Thursday, January 2, 2014

Goat Meat – A Healthier Meat Alternative

Street goat meat market in Tingri, Tibet.
on the way to Cho Oyu
I’ve consumed kambing (goat in Malay) many times during my trips, especially when I temporarily worked in Jakarta. But I never considered it to be part of my mainstream diet…

Until recently when I started re-assessing my food intake (something that was triggered by a sickness in a family member).

Pork, and commercialized beef and chicken – and sickness associated with eating meat (in general) or non-“organic” meat will make one rethink what to consume.

Obviously, a good trend is to switch to vegetables – I eat a lot of these but I doubt will consider a 100% vegi diet just yet. So an attempt to switch to better meat alternatives is the order of the year.

I’ve read goat meat being promoted as a healthier alternative, but given its ‘exotic’ /non-mainstream status in the Philippines – I initially found it hard to pursue. Goat meat is actually a bit more expensive than beef (and pork and chicken) – something like 280php/kg, but its high protein content (more than beef/pork/chicken) and low saturated fats/cholesterol are something to be highlighted. Why is it healthier? By default, goat meat is organic. Goats can live on grass and whatever leaves are out there to eat. No need for who-knows-what-they-put-in-there pellets or feeds. They are very lean (unlike sheep or pigs), and if one believes the Kosher diet – they’re cleaner than most 4-legged animals or seafood out there.

Curried goat is one good /simple recipe option.
This meat in pix is a cabrito (young meat), nice and tender.
I added greens (baguio beans) towards the end,
to add color and nutrients. (I ate more than half
of this in one sitting hehe)

I experimented on a couple of recipes so far, and already – I’m concluding that this is a sustainable way to go. Which also means – I’ve started to significantly reduce pork intake (which I already reduced last couple of years). And I mean about 90% reduction, giving 10% to ‘no-choice’ or ‘incidental’ intake.

about to finish my Kalderetang Kambing,
probably the most popular goat dish in this country.

The main challenge I see is preparation. A bad prep may mean smelly or tough meat. A simple boil in ginger (must) and onion (optional) proved to be a very effective method to remove ‘goat smell’. Sourcing is only an initial problem – markets around Metro and in the provinces already introduced goat meat in their selling tables, it’s just a matter of finding the one nearest you. It may take a little more time before our big supermarkets put some kambing stock in their freezers.

boiling in ginger eliminates
unwanted goaty smell

Re-tracking my statement – the biggest hurdle in switching or at least considering a once-in-a-goat-while diet is mindset. Being a predominantly pork-and-chicken country, we see most alternatives as exotic.

So why not try once, order a meal from a specialty resto – or better yet, cook a good meal yourself and start introducing a healthier meat on your table.

“Me-e-e-ehh”  =)
adobo is easy to make. but this chevron (old goat meat)
was tougher than I thought. It tasted good nonetheless.
(Here, I added olive oil to fatten it with good fats)

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