Ampara Goat Curry


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side curry

Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

Ampara is famous for mutton, which actually refers to goat in Sri Lanka and not old sheep. As the head of the family, Naleeka’s father was responsible for chopping the goat. The liver and heart as well as the bones were added, and although offal is something I usually shy away from, the flavours and aromas from the spices were so delicious I ended up having seconds.


  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) goat (or lamb), preferably leg on the bone
  • 1 teaspoon unroasted chilli powder*
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Manike’s thuna paha (or store-bought roasted curry powder)
  • 12 cm ( inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf*, cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) pieces
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into thirds
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, dissolved in a little warm water
  • 3 cloves garlic, ground into a paste
  • 3 cm ( inch) piece ginger, ground into a paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Slice the goat leg through the bone into 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick slices, then cut through the bone into rough 5-6 cm (2-2½ inch) pieces (ask your butcher to do this if you prefer). Set the meat aside.

In a small heavy-based frying pan, dry-roast the chilli powder over low heat for 1 minute, then remove from the pan and place in a large bowl. Dry-roast the cardamom pods and cloves for 2 minutes, then pound into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder). Transfer to the bowl with the chilli powder, then add the thuna paha, rampe, curry leaves, cinnamon sticks, pepper, salty water, garlic paste and ginger paste; stir to combine. Add the goat pieces and mix well, using your hands to rub the spices into the meat, making sure all the pieces are evenly coated. Set aside at room temperature to marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a clay pot or wok over high heat. Add the goat and cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 3-4 minutes to brown the meat. Add enough water to almost cover the meat (about 750 ml/26 fl oz/3 cups) and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half and the meat is tender. Serve with a main curry and rice.