Throughout East Africa, goat is a traditional source of both meat and milk. When he was a boy in Somalia, Jamal Hashi spent his summers herding goats on his family’s farm. Now, he’s in the United States, introducing Americans to Somali delicacies – including goat — at his restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mary Stucky visited Jamal Hashi as he prepared roasted goat cutlet with vegetables in a special sauce – a dish he says his mother served on special occasions in Somalia.
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Stucky: In Jamal Hashi’s restaurant kitchen food is cooked the old fashioned way – and that means it takes time. First the goat meat is marinated overnight in sesame oil, garlic, onions, vinegar, and a special mixture of spices.
Hashi: We marinate it in berbera spice. Berbera consists of a combination of different spices. You have paprika, pepper, chili, traditional East African curry, ground cumin… very rich flavor. It almost gives it a barbecue flavor. Leave it in the cooler overnight. In the morning take it out and roast it slowly and I keep adding fresh herbs, parsley, cilantro, red onions.
Stucky: After it’s roasted for at least hours, it’s still not done .
Hashi: What I’m doing right now is I’m taking the goat that’s been roasted and creating a stew that you can eat with your rice.
Stucky: Into a deep skillet goes cilantro, red and green peppers, carrots, broccoli and spinach – Hashi sauteés that mixture, blending the ingredients and then he makes a special sauce based on coconut milk. That comes from a can…
[There is the sound of a can opening]
Hashi: As fresh as it gets here in Minnesota.
Stucky: That, and all the other ingredients, are mixed into the goat stew.
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Hashi: The other day I met a farmer who actually raises about 300 goats up in Northern Minnesota. He came up to me and said ‘I don’t really know what to do with these goats,’ and I said, the milk and the meat pass it down to me! I know what to do with the goat.’
Stucky: Hashi does with the goat what his mother taught him – she made this dish for special occasions like weddings, funerals, and celebrations of ancestors, a tradition in Somalia.
With his quick smile and twinkling eyes it’s hard to imagine all the things Hashi has been through. When he was just a child, a violent political coup in Somalia sent his family fleeing for their lives.
They ended up in a Kenyan refugee camp. Two years later, they received asylum here in the United States. Eventually the family opened a restaurant in Minneapolis, discovering – to their delight – that Americans love their food.
Hashi: It’s incredible, even Minnesotans you’d never think would try something different they’re embracing it easily. Days we have goat are Fridays and Saturdays, and we’ve sold that within an hour.
Stucky: In Somalia, the tradition is to eat with your hands – not a bad idea because with goat there are plenty of bones.
Hashi: When you eat your food with your hands it actually tastes 10 times better.
Stucky: Oh my, mmm. That is one smooth and intense flavor. Tender. Do you ever get tired of this?
Hashi: Why would I? It’s my mother’s food, this raised me to be the good man I am today.
Stucky: And with that Hashi heads back into the kitchen at his restaurant, the Safari Express. The word Safari means journey and for Jamal Hashi it’s been a long journey indeed. His many satisfied customers are very glad he made it.
For the World Vision Report, I’m Mary Stucky in Minneapolis, Minnesota.