For a vast majority of Nigerians, the taste of goat meat is unparalleled and it is the preferred meat as far as animal proteins go.
For cooking, the he-goat is chosen over the nanny goat for its much stronger smell, which imparts more flavor to any dish it is prepared with. The flesh of the he-goat is tenderer. This could be because the female goat tends to “live” longer than the male, for reproduction purposes, while the male goat is sold off once mature enough.
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A friend told a story of how she had gone to buy some goat meat and had asked for meat from the he-goat. When she got home, she began cooking the meat and after cooking the meat for hours, it remained tough. That was when she realized she had been given meat from a female goat for sure.
One thing that definitely brings out the flavor in the goat meat is when its skin is charred. This also a deliciously smoky flavor. When cooked well in such delicacies below, it’s not hard to see why Nigerians can’t seem to get enough of goat meat.
Simple fried goat meat
Charred un-skinned goat meat, very well seasoned, cooked to tender and fried is no doubt a simple but delicious delicacy that can be enjoyed on its own. Where jollof rice is the life of the party, some well seasoned and fried goat meat is the icing on the cake.
Asun (spicy grilled goat meat)
This is stepping goat meat up a notch! So if you want something spicier and more interesting, you want to go with asun. Asun is simply small pieces of goat meat well seasoned and cooked until tender; grilled and then finished off with a quick round of cooking in a spicy fresh pepper mix. So grab your favorite chilled drink, relax, keep calm and enjoy some asun.
Goat Meat Pepper Soup
Fresh goat meat is cooked in a light broth of spices, pepper and in some cases, herbs like scent leaves (efirrin or nchanwu), uziza leaves or utazi leaves and that’s Nigerian comfort food right there, nothing more to add. Good for cold weather.
The distinction between goat meat pepper soup and ngwo ngwo is pertinent and highly important. Ngwongwo is a kind of pepper soup made with not just simply goat meat but specifically, with the brain and intestines of the goat. In other words, no intestines and other parts of the gut, then no ngwo ngwo! The other fleshy parts of the goat are then added to the pepper soup for variety.
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This is a traditional Igbo dish made with the head of the goat, spices, herbs, pepper, crayfish, potash or ngo in small amounts, palm oil and seasoning. All the ingredients come together to make this one unusual delicacy!
Here goes a conversation that ensued between a Nigerian friend and a goat farmer in the US.!
Non Nigerian seller: You want the head and the intestines?
Nigerian buyer : (Na question be that?) I bought the goat for the head and the intestines!
A while later, numbers were exchanged and a deal was struck for the Nigerian buyer to get goat head and intestines from the seller, who gets them from customers that want nothing to do with the head and intestines of the goat, for a small tip. See groove!
Its suya… And then its made using goat meat…. Need I say more?
Goat meat stew or buka stew
Whether you want a simple goat meat stew or buka stew with other varieties of meat added to the mix, the flavor and richness that goat meat adds to both stews makes it one meat or ingredient you do not want to leave out in your stews! Pass round some piping hot rice please!!!
Whether you are making efo riro, banga, bitter leaf, afang, edika ikong, ogbono, egusi, groundnut soup, okro and a wide range of Nigerian soups, goat meat adds a distinct flavor and richness.
It seems that the love for goat meat by Nigerians can only wax stronger and no one or other animal might be able to put asunder.
Ifeyinwa Nzeka is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, hospitality practitioner and blogger who is passionate about Nigerian food and cuisine.