18 March 2012

Cooking with Goat - Goat Dopiaza (Goat Curry)

I love trying new things. I'm one of those people whose eyes light up when I look at a menu and see the name of something new and exotic that I, one, can't pronounce, and two, haven't tried before. I mean don't get me wrong, I have my old favs too. Ask my beloved, if I see calamari on the menu I find it very hard to go past it. BUT I do thoroughly enjoy breaking out of the daily grind by letting my taste buds do a little jig with new flavours.

So, when I was reading my copy of last month's SBS Feast magazine and they did a whole section on goat, once again my eyes lit up, my taste buds started to do their little jig, and my mind was made up - goat had to be cooked. Not sure how many of you have tried goat before, but I certainly hadn't.

To a good portion of the world's population, goat - or chevon as they call it in America - is not new and certainly not exotic. In fact, depending on where you get your facts from, some say it is the most widely consumed meat (New York Times and SBS Feast magazine), however I have not been able to substantiate this statement, as it looks like pork is the real winner (based on 2007 figures). But that's not what you're here for, is it!

Of course, I couldn't just cook a goat curry as I'd invited my brother and his partner (who normally live on the other side of Australia so it's always a bit of a treat having them join us for dinner), my sister and her husband and three children (one is only four months old so she doesn't eat much). However, plenty of food was required, so an Indian banquet was cooked...or at least my Austrayan version of one.

Indian banquet: Goat Dopiaza, Green Chicken Korma,
cabbage with spices and tomato, turmeric rice, cucumber raita,
pappadums (which we won't even mention the second degree
burns I got from making these) and my homemade pear chutney.

Goat Dopiaza
by SBS Feast Magazine

Goat Dopiaza
(meaning: onions twice)

This recipe is all about the onions. Feast magazine explains that piaza (or pyaaz) means onions and do means two, which explains the two different inclusions of onions in this recipe. I've also discovered from another great Indian cookbook that onions (as is pepper and garlic) helps with digestion and improves metabolism. Bring it on, I say.

Toasting cumin and coriander seeds,
chilli and turmeric powders.

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cm piece ginger, finely grated
3 long green chillies, seeded, chopped
3 large brown onions, 1 chopped, 2 thinly sliced
60g ghee (clarified butter)
800g boneless goat leg meat, cut into 2 cm pieces (get your butcher to bone the leg)
4 cardamom pods, bruised (this simply means smash the pod until it opens slightly as you want the flavour of the seeds inside)
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon quill
70g natural yoghurt
Coriander leaves to serve

Great colour on this piece of Goat
from Huaff's at Market Square, Sunnybank
Toast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chilli powder and turmeric in a small frying pan over low heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. (SRKitchen tip: Once cooled I put this through my spice grinder, but the recipe says you can put it straight in the food processor.) Process with garlic, ginger, chillies and chopped onion in a food processor to a coarse paste.

Heat 1 tbs ghee in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook goat in batches, stirring for 2 minutes or until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon (or tongs) and transfer to a bowl.

Cooking goat in ghee until browned

Return pan to high heat, then add 1 tbs ghee, spice paste, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, then cook for 4 minutes or until mixture is dry. Gradually stir in yoghurt until combined, return goat to pan with 500 ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 1.5 hours or until goat is tender and cooking liquid is reduced by half. (SRKitchen tip: I cooked it for about 2.5 to 3 hours and it probably could have done with a little more)

spice paste, cardamom, cloves and
cinnamon cooked until dry

Heat remaining ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir into goat curry and season with salt. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

-recipe end-

I loved this dish and I will certainly be making it again. The goat was lovely and tender - although I could have cooked it longer still. Using lamb as a substitute would work just as well. The dish certainly has a little kick to it, which got stronger over the next few days when I had leftovers, but it wasn't over powering so don't be scared to follow the ingredient amounts.

If you want to try cooking a curry from scratch this is perfect as I don't feel it is too daunting for the uninitiated.

Go on…try it…I dare you! Oh, and let me know if you do :-)

06 March 2012

Childhood memories and winners

Thank you to those who joined in the jam and chutney competition last week. I had some great stories from people about what special treats they remembered from childhood.

I love this one from Anita:

My Dutch grandmother used to make these delicious croquettes. I took then for granted until I was on a Contiki tour and everyone tried them when we visited Amsterdam. They loved them and I was very proud to let everyone know that croquettes were something I regularly enjoyed. 

And this one, from Bree, reminded me of how as children we can just love the simple things:

My Grandmother used to make asparagus pies, just tinned asparagus in little ramekins with a bit of white sauce and cheese on top - a huge family fave which my mum still makes for me now, although sometimes we now do use 'real' asparagus!

I also received a few responses by email and I've asked the authors if they minded me publishing a few of the comments as they are such beautiful stories.

From Sonia:
My 4 siblings and I would fight tooth and nail over our Nana’s delectable Rice Pudding. I searched for 3 years for a double boiler to be able to make it exactly the way she did. Nana said you can’t make Rice Pudding without it. Double boilers were very popular way back when, but very hard to find in recent years.

And from LL:
My favourite childhood recipe was my Nan's 'Italian' spaghetti. This was no spaghetti bolognese made on mince, but instead a chunky salty quite dry meat sauce that she made from meaty bacon bones simmered with tomatoes and herbs on low heat all day before being tossed with piping hot spaghetti to serve!! Gob-smackingly good!!

Don't they just make you drool.

But I guess you would like to know the winners. And yes I did mean plural 'winners'. I was so overwhelmed by the beautiful comments -- and I'm so glad it wasn't based on the comment, otherwise I'd still be deciding -- I decided to pick two winners. They are:

My favourite childhood treat was my Mum’s apple pies – because she did not have the appliances of today to mix pastry, etc. I can still see her kneading her fabulous pastry by hand on our kitchen bench before adding her cooked apples (no canned ones here!) – they were the most delicious pies and I could never imitate them no matter how much I tried and that pastry just melted in our mouths. These pies were always served after the obligatory Sunday roast. I can still smell them cooking now!! Then again, there were her banana cakes . . . . .  must save that one for another competition!

My mum was a fabulous cook, but her speciality was early 80s cocktail party finger food. She threw 'do's for my dad's business associates almost every weekend, so on Mondays, my lunch was usually a mystery box of canap├ęs... Mini quiches (noice), frilly toothpicks skewered with coloured pickled onions, olives and cheese cubes (different) and on more than one occasion, a tin of smoked oysters accompanied by a tiny cocktail fork (unusual). My friends would gather round for the big reveal, but didn't usually want to swap (even mini quiches were a bit too foreign for our small town). But I loved it!

I hope you all enjoyed reading these as much as I did. I'll be sending our two wonderful and humorous winners their peach jam and pear chutney soon.

Until next post, happy cooking!