Goat Rendang

I was in FXB on Moore Street this Saturday and there was a big sign outside saying they had goat in stock which basically decided what we we were going to have for dinner that night. I’m a big fan of the meat and ate lots of it when I was in Argentina last year; I’d been wondering where to source some in Dublin and although I’d been told several of the halal shops around Clanbrassil Street sold it I’d never got round to checking. The guy behind the counter said they’ll have it semi-regularly and I’d say they still have some now so it might be worth a trip in if you’re interested.

The taste is a bit more intense than beef but not as strong as lamb and I find it’s mostly suited to braising but if you get a whole leg like I did you could easily roast it as well. I felt I wanted to have something spicy to go with the more robust flavour of the meat and decided to do a variation on the Malayasian dish beef rendang as I hadn’t cooked it in ages. I also made it using my pressure cooker to save time but the recipe I’m posting is for the traditional way as you really need an uncovered pan to aid the evaporation: I ended up having to strain out the sauce and reduce it down and then recombine with the meat which meant the dish took almost as long in total as if I’d done it the usual manner.

I assembled the instructions here from three different versions I found online, the last one in particular is very good (I also wish I’d found an incredibly helpful eGullet thread before rather than after I’d cooked the rendang). There is one slightly unusual step below and it involves the lemongrass: a lot of recipes call for it to be included in the paste but I find no matter how much you try to puree it you still get horrible woody bits in the curry that ruin the texture. To solve the problem I finely chop the lemongrass and simmer it in water on a really low heat for about half an hour and then strain the resulting liquid through a cheesecloth. I normally make a big batch and freeze it but I‘ve given instructions and quantities for just enough for a single portion. One last thing, don’t even contemplate making this with low fat coconut milk, it would be pointless.

Goat Rendang

Serves: 4

Groundnut oil
800g goat meat, cubed
3cm peeled ginger
3 red chillis
3 large cloves garlic
1 large onion
2 lemongrass stalks
20g coriander seed
5g fennel seeds
5g cumin seeds
2.5g tumeric powder
4 cloves
5 cardamom pods
400ml coconut milk
10g brown sugar
10ml fish sauce
5g salt
5ml tamarind puree
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 bay leaf
50g desiccated coconut flakes


  1. Heat a saucepan on a high heat and when thoroughly hot add the oil. Meanwhile, season the meat.
  2. When the oil begins to shimmer add the meat and cook till brown all over. (You may want to lower the heat around halfway through to stop any brown bits stuck to the pan from burning.)
  3. Remove the meat and place in a stewing pot or casserole.
  4. Chop the lemongrass very finely and put it into a pan with around 150ml of hot water. Simmer on the lowest heat for 20 minutes. After that time, strain the liquid though some cheesecloth and reserve the lemongrass infusion.
  5. In a food processor, combine the chillis, ginger, onions and garlic and blend to a fairly smooth paste. Use some oil or water to loosen it up if it won’t blend.
  6. In the pan used for the goat, add the paste and fry on a low to medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant.
  7. In another pan, toast the fennel, cumin, coriander, cloves and cardamom pods (remove the husk and just use the seed inside) for a round 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  8. Put the spices in a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) and grind to a fine powder.
  9. Add the newly ground spices and the tumeric to the pan with the paste and cook for another minute or two.
  10. Add the coconut milk, tamarind puree, fish sauce, sugar, salt and lemongrass infusion to the pan and stir throughly, scrapping up any of the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Transfer the liquid to the casserole and add the bay leaf, star anise, cinnamon stick and kaffir lime leaves.
  12. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook on the lowest heat for around two hours. What will happen is that a lot of the liquid will evaporate and the fat will separate from coconut milk.
  13. When the coconut milk has started to separate, toast the dessicated coconut over a high heat until brown. (It can change colour very quickly so ensure it does not burn)
  14. Grind the coconut in the spice grinder and combine with the meat.
  15. Allow the meat to fry in the oil for around twenty minutes or so, making sure to stir it often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  16. When the meat is a deep brown colour and quite dry and sticky, plate and serve with white rice.

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