This post was originally posted on Alica’s Pepperpot and republished with permission.
Goat curry is one of the curry dishes reserved for special occasions in my family. Although this is something you could easily purchase at a West Indian restaurant, cooking it at home is only common during birthday parties, weddings, and generally any important festivity.
I remember for my eldest son’s first birth, my dad bought a whole goat to curry. He cleaned the entire thing and chopped it all himself. It was so much meat that he had to put it into a big bucket and use the backyard hose to wash it thoroughly. I thought this was over the top, but you know us West Indians are extra about everything—hah!
I often wonder who we will depend on to cook these important dishes when my parents get older. There’s a technique to cooking curry that can only come with practice; burning the masala mixture to the right color, getting the masala-to-curry powder ratio right, and knowing how tender to cook the meat—because there’s nothing worse than rubbery meat getting stuck between your teeth! Anyone who makes a superb curry is held to high esteem because it means they know how to balance the spices and salt. Many don’t think of salt as an important ingredient, but it can alter the taste of the curry pretty drastically.
This is a Guyanese-style goat curry which means that it contains masala and curry powder, unlike he Jamaican version which only includes curry powder.
Every culture cooks this different (do I still need to say that these days?), and this is how I cook it, thanks to my father’s hands in the kitchen.
2 tbsp dried thyme or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp all spice, ground
1/4 tsp five spice, ground
1 stick cinnamon bark (not ground)
1/2 onion, sliced
3 sprigs scallions, finely chopped
2-3 wiri wiri peppers or 1 scotch bonnet
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 curry leaves – burn in oil before adding masala mixture
2 tsp salt, add more to suit taste
2 medium potatoes, quartered
5 tbsp canola or vegetable oil for sauteeing curry paste
Clean and chop meat. Wash meat according to preference.
Season meat with pre-seasoning, let marinate overnight or a few hours.
Prep ingredients. Make curry paste, set aside. Gather spices, onions, scallions, pepper, set aside.
Heat 5 tbsp oil in karahi or heavy bottom pot. Add curry leaves and fry until medium brown. Add curry past mixture. Saute mixture until medium brown. Add meat, toss meat with curry paste mixture to coat. Let meat cook in its own liquid until it has evaporated and curry paste has seared onto meat, about 20-25 minutes.
Pour boiling water over meat, enough to cover. Add tomato paste. Let meat boil until tender, adding a little water at a time throughout the process until meat is cooked, about 2-3 hous.
Add potatoes once meat is almost tender. Remove curry from heat once potato is cooked.
If using a pressure cooker, after step 5, remove meat and liquid and transfer to a pressure cooker. See note here about pressure cooker cooking directions.
Note: Don’t cut the potatoes too small, it will melt and make the gravy too thick. Have boiling water ready in a kettle. I prefer Lalah’s or Chetty’s brand of curry powder. For garam masala, I prefer Maywah or Guyanese Pride. My mother makes her own blend of garam masala, but when I run out of it, these are the brands that work for me.
Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse is an Indo-Caribbean blogger, marketing professional, and work-at-home mom. She is the editor and founder of Alica’s Pepperpot, a food blog focusing on West Indian/Caribbean-American cuisine. She is the daughter of Guyanese immigrants and originally from Queens, NY. She currently resides in sunny Florida with her husband and two sons.
It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.
From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking
Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies. Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.
With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.
Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.
Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity. From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.
These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.