[Recipe] Aloo gosht (goat meat and potato)

The exact way I made this one…

1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 1/2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and rough chopped
3 medium onions, peeled and rough chopped
1/2 cup neutral oil or light olive oil (you can use less oil once you get the hang of it)
1 TBSP ground coriander
1/2 TBSP ground cumin
1/2 tsp red chili powder (cayenne is fine)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 lb goat/lamb meat with bone, cut into small pieces
2 tsp kosher salt
5-6 medium Yukon Golds (red or all-purpose white potatoes okay too), peeled and quartered
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Terminology: “Bhoon” means to cook on high heat until moisture evaporates and you see the oil separate from the rest of the ingredients. If you have to question whether or not “bhooning” is complete, then it isn’t complete. You’ll know when it’s done. This is time consuming and you need to stir constantly. Try not to walk away or get distracted because you can easily burn the ingredients. Also, keep a cup of water nearby. If something sticks to the bottom of the pot, and it inevitably will, immediately add a bit of water to prevent it from burning.

Blend the garlic/ginger/onion into a paste. Use as little water as possible while blending.

Heat oil in a large pot on high heat. Fry coriander/cumin/turmeric/cayenne for 30 seconds to 1 minute until bloomed but not burnt. Add the garlic/ginger/onion paste. Now bhoon the paste. You can lower the heat a bit and stir less frequently for a while, but after 10 minutes, turn it back to high heat, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste and fry it for a minute. I’m going refer to what you end up with as “masala”.

Add meat and fry it in the masala for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt and stir well. Add 1 quart of water and bring to a low boil. You may need more water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring a few times. (It could be less time, but it’s better to overcook the meat than undercook it.)

Remove cover, turn heat to high, and bhoon. This takes me about 15 minutes. The first 10, I can stir every few minutes, but the last 5 I have to stir constantly.

Add potatoes and fry those in the masala for 5 minutes. Add 1 quart of water and bring to a low boil. Taste and add more salt now, if needed. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until potatoes and meat are tender. In the beginning, one or the other will end up overcooked, but with practice you’ll eventually get it right.

Sprinkle garam masala evenly over the dish. Garnish with cilantro. Sometimes I forget the garam masala or don’t have cilantro and it’s still tastes fine.


The quantities of spices are hard to specify cause we eyeball them. It’s probably closer to 1/8 tsp turmeric, but some people like more so 1/4 tsp isn’t a big deal either.

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Fish market.
Credit: Ramesh SA, Flickr