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How To Make Proper Nepali Goat Curry

It's not easy, but it's so worth it — read why here.

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Justine Zwiebel / Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

I am obsessed with goat curry. In Nepal, I would wait for my mother to serve it with a heap of rice almost every Saturday. When I would travel, nothing was more important than finding a lunch-stop serving goat curry with all-you-can-eat rice and ghee. During festivals, I would refuse to touch vegetables because, well, who wants to eat vegetables when your father has cooked a whole goat?

But when I came to America for college, if I wanted Nepali food I had to cook it myself. In this essay, I chronicled how I learned to make my family's goat curry and the other dishes I grew up eating.

The recipe I use to make goat curry is a time-consuming one, but as I learned the hard way, there's no such thing as a delicious easy curry. Below, in step-by-step photographs and a recipe, you'll find out how to make curry like you mean it.

1. Peel the garlic cloves, then smash them with a muddler until they're broken up into smaller pieces.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

If you don't have a muddler, you can use a mortar and pestle or anything that has enough surface area on to bottom to smash the garlic. The flat side of a kitchen mallet or the bottom of a metal mixing bowl would work, for example.

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2. The goat should be mostly cubes of meat, but there might also be pieces of bone with marrow inside. These will add great flavor.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Keep in mind, this is a goat curry. Some of you may have never eaten goat. I don't understand why you can try frog legs and fried alligator but refuse to give delicious goat a chance, but if you're still absolutely not into goat meat, you can try this recipe with chicken, lamb, or pork.

3. Add some of the smashed garlic to the goat along with the mustard oil and salt. Then use your hands to mix it all together.

Let the seasoned goat sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

5. Carefully peel the ginger and cut it into slices about one-fourth-inch thick.

I use a chef's knife. You can use a spoon if you're worried about cutting yourself. Using a vegetable peeler is possible, but it's tough because most ginger roots have lots of nooks and bumps that are hard to work around.

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7. Broil on a rack fitted 6 to 8 inches below the broiler until the tomatoes are soft and all the vegetables are starting to blacken slightly. It should take 8 to 10 minutes.

10. To cook the goat, heat a large pot over medium heat. We used a traditional Nepali kasaudi.

A kasaudi is a round, brass, heavy-bottomed pot that's used often in Nepali cooking. Like a dutch oven or cast iron pot, it holds heat well and is good for foods with a longer cook time, like this goat curry. I brought this kasaudi with me from Nepal, and you'll have a hard time finding one in the U.S., so it's fine to use a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.

11. Add the fenugreek, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and dried chiles, and cook until they start to smell delicious. it'll take about 6 minutes.

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12. Add the goat to the pot. It's OK if the things are crowded.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Cook the goat over medium heat, stirring it occasionally, until the meat is cooked on the outside and starting to brown in parts. This will take about 25 minutes. In this time, the goat will also give off juices, which should then evaporate.

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Nepali Goat Curry

Serves 10

Recipe by Anup Kaphle

INGREDIENTS

5½ pounds bone-in goat leg (preferably young goat), cut into 1½-inch pieces (ask your butcher to do this)

5 tablespoons mustard oil, divided

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

20 medium garlic cloves, smashed, divided

5 medium tomatoes

2 medium red onions, each cut into roughly 8 wedges

1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

3 to 6 small, fresh green bird's eye chiles (or Thai chiles), stemmed

2 cups water

12 to 15 fenugreek seeds

3 whole star anise

3 bay leaves

2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

3 whole small dried red chiles

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons asafetida

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon curry powder

½ cup cilantro leaves, for serving

PREPARATION

Place the goat meat in a large mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons mustard oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and about a third of the garlic. Massage to coat the meat evenly. Cover and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Preheat the broiler to high and fit a rack 6 to 8 inches from the broiler. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place the tomatoes, chopped red onions, ginger, green chiles, and half of the remaining garlic on the baking sheet and broil until the tomatoes are soft and starting to blacken, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly, then puree in a blender with the water. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons mustard oil in a large pot or dutch oven (at least 5-quart volume) over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the fenugreek, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and dried chiles. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant and the bay leaves and fenugreek are starting to brown, about 6 minutes.

Add the goat and stir. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked on the outside and starting to brown slightly, about 25 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt along with the turmeric, asafetida, cumin, coriander, curry powder, and the remaining smashed garlic and stir. Cook, uncovered, until the goat is lightly browned and the spices are fragrant, about 15 minutes more.

Add the tomato-vegetable puree to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the goat is very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer the goat curry to a warm serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro to serve.

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