Monday 17th June 2024
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Jaffna Goat Curry Shepherd’s Pie Recipe by Kitchen Guerrilla

Enjoy this Jaffna Goat Curry Shepherd’s Pie recipe by Canadian Tamil chef Kitchen Guerrilla, to enjoy with your friends and family! This is made with the signature meat dish of Sri Lankan Tamils. This is a long recipe but we promise it is well worth it! Make sure to read through the entire recipe before getting to work. This dish will serve 10 to 12 people.

Ingredients and Method for Whipped potatoes

– 4 lbs Russet potatoes (peeled and quartered)
– 7 tbsp of butter
– 2 1/2 cup whole milk/homo milk
– Salt to taste
– Bring a heavy bottom pot of salted water to a boil
– Add potatoes to salted water and cook for 15 to 20 mins until tender (but still holds its shape)
– Drain potatoes and keep aside
– In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil and turn off
– Add butter to milk and stir until melted
– Slowly pour liquid into potatoes and whisk until it is smooth
– Season with salt to taste
– For a smoother consistency, pass through a potato ricer
– Fill piping bags with potato mixture (optional for better presentation) and leave aside

Ingredients for goat curry:

– 5kg goat cut into small 1/3″ cubes (you can always substitute goat with lamb, beef, pork or any game meats)
– 50g garlic cloves smashed
– 25g ginger (optional)
– 15g green chili with a slit down the middle, or chopped up for more heat
– 500g chopped yellow onion
– 8g fresh curry leaf
– 1 6″ pandan leaf (aka rampe leaf, can be found in Sri Lankan grocery stores) cut into 8 pieces
– 4pcs or 2g whole dried red chili such as cayenne or Indian
– 5g fennel seed
– 8g black hot mustard seed
– 100g Jaffna curry powder (traditional curry powder from the North East region of Sri Lanka, can be found at any Sri Lankan grocery store)
– 20g Vaasa Thool (finishing spice-ingredients and method below)
– 200-300mL fresh coconut milk (use based on preference-ingredients and method below)

IF YOU’RE ON A TIME CRUNCH, you can use our Jaffna Meat Curry Paste and skip the entire goat curry process above!
All you have to do is cook the 2.5 kilos of meat with 2 500mL bottles of Jaffna Meat Curry Paste and you’re ready to go!

Ingredients and method for vaasa thool:

Vaasa thool (finishing spice for aroma and flavor) this is an important ingredient for Jaffna Goat Curry, it’s not authentic if it isn’t used!

– 25g fennel
– 5g cardamom
– 5g cinnamon
– 5g clove
– 5g curry leaf
– Place the pan on medium heat, add all the spices and curry leaves into the pan and stir frequently to ensure the spice and leaves don’t burn
– This whole process should take under 10 mins
– Once the leaves appear dry and the fennel seeds turn from green to slightly golden, turn the heat off
– Cool your spices, once cooled, grind into a powder and store in a mason jar
– This is enough to last you a little while

Ingredients and method for fresh coconut milk:

– 1 coconut grated (140 grams of fresh grated coconut for this recipe)
– 300mL hot water
– Blend hot water and fresh coconut milk
– Pass the liquid through a strainer and squeeze the coconut pulp of all the milk
– Pour into a mason jar and keep it in the fridge
– Do not store for more than 2 days in the fridge

Method for goat curry:

– Place a large pot on medium high heat
– Add a small amount of oil and let it heat
– Add dried chili peppers, mustard and fennel into the oil
– Once the mustard seeds start popping; add onion, green chili, garlic (ginger if you decided to use it) with a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions turn golden brown
– Stir frequently so the spices do not burn
– Now add curry leaves and pandan leaves and cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally
– Add 4 teaspoons of curry powder and mix well
– Add goat into the same pot and mix well with the spices
– Cook partially covered for 15-20mins and stir the pot occasionally.
– When the meat starts releasing its juices, add the remaining Jaffna curry powder and a pinch of salt
– Add extra curry powder if you prefer more heat and a stronger spice taste, but we recommend that you try it our way before experimenting
– Add 200-300mL of the fresh coconut milk (more or less based on your preference), reserved vaasa thool and mix
– Bring the pot to a boil, then turn to medium low heat and cook until the liquid has reduced down to a thick gravy
– You can reduce it more or less if you prefer a thicker or looser gravy
– Our way to do it is to reduce the gravy almost by half, for a more rich flavoured gravy
– Once your gravy is at the consistency you prefer, add some fresh torn curry leaves, add salt to taste!
– Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice!


– Fill baking dish or cast iron pan half way with goat curry, which has cooled to room temperature (this is based on your preference, but we like to do a 50/50 of curry to potato ratio)
– Once half of the dish or pan is filled with the goat curry, use the piping bag, which you have filled, to drop dollops of potato over the curry until it is fully covered (if you don’t have a piping bag, spoon potatoes
over and smooth out with a spatula)
– You can store this dish in the fridge for up to two days!

Garnish ingredients and method:

– Handful of panko breadcrumbs
– Generous amount of grated parmigiano-reggiano
– Splash of extra virgin olive oil
– Mix the above ingredients together and sprinkle this over the dish

To serve:

– Preheat oven to 400° F
– Bake dish for 10 to 15 mins or until golden brown on top
– Once out of the oven, let it sit for 5 mins before serving
Bon appétit!