Goat is both elusive and expensive in New Zealand; this kilo leg came in at $25 which is a lot of money, so feel free to call me an elitist hoebag and substitute whatever takes your fancy. We're not usually this extravagant with meat either but tend to concentrate on quality rather than quantity these days.
It's best to reconcile yourself in advance to the idea that quadruped curry is a slow-mo meal, so if convenience is a concern for you, opt for chicken or fish. Make this a day in advance or at least the morning before you need it, if at all possible. Cheap, tough meat like blade steak or gravy beef will be transformed by 12 hours in the fridge and end up gobsmackingly and even unrecognisably delicious.
One more thing... I use a tonne of dry and fresh spices to supplement the spice paste, for two reasons. Pastes, while providing the spine and direction of each particular curry, almost always lose the 'headspace' aromatics and these volatile notes are far more likely to persist in whole spices. And I grew up with a Tamil aunt who acculturated us to what many might consider extreme flavours. Don't worry, I've turned down the heat for this recipe; if you're only just getting into Indian food or need to accommodate conservative guests, you can cut the additions right back or leave them out altogether. Except the ginger and garlic- you just can't do without those. Depending on your spice paste, you'll end up with a 'softer', more generic-tasting result, probably with very little in the way of heat.
Whilst I'm doing a vindaloo-type thing today these instructions apply to virtually any yoghurt-sauced curry. You do need to pay a bit of attention to the ingredient list and the advice about what's important and what's not, so have a read through before rushing off to the supermarket. This curry will serve six, even eight peeps with the accompaniments suggested at the end. You can bulk it out a long way with more onions and eggplant if necessary.
W H A T Y O U ' L L N E E D
- 1 kilo of goat. Any cut is fine. Defrost the day before if frozen.
- 1 packet of Vindaloo spice paste
- 2 medium onions
- Half a big eggplant or three medium parboiled potatoes, diced.
- A small finger of fresh root ginger or a teaspoon of dried ginger
- A small head of garlic, roughly chopped
- A finger of root tumeric (not necessary, nice if you can get it)
- About a tablespoon each of the dry spices of your choice: for this curry I'm using cumin, cloves, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon, mustard seeds and fenugreek. Pound/grind the star anise, cloves and cinnamon to a powder if they're whole. These are your dry masala spices.
- A big teaspoon of medium to hot chili powder for moderate heat
- Half a litre of beef or chicken stock (entirely optional- I'm not bothering and just using water)
- Rice bran oil + butter, or ghee, whichever floats your boat
- At least a cup of plain unsweetened yoghurt. I'm using Greek-style
- A big tablespoon of quince jelly or similar jam
- One small tin or two big tablespoons of plain, good-quality tomato paste; a tin of diced tomatoes in a pinch.
Mmmokay. Dice the onions and eggplant (or dice and parboil the potatoes if you're using those). < Finely grate the ginger and tumeric. Open your can of tomato paste, make sure you've got enough yoghurt.
Below- This is what a good piece of goat (or any red meat for that matter) looks like. Nice colour, clean membranes, silky, dry, smelling faintly of itself and nothing else. This is the rump (meaty) end of a kid leg weighing around 1kg; to the right is the same leg cut off the bone and diced, leaving you with a clear 800 grams of usable meat.
In the same pan, brown the onions, add the eggplant or potatoes and fry until you get a good caramelized colour. Tip some juice from the meat into the pan to help the process.
Add the browned meat to the onions and eggplant and toss in the remaining masala spices, spice paste, tumeric and ginger. Stir this thoroughly over a medium heat for five mins, making sure everything comes in contact with everything else and doesn't stick to the pan and burn to shit. Don't walk away from it at this stage, whatever you do. Once everything's looking good and browned, add enough water/stock to cover, and the tin of tomato paste.
< Oooh, secret ingredient time! Add a tablespoon of quince jelly or any other smooth jelly/jam you've got lying around. Nothing seedy like strawberry- go for something sympathetic to meat, like cranberry, apricot or blackcurrant.
> Simmer as is for about 20 mins, then dump in the yoghurt. The amount really isn't that important- half a cup, a whole cup- it's all the same in the end.
< Keep it on a low heat for at least half an hour, just barely bubbling. Leave the lid off if you feel you've added too much liquid and allow it to evaporate/cook down.
Young goat is particularly succulent and with the right treatment will yield meltingly tender results. If you can refrigerate the curry overnight you're doing everyone a favour, but if you've got hungry people bitching in the next room, it will be edible after about 30 mins of slow heat. Serve with basmati rice or couscous, Indian bread like paratha or naan, plain yoghurt and pickles on the side. We like stirfried runner beans and zuccini with this curry but any vegetables will be fine, as will a trad accompaniment like dahl or tumeric potatoes.