Goat Maraq with Paleo ‘Sur’ Grits

This recipe as like many other recipes that I will post, was inspired by the foods  of my childhood at community potlucks. I remember this one fondly – pieces of goat stewed in a spiced tomato sauce and served over a bare-boned cornmeal pudding, or sur. This Somali stew uses a spice blend called hawaash, is very similar to some versions of garam masala, but that comes as no surprise. You can find a lot of these culinary parallels from cuisine to cuisine. For this recipe you can buy the blend online or use my recipe below.

What I love best about this meal is that it’s comfort food. Sometimes frigid winters like this make you want to hibernate indoors and tuck into a bowl of pasta. Since that’s really not an option over here I’ve been making meals similar to this – meats cooked low and slow in flavourful sauces until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. How can you go wrong with that?


After many failed attempt at making something similar to ugali, a cornmeal-based cake that is commonly eaten at Somali dinner tables, I finally gave up and tried my hand at a thinner cornmeal pudding called sur and was much more successful! I made a savoury custard out of egg yolks and coconut milk and blended it with steamed cauliflower and some ground while chia seeds for some texture. It is luxuriously creamy and surprisingly, not that cruciferousy-tasting. I’ve even adapted this recipe to make a primal Southern style grits, that I will be coming out with soon so keep an eye out!

Goat Maraq with Paleo ‘Sur’ Grits
Serves 4-6

Ingredients for Hawaash:

  • ¼ cup coriander seeds
  • ¼ cup cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Ingredients for Maraq:

  • 2 pounds goat meat (I used an assortment of cuts but shoulder cut is best for this method)
  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hawaash spice mix
  • 5 roma tomatoes or 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped (I used tomatoes which I canned in the summer)
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and cut on the bias
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or other high heat oil
  • 3 cups water or beef broth

Ingredients for ‘Sur’ Grits:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground white chia seeds (optional)



Toast all the spices except for turmeric powder in a pan on medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant.


Allow them to cool down and grind finely and mix in the turmeric powder. Store the spice blend in an airtight container in a cool dry place


In a large pot add coconut oil and set to medium heat. When the oil is heated through add the sliced onions and lightly caramelize, about 10-15 minutes while stirring occasionally.


Add the minced garlic, hawaash and salt and fry for 1 or 2 minutes until fragrant.


Add your chopped or squished tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down and reduce.


Next, the meat goes in. Turn the heat up to medium-high and sauté for 5-10 minutes until the meat starts to brown.


After it has browned add the water or broth, bring it to a boil on high. After it has come to a boil turn the heat down to low to maintain a low simmer.


Cover the pot and forget about it for 45 minutes.

In the meanwhile, steam your cauliflower in a small pot in this mess-free-no-cauliflower-on-the-floor way:


Separate the yolks of two eggs. Blame the broken yolk on a small child.


Place the egg yolks in a small saucepan with the coconut milk on medium-low heat. Do not walk away!. Constantly whisk for around 5-8 minutes until you achieve a thick custard-like consistency. Season with kosher salt and white pepper.


After the cauliflower is done steaming, drain it really well. Pour all of the egg yolk mixture into a blender with the steamed cauliflower and purée.


Add the white chia seeds and blend. The purée will thicken over time. Season with more salt to taste.


Return to the simmering pot of stew after 45 minutes and add the carrots. Continue cooking on low heat with the lid on for another 45 minutes or until meat is tender; ensure there is enough liquid to cook it for longer.


Serve the stew atop cauliflower grits.


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