What I learned over the long winter is that we suffer because we don't accept things for what they are. We are always fighting against everything….the weather, life, situations, people, physical conditions…Maybe if we just accept the things we cannot change(and change the things we can), life will be a little easier. How did I come to this intelligent conclusion, you ask? I learned all this from…. a few ducks. Yes, ducks.
As I headed home from work one stormy, snowy day, my train got stuck over the water for about 20 minutes. The second I was about to experience a panic attack of major proportions, I peered out the window of the train and saw the most beautiful, calming scene I've ever witnessed. There was a swarm of ducks dancing in the water below, celebrating the snow fall and the magnificence of their beautiful life. They were not complaining, panicking, worrying, running, flying away or looking for cover. They were just there, accepting of the situation. My perspective on life changed forever. The voice that speaks to me said, just accept…accept. Panic attack averted. (I also accept that MTA NYC transit will never get their !@#$ together).
Armed with one more powerful word associated with a peaceful vision of ducks swimming amidst a snow storm, I move forward with another coping strategy to help with my daily struggles. The truth is that life doesn't have to be difficult, we are the ones that make it so. We must always look for the good in every situation(and every difficult person we encounter). Be transformed by the renewing of our minds and recognize that by changing our thoughts we can change our reality.
That prelude has nothing to do with this recipe I'm about to share. If you're a Trini, curry duck has probably already infiltrated your cerebrum. Have no fear, as you know, curried goat is equally delicious. We shall leave the ducks alone today.
For those of you who are not familiar, curried goat is another very popular dish in Trinidad, as well as Jamaica. It does not boasts of a mild curry like curried chicken. It's a special occasion, iconic meal that celebrates our passion for good food and camaraderie, keeping in mind that every weekend or any day during the week on the Islands can and will qualify as a special event.
During one of my vacations back home, I remember the presence of a goat in my mother-in-law's backyard. One hot, sunny day, we were served a "memorable" meal of curried goat, peas dhal and dhalpourie roti. After that day, I don't recall hearing the goat behhhhh! This is not an uncommon occurrence either. This incident was not intended to dismay you in any bizarre food way, but to point out that mealtime in the land of sun, sea and steelpan occasionally consists of the freshest of local ingredients---can't get any more local than that!
I also love the "curry goat" from Jamaica. It's made a little differently but still rather delicious. In my experience it's more tender, probably cooked longer than the Trinidadian dish (in a pressure cooker) and the curry appears lighter in color. I decided to meld both experiences to create this simple, delicious recipe that my family enjoys and you will too.
The technique and ingredients vary slightly from curried chicken. The curry flavor is more pronounced because of the quantity of curry used, some like it with lots of heat (hot pepper), but you may only add based on your preference. Curry is not spicy in itself, as believed; it's the addition of the hot pepper that makes it spicy.
When I cook, I usually prepare about 4 pounds minimum, so cooking 2 pounds, to develop this recipe for you, seemed too simple for me! [That's 4 pounds in the pics below]. I used green seasoning in this recipe, because this is the reason we Trinis always have a bottle of green seasoning in our refrigerator. Many of our dishes become so much simpler! See the list of ingredients below, unbelievable isn't it? if you don't have green seasoning, see here or you may just use 4-6 scallions, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs thyme (in addition to the other ingredients listed below).
This is better than restaurant-quality, this is the real deal, just like my mummy, aunty or grandma would make it. This is the only recipe you will ever need for curry goat. Trust me on this one (and all my other recipes).
Ria's Trinidadian Curried Goat
2 pounds goat meat, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped (I use sweet onion)
6 tablespoons green seasoning
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt (I use Himalayan Salt) and freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 teaspoons 'Trinidad' curry powder (Brands I use: Chief or Cariherb)
1-2 teaspoons duck and goat curry powder (ground masala)
6 thyme sprigs
6 leaves culantro (bandhania), chopped
½ teaspoon ground roasted cumin (geera)
Note: Duck and goat curry, also called ground masala, is sold in West Indian or Caribbean Grocers in Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY(Liberty Ave.), or pick up a package on your next trip to Trinidad(Brand: Cariherb). If you don't have any, replace the amount with regular curry powder.
1. Cut goat into 1-2 inch pieces, or to your preference. Soak with the juice of ½ a lemon or lime. Then rinse several times with water; rubbing the meat with your fingers to remove any slime. Drain.
4. Heat oil in medium heavy bottomed pot(iron pot). Add reserved onion slices (and hot pepper if using) and cook until the edges are brown. Add curry mixture and cook 3-5 minutes until grainy and fragrant.
[Pic to the left: Cooking curry in my garage]