Using Goat in Indian Cooking
Goat meat comes from the domestic goat or 'Capra aegagrus hircus'. It is also commonly called chevon (from the French chèvre) or mutton when the meat comes from an adult goat. The Spanish word 'cabrito' specifically refers to a young, milk-fed goat as does the Italian 'capretto', or kid. The word chevon seems to be more palatable to consumers rather than "goat meat". In the Caribbean, Asia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, the word “mutton” is often used to describe both goat and sheep meat.
Goat is a staple in Africa, Asia and South/Central America, and a delicacy in some European cuisines It is eaten by a huge percentage of the worlds population (60-70%). It is probably best known in African, Middle Eastern, North African, Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisine. Goat is also regularly used in food from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico and Italy.
In the past goat hasn't been a meat that is readily consumed in America, Canadian and Northern European cuisines but it is moving from just being used by immigrants from Asia and Africa to being featured on the menus of some top end restaurants in the big cities so is becoming much more popular. (In Brady, Texas they have an Annual World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-Off).
The flavour of the meat is fairly distinctive and it almost laying in between beef and lamb for its sweetness - it's less sweet than beef but sweeter than lamb. It can be prepared in many different ways from curried, stewed, minced, baked, grilled, barbecued and fried. It is also made into a jerky or into sausages or made into sausages. In Okinawa (Japan), goat meat is served raw in thin slices as yagisashi. Goat is a red meat, but it is less fatty then both lamb and beef as well as containing less cholesterol and protein. To ensure it cooks so the meat is soft and tender and to retain its moisture it needs to be cooked low and slow.
Goat has a strong, gamey flavour, but can be milder depending on how the animal is reared and prepared, the meat from a castrated goat has a richer taste and a milder, less gamey flavour.
Caribbean cultures often prefer the meat to come from mature goats, which tend to be more pungent. However the meat from younger goats (six to nine months old) is much more tender and I think nice in flavour.
The ribs, loins, and tenderloin are suitable for quick cooking, but all the other parts such as leg are best for long braising.
In India, goat is often used because the meat is suited to long slow cooking which produces a rich, flavoursome taste. This meat is also very lean which is favoured by the Indian palette. Dishes such as mutton curry, mutton biryani will use goat meat as the main ingredient. In West Bengal, traditional meat dishes such as kosha mangsho and rezala are cooked using meat from a "Khashi" or a castrated goat. You can substitute goat meat in lamb dishes but it needs to be cooked for much longer.Back to Cooking guides