Goat Neck Curry with Potato


As you’re utterly sick of hearing from me, this past year we have been getting a whole goat from a local small farm and splitting it with friends. Processing happens at the excellent Dennison Meat Locker and our half is cut to my specifications by the butchers there. I actually send them links to Youtube videos of Pakistani butchers cutting goat and they follow their lead! Quite apart from the appeal of getting high quality mutton/goat cut in the proper desi style, a big advantage of getting a whole/half goat is getting all kinds of different cuts. Among these is the neck, which is very bone-heavy—which means curries cooked long and slow with those pieces have excellent flavour and rich texture. Such was the case with this curry with potatoes that I first made in early November, and which some people have been calling for the recipe of ever since I posted a Reel of the finished dish on Instagram. Here it is now.

You might ask if goat neck is a necessity for this recipe. No, it is not. I realize it’s not easy for most people to find 3 lbs of goat neck. Curry cut pieces from the shoulder or hind leg will do just as well. You’ll need to adjust the quantity down. 3 lbs of goat neck is more or less equivalent to 2 lbs of shoulder or leg in terms of the amount of meat. But you do want lots of bones in here. You’ll also need to adjust the cooking time as both leg or shoulder will likely cook faster than the neck. Or if you have lamb shanks or lamb neck, by all means use those as well.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs goat neck or equivalent amount of mutton (2 lbs if using a cut less heavy on bones)
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
  • 1.5 tblspns fresh ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tspn + 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • The following whole garam masala: 5 tez patta/cassia leaves [affiliate link]; 7 pods green cardamom; 5 cloves
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 1 tspn hot red chilli powder
  • The following ground together to a powder: 2-3 small pieces cassia bark; 2 star anise; 3 bydagi chillies [affiliate link]; 1 tspn black peppercorns; 1/2 tspn methi/fenugreek seeds; 1 tspn coriander seed; 3 tspns zeera/cumin seeds
  • 1-1.5 cups crushed tomato
  • 4 large yellow-skinned waxy potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups water, fresh off the boil plus more as needed
  • Salt
  • 3-4 tblspns neutral oil of choice
  • 2 tblspns chopped dhania/cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Marinate the mutton with the yogurt, the ginger-garlic paste and 1/2 tspn of haldi. Massage the marinade in well and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in an enamelled cast iron Dutch oven or similar, and when it shimmers  add the whole garam masala.
  3. As soon as the tez patta begins to darken, add the chopped onions and saute, stirring often till it begins to brown nicely around the edges.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 tspn of haldi, the hot chilli powder, the ground masala and the salt, mix in and saute till the raw aroma passes—about a minute or so.
  5. Add the marinated mutton with all the marinade to the pot, mix in well and saute stirring often for about 15 minutes or till the oil begins to separate.
  6. Add the crushed tomato, mix in and saute, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes or so till the oil begins to separate again.
  7. Add the water, mix in, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours or till the meat is just fork tender. Uncover and stir a few times along the way, adding water 1/2 cup at a time if the curry is reducing too quickly.
  8. Uncover the pan add the halved potatoes, stir to mix in and dunk in the gravy, cover the pot again and cook for 30-40 minutes or till the potato is done. It should still be holding its shape.
  9. Uncover the pan, taste and adjust for salt. If the gravy is too thin, let it simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes till thickened.
  10. Garnish with the dhania and serve with chapatis or parathas or rice.

Notes

  1. The final texture of the curry should be thick and just about pourable.
  2. You want to use waxy potatoes. Russets or other starchy potatoes will fall apart. And you want the potatoes to be cooked but still a bit firm. Potatoes cooked in this way in mutton curry are one of life’s greatest pleasures.
  3. If your tomatoes are very tart you could add a tspn or two of jaggery or dark brown sugar with them.
  4. You could make this milder if you like by using a milder chilli powder or just not adding any separately at that step. If you want to make it hotter, I would probably just add some slit green chillies with the potatoes.
  5. Shockingly, there is no Reel yet of the full cooking process but watch this space.

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