Coconut Goat Curry Recipe

Coconut Goat Curry Recipe Recipe

We had guests over Tuesday evening from India. I wanted to impress them with the Indian cooking skills I learned from Baji (my husband Lulu's late grandmother). I made one of my favorite Indian curry dishes called korma. It's a spicy curry in which goat meat is slowly stewed in coconut milk. 

The key to the dish is the freshness of the meat. I buy my goat meat from a local Indian specialty market. Goat meat is popular in Indian cuisine so there are always fresh, tender cuts available.



Yields: 6 servings

2 pounds goat meat, boneless and bone-in meat
6 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
6 cardamom pods
¾ teaspoon red chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, freshly ground
8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
4 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
2 tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1½ cups yellow onions (about 2 onions), chopped and fried
½ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter; see tips), see tips
2 tablespoons cilantro (optional), chopped
juice of a lime
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked


The pieces should be about 1½" chunks. Wash the goat meat thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

Extract the seeds from the cardamom pods. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom seeds. Crush all the nits and gather about ¾ teaspoon cardamom powder. 

In a blender or a mini-blender if you have one, turn the fried onions into a smooth purée. Add about 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk for a smoother flow. Set aside.

In a large deep pot, heat the oil. Fry the cumin seeds. Add the ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, garam masala, cardamom powder, 1 teaspoon paprika powder and turmeric powder. As soon as it's golden and fragrant, add the meat chunks. Stir over high heat until all the moisture from the meat has evaporated (about 10 minutes). Add about 1 cup of fried onion paste, mint and the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add about 3½ to 4 cups of water. This should cover the goat meat. Bring to a full boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover with a dome-shaped lid to enable the steam to fall back in the saucepan. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Season with salt. Bring to a full boil one more time, cover with the lid. 

In a mortar and pestle, grind  the saffron threads into a fine powder.

Add the remaining fried onion paste; it will add natural sweetness to the dish. Add the saffron to the sweetened gravy. Add about ½ cup water into the mortar and pestle to gather any remaining saffron powder (saffron is quite expensive, so don't waste it!). Pour the saffron liquid and the remaining coconut milk into the gravy. Thicken the sauce with grated coconut. Finish with lime juice.

In a small pan, melt the ghee. As soon as the ghee is melted, add the remaining paprika (you could also add more chili powder if you like it spicier). Transfer the ghee to the goat dish. Leave on low heat for another 2 minutes.

Serve warm with some saffron and butter-flavored basmati rice or roti (Indian flat bread).

Bon appétit!


If you like Indian cuisine (... with a twist), check out my Indian curry pot pie.

The key to a flavorful, tender goat korma is to use fresh (not-frozen) goat meat. I do not recommend buying goat meat at Asian or regular local chain stores; the best place to buy it is from Iranian or Middle-Eastern stores, which always carry fresh goat meat since it's popular in those cuisines. Make sure to ask the butcher for both boneless and bone-in meat as the marrow of the bone will dissolve in the gravy and make it more flavorful. If you think goat is tough and unpleasant, it's because you haven't tried it fresh. I love how tender the goat turns out in this curry dish.

You could add cubed potatoes to the gravy. It will thicken the sauce a bit, l so you might want to thin it with a little water.

You can use the same base for the sauce and make this dish with chicken, lamb, beef or mutton, which is also pretty common in Indian cooking.

Indian cuisine always calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a small jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

Ghee is the Indian version of clarified butter. You can find it in jars at Indian stores. But if you don't have ghee, you can add regular butter to the gravy instead.

Saffron is quite expensive; I usually get it at a more reasonable price at the Indian market because Indian cuisine so often calls for it.

Frying onions is easy. Chop the onion. Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet. Fry the onion in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels. I always make extra so that I can vacuum-seal and store them in the freezer for future use.

In general, traditional Indian cooking calls for a layer of red colored (chile) melted ghee (or oil) on top of the dish. This is considered an attractive decoration; in times past, ghee (clarified butter) was considered a luxury in India.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 21, 2012.


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