If you’ve never heard of goat head soup or mannish water, don’t beat yourself up about it or feel bad. The first thing you should probably know about mannish water or goat head soup is that it has a very unique taste. And then you should know that Jamaicans are very particular about how this food is made.

What is Goat Head Soup?

Goat head soup is not a dish you can find in restaurants. It is not so popular, but that is probably because it needs specific ingredients. I find the fact that it is not common a very exciting thing. It means it is very special and not as common as other things you can find in every part of the world, like French toast. It is something that is for special occasions and exotic. Thus, it’s exciting to try out.

Goat head soup is made during the Jamaican street dance. It is very rarely made, but really delicious. It is spicy, and the ram-goat gives a special flavor that you can’t get from any other animal. Jamaicans are very specific about the ram-goat being used. They don’t like to use the she-goat because, according to them, it will not taste as great as the ram-goat.

You can get Jamaican goat head soup from some Jamaican street food sellers, though. I would like to experience that someday because I think it would be cool to see how it tastes when it’s made by a native who knows all the nuances, and who knows automatically how to arrange the ingredients.

Some people don’t use only the goat’s head for the meal. They add hoof meat and the tripes to the soup as well. And the great part is that you can add this meat to other soups too, either to make your soup taste better or to enhance the spiciness. It won’t make it bad; in fact, the ram-goat flavor is always an excellent addition. As a plus, you can eat it with either yam or potatoes and dumplings.

If you are interested in goat head soup and want to know how to make this awesome Jamaican dish, then this recipe is just for you.

Goat Head Soup Recipe

Making goat head soup is pretty easy if you follow the instructions in this recipe. Goat head soup ingredients are not hard to get or expensive, depending on where you live, anyway. So, if you do it perfectly, you will have a tasty meal at the end of the day.

What you will need is:

  • Ram-goat head, 2 pounds—should be chopped and washed clean.
  • 2 cloves of garlic—should be crushed nicely.
  • 1 Choco, medium size (chayote)—peeled and washed, then halved or cut into quarters
  • 2 small Irish potatoes—peeled and washed properly, then cut as you would like them to be
  • ¼ lb of pumpkin—peeled and washed and then diced neatly
  • 1 whole green scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 fingers of green bananas—should be peeled, washed and cut, with each finger cut into three or more pieces.
  • 1 stalk scallion, roughly chopped
  • One sprig of green thyme
  • One cup of flour for the dumplings
  • Salt
  • Yellow yam—about one ¼ pound of it, peeled, washed, and sliced
  • One co-coa or eddoe—peeled, washed, and sliced
  • Water
  • Primento berries

How to make:

  1. You can make this in about ten steps that are very easy, so let’s get cooking.
  2. The first thing to do is to make sure your ingredients are in good condition and ready to be used when needed. When that is certified, then you can start cooking properly.
  3. Wash the ram-goat’s head properly. To do this, you have to use lime or lemon water. This will help flush out every spec of dirt or any other substance that could be in there, which you definitely don’t want. You can use vinegar water if you have that instead of the lemon water.  To wash it, mix a teaspoon of lime, lemon juice, or vinegar with about four cups of water.
  4. Follow that up with cutting the goat’s head into the small pieces.
  5. Put water in a large pot, then add the pieces of goat head, the pimento berries, and the garlic into the water. Allow that to cook until the goat head meat is well-cooked and seems tender enough. It should be the right texture for you, though.
  6. Then, add the two cups of water. Now you can add the Choco, Irish potatoes, and pumpkin. Cover the pot again and let it cook properly.
  7. While the pot is still on the heat, put your flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Little by little, mix in small portions of water to this. Make sure to mix properly until it has become dough. Then, continue to knead this until the dough is hard or firm. Cover it with a towel and keep it separate.
  8. Make sure to check and ensure the goat head soup is not overcooked.
  9. Add the yam or potatoes, co-coa, and green bananas to the cooked goat head soup, then cover it for about ten more minutes.
  10. Make your dumplings with the flour dough before adding those to the pot too. Stir everything together to get a perfect mix.
  11. Lastly, you should add the scallion and thyme along with the hot pepper and goat head soup-mix and stir. Turn the heat down a little so as to let everything cook at the right temperature. You can add the salt and stir the soup again, leaving it for another ten minutes before you bring the temperature down and let it cool.

Nutritional Values Of Goat Head Soup

With the assorted combination of food found in goat head soup or mannish water soup, there is sure to be a lot to gain from it nutrient-wise. It’s like diving into a pool of nutrients that are very important for the body.  First of all, yam is a very good supply of energy which has a lot of vitamins too. And there are a good number of of other nutrients in goat head soup too, like calcium, iron, potassium, and many more.

Then, there is the protein you will get from the goat head meat. In addition, there is the Irish potato, which helps with the revitalization process of the body and serves as a source of vitamin C—a nutrient that is very much needed by the body. Vitamin C helps with immunity to prevent many sicknesses. It helps with digestion and heart issues as well.

Goat head soup is a treasure chest of nutrition, and that makes it something to enjoy for more than just its marvelous taste. There is nothing as precious as a meal that has both health and tastiness covered.

It is not a hidden fact that, for you to be healthy, you need to get a couple of things done—exercising, eating right, and resting well. But none of the others are as exciting as eating, and none is as broad and entertaining as the process of deciding what to eat. There is so much experimentation to be had with food, and the beautiful part is that it’s difficult to get tired of it once you begin to try new things.

So, try some Jamaican goat head soup. It is unique, and maybe it will be what pulls you out of your comfort zone and into a whole new world of food. Give those taste buds a treat!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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