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jamaican curry goat (or beef) recipe –easy, cheap, and spicy

June 29, 2009

As I’ve previously written, Jamaican food is some of my favorite grub.  Given there are only a handful of such restaurants within a 45 minute or so subway ride from my apartment, when it comes to getting my fill of Jamaican food I’m either at the mercy of A) nice friends who know how to cook (that’s a no go) or B) my own kitchen.

With plan B my only option, I’ve played around with various recipes and ingredients over the past few years and have, luckily, had some pretty tasty results.  Here’s my favorite recipe for curry goat, Jamaica’s national dish.  Yea yea yea…goat is a no-go for some (even though it’s lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef).  For others it’s hard to find.  Either way, you can substitute with tough cuts of beef such as chuck.  Whatever your choice, this recipe takes a while to cook but couldn’t be easier to prepare.


1 medium onion, diced*

5 cloves of garlic, minced*

A half in piece of ginger, minced*

4 scallions, diced (both the white and green parts)*

2 habanero peppers, finely minced.  If you can’t take the heat remove the seeds and ribs. *

*What I consider a Jamaican mirepoix of sorts

1 TBS dried thyme

2 TBS freshly ground allspice (pimento)

.5 tsp ground cinnamon

2 TBS sugar

2 medium sized potatoes, cut into equal sized cubes (about 1 inch).  I keep the skins on mine.

1.5 lbs. of goat or beef, cut into small cubes

4 TBS Jamaican curry powder (me likes Betapak).  You can use Indian Madras curry powder (read:  that jar/bottle of yellow stuff in your cabinet that says ‘curry’) with similar results.

2 TBS vegetable oil


Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all the ingredients save for the water, vegetable oil, and potatoes together and marinate overnight in the fridge.

I will perfume your fridge.

I will perfume your fridge.

When ready to cook, add the vegetable oil over medium high heat to a large pot (one that has a lid).  Add all the marinating ingredients and cook/mix for 5 or so minutes.

Mellow yellow

Mellow yellow

After 5 minutes (or until you’re bored) add water to the pool…just enough to cover all the ingredients.

Going for a swim

Going for a swim

Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low –you’re looking for a gentle simmer.  Set the timer for 2 hours and walk away.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water.  You’re looking to cook em’ about 75% of the way.

After 2 hours check the goat/beef for tenderness (it should pretty much fall apart) and the sauce for seasoning.  Continue to simmer if not tender and re-season accordingly.

When the meat is tender add the potatoes to the pool and cook until they are done to your liking.

Yea mon.  Make it pretty by adding some chopped green scallions to each serving.

Serve with:

Grilled pineapple, Jamaican rice and peas, ginger beer, red stripe, sweet fried plantains, and Bob Marley.

The done deal

The done deal

19 Comments leave one →
  1. mark permalink
    July 1, 2009 9:32 am

    daaaamn this looks good. did you make it with goat or beef and more importantly, when are you making some for me?

    • edbstratt permalink*
      July 1, 2009 9:38 am

      Beef -the only goat I could find was at the farmers market and was around a mortgage payment.

      In terms of when, probably never.

  2. Michele permalink
    July 1, 2009 5:06 pm

    looks delicious. Hmmm…I thought you said GOAT. Do you think chicken would be over-powered by the strong spices??

    • edbstratt permalink*
      July 1, 2009 5:37 pm

      Nope…bring it on. Use pieces with skin and bones on.

  3. October 4, 2009 1:00 pm

    My boyfriend just went to Jamaica and had this dish; I wanted to make it so I was googling and came across your recipe which I’m bookmarking.

    As for finding goat that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, have you tried ethnic markets? I have a feeling they’d be much cheaper than a farmers’ market…

    Noelle of Simmer Down

  4. Nina permalink
    January 27, 2011 1:03 am

    I’m preparing this for our Gourmet Club’s Jamaican Night and will be doubling all ingredients. Do you think putting this in the slow cooker will be ok? For 4 hours instead of 2?

    • January 27, 2011 9:52 am

      I guess my invite got lost in the interwebs…

      Crank her on low to ensure the goat/beef/whatever doesn’t fall apart, but is fork tender. What else you guys making??

      Let us know how she goes!

  5. Jess permalink
    April 25, 2011 4:06 pm

    so i guess if doing this in a slow cooker, you want to follow the first steps more of a browning the meat and then stick it it slow cooker for about 4 hrs as sugested by Nina? or a mi better of using a dutch oven? I cant wait to try this !

    • April 25, 2011 4:10 pm

      Yep -I would brown that sucker up first whether in the dutch oven or slow cooker.

  6. Jess permalink
    April 25, 2011 4:15 pm

    having a jamaican themed party, have the standard jerk chicken, beef patties & snapper but was thinking of having something a bit out of the norm for most folks. Hoping i can pull this off as opposed to paying $70 for a half pan from a local restaurants. Also think i May be able to find some goat pretty easy being in the DC area. fingers crossed

    • August 12, 2013 2:57 pm

      Jess ? still looking for Goat?

      • Jess permalink
        August 12, 2013 3:04 pm

        nope but thanks for checking. oddly found multiple grocery stores and farms that carried it. Dish came out delicious!

  7. Aaron permalink
    April 28, 2011 9:20 am

    I like your recipe and really love the enthusiastic, energetic and fun with which it is written. It is clear that you are sharing something that you enjoy – Thats a kindness.


  8. macey permalink
    May 6, 2011 3:34 am

    hi living in the uk,tried your recipe,it was great,will be doing it again,thanks for putting it on here

  9. Jess permalink
    May 12, 2011 12:46 pm

    Ed, about how many would you say this feeds? Just got back from a Jamaican Market, Found goat at $3.99 a pound. ordered some curried goat to go and will go back this weekend to get fresh goat meat

    • May 12, 2011 12:54 pm

      Healthy eaters? I’d say it makes 5-6 servings. But who doesn’t like leftovers —make some more!

  10. Mrs. Foster permalink
    March 26, 2012 7:11 pm

    How do you think this might work with lentils instead of potatoes?

    • March 26, 2012 8:58 pm

      Sounds like a plan to me! Give it a spin and report back w. the results.

  11. glitterme permalink
    February 16, 2013 7:22 pm

    I just put this in the fridge it smell so good, I had to use mace instead of cinnamon because I am allergic. I will give an update tomorrow.

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