely delicious. I added a little lime zest and lime juice to the rice as it cooked, and some fresh banana with the curry and was very very pleased with the result. I have a little left over, not much. Seconds were the order of the day, with people regretting they could not fit more in. This one is going straight on the list of Favourites.

  30. Stephanie

    Hello! I am Trinidadian and we ALWAYS marinate our goat overnight. We usually eat this with roti (a kind of flat bread). We also cook it a bit differently sauteing the onions first, then adding the meat and not taking the meat out of the pot. I’m really excited to see a west indian recipe on this blog. I noticed your oxtail recipe as well. I love oxtail but goat is by far my favorite meat. Thanks for a great blog!

  31. Evie

    I found goat meat at a Mexican supermarket and it was very inexpensive. Looking forward to making this for a birthday dinner. I love goat meat and wonder why it does not enjoy the same popularity as lamb in America.

  32. arva

    I made this for dinner yesterday, however the taste of garlic was too strong for my taste (I must say that it was a bit bitter); and I was only using half a head of garlic. In order to subdued the too bitter garlicky taste, I added another can of coconut milk; and afterwards it was better – although I could still taste the strong garlic taste. I wonder what went wrong?
    This being said, we enjoyed the goat curry, served with steamed rice. Thanks for the recipe and the great blog!

    • Felician

      in curry goat the garlic should add sweetness to the taste of the meat. First coarse crop the garlic don’t crush it or use a garlic press. this will only release the oils from the garlic. that were all of the strong garlic taste come from.

  33. Annie

    My husband is a huge fan of goat meat, so when I saw a vendor at the local farmer’s market who was selling it I couldn’t resist bringing home a few pounds of stew meat. The only problem is that I’ve not yet developed a real taste for it… until last night when I made this amazing curry! I took someone’s suggestion to try coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and it was perfect. We also eat a lot of venison in our house, and we always try to marinate it in milk for up to a day before cooking it to take some of the gamey flavor out of it. I tried this with the goat and was amazed at how delicious it was. I suspect that the enzymes in the milk also help to tenderize the meat as well. It cooked for about 4 hours and was super tender. Oh, and I also added carrots along with the potatoes. It was so yummy! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  34. Veronica

    Hank, I see your instructions that read “Make the curry powder.” but I don’t see a list of ingredients to do so. Do you have that posted somewhere else on your site??

    • Hank Shaw

      Veronica: All I am referring to is mixing the store-bought curry powder with allspice. It’a not actually making the curry powder, although you could if you had a mix you really liked.

  35. Amanda Davis

    So glad to see recent comments on this recipe, as it looks great & I have been gifted some goat steaks – so question is: can I use goat steaks in this recipe?

    I used to go to a Jamaican restaurant in college for goat roti and LOVED it but have never had the opportunity to cook goat myself. This recipe looks easy & with so many good comments I’d really like to try it!

    Thanks in advance!

  36. Felician

    wow I look up this recipe for at friend that call me for advice today as at Jamaican I do not know the amount of any ingredients in this dish . I cook and bake all Jamaican food by touch and muscle memory, so thank you for recipe. oh for every a simple Indian trip to had a nice kick of favor to this dish is to add extra curry powder the oil before frying the onions.

  37. ALi

    Has anyone tried this with pork? What would one even use? Shoulder?
    I’m an au pair in Germany right now and beef and lamb is pretty expensive here (and I wouldn’t even know where to START in terms of goat)

  38. Brooke

    This recipe is amazing!!! My husband says it is his FAVORITE curry of all time. So yummy. Had no peppers so my dish lacked that spiciness but still amazing flavor. Goat is such a great meat to prepare – if you can find it!

  39. Al

    I made this substituting beef, and, using around 1/3 of the ingredients (we are a small family and would be eating a 3 Lb pot of curry for weeks). I also left out the scotch bonnet (and didn’t substitute it with anything else, because I’ve got little ones in the house). Lastly, I used a mild curry powder as well. I’m not sure if I got exactly the intended result, because I did have to round some things off, but it came out quite good and everyone enjoyed it. Even my 14 month old ate it (served with rice). Quite nice; will make again – thanks.

  40. dave

    This recipe was absolutely fantastic. I also used the link to the rice and peas at the bottom. I only changed one ingredient from this list – the meat. I used diced casserole beef as an alternative to the Mutton/Goat. It worked a treat! A perfect taste of the Caribbean, sweet and spicy – just the way I like it. Thank you.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.