As goat becomes a trendy dish, the art of curry goat is becoming increasingly in-demand. That means a great curry powder recipe.
By Nigel Spence
As the end of the year approaches, already there are several food fads emerging and predicted to become the latest food trends of 2017. One that is already trending and vying for the top of the list is goat.
The movement began when gourmet markets began stocking goat cheese.
Then goat milk and yogurt followed. Now goat meat has begun to pop up on mainstream menus with people searching for healthier alternatives to beef.
It took how many years for the masses to catch up with the Jamaicans? Maybe now, people won’t give that “look” I remember so well when I entered the break room at work with my overflowing plate of curried goat and white rice from a holiday party the night before. It is said that many are seeking the collagen in the bone broth for some alleged magical healing of the joints and brain issues. What a sumting when dem hear ’bout the “magic” in our Mannish Water! (Jamaican goat soup) – the trend will quickly become a constant – ha!
If all this brain and joint goodness and virility from goat meat proves to be true, then after a holiday season in Jamaica one should be quite well equipped for the most rigorous marathon, I.Q test, or session between the sheets, cause nuff goat get kill and eaten over di holidays in J.A. and anywhere else where there is a high concentration of Jamaican folks for that matter.
Though curried goat in Jamaica is as common as fried chicken anywhere else in the world, there is one aspect of the dish that remains a mystery to many “seasoned” cooks – the curry powder. There are very few professional or home cooks that make their own curry powder in Jamaica. Most cooks know that it’s a mixture of spices but few know the actual ingredients or proportions that make a good curry or a curry that is uniquely Jamaican. This is probably because the stores already stock a wide range of good quality curry powders, so there isn’t much need to hassle oneself with making it at home and some of the individual ingredients are not readily available.
Recently, however, there has been a recall of many of the popular brands due to lead contamination of turmeric powder, the main ingredient in Jamaican style curry powder. This has led (pardon the pun) to price gouging of the brands that remain and some unhappy cooks who have had to substitute their favorite brand with inferior products.
I have recently been inundated with requests to share my curry powder recipe. It seems this shortage has caused the “curry-less” to step up to the plate and “tun dem han and mek fashin”! (get creative with your hands to make your own curry). This just goes to show that some difficulties open up new possibilities!
Because some of the ingredients in my original recipe is not readily available at the corner supermarket, I re-created the recipe by scaling down the original list of ingredients and substituting others in some cases.
Turmeric powder is probably easily found in any food store, but because it is the main ingredient and has had many recalls due to the lead contamination, it is important to source a good quality product. Turmeric does have traces of lead in it naturally occurring from the soil, but the recall is actually for unscrupulous suppliers who add fillers that contain additional lead, to bulk up the weight of the finished product and ultimately their profits. It is worth the research to find a reputable supplier, considering how much curry we consume as Jamaicans.
This recipe can be put together very quickly and used for that curry goat stew that I know will be on your dinner table come Christmas. The inclusion of allspice is what makes this curry blend uniquely Jamaican, as most curry powders from the other Caribbean islands and Asia do not include allspice as an ingredient.
Gone are the days of being bashful about serving goat to your foreign guests, as food television has turned almost everyone into adventurous foodies willing to try almost anything at least once. Furthermore, you can now “boasy off” by sharing the many healthful benefits of consuming Jamaica’s favorite party protein!
Quick Curry Powder
3 Cups ground Turmeric powder
1 Cup ground Coriander
1/2 Cup ground Cumin
1/2 Cup Garlic powder
1/4 Cup ground Allspice
1/4 Cup Onion powder
1 Tablespoon Ccotch bonnet pepper flakes or ground chile peppers (optional)
1 Teaspoon Clove powder
Keep all ingredients dry and away from moisture when measuring into a very large container with a tight fitting lid that will allow the blend some room to move around. After measuring all items, cover the container and shake rattle and roll to mix ingredients together thoroughly.
Store in a cool dry place and use as your new found curry powder. You may find that you will less flavor enhancers in your dish since your new curry powder has onion and garlic powder built in to the mix. Feel free to experiment with adding other dry ingredients to create your own unique blend such as dried thyme, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, cinnamon et cetera but be sure to add in small amounts so as to complement rather than overpower the original blend.
Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for 3 years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cook offs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show , Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.