When the Covid-19 pandemic first started, project manager Vinesh Panchanathan, 39, found himself with more time on his hands. Vinesh had long nursed a passion for cooking and so he turned to churning out home-cooked meals with a vengeance.
He began with his mother’s signature mutton masala recipe. “I’ve been a fan of mutton since I was young and my mum was known to prepare the best mutton varuval. She used to make it for Deepavali gatherings and everyone just loved it!” explains Vinesh.
He turned his hand to tweaking and perfecting his mother’s recipe, through lots of trial-and-error, involving testing out various brands of masalas and blending and combining his own versions until he was satisfied with the end results. At first, this exercise was all about feeding family and friends.
“It just started out as something nice to do during the movement control order. I made mutton masala and chicken biryani and started delivering the food to all my aunts and other family members, as well as friends and got a lot of good feedback.
“So then I thought, why not start a small online business and see how it goes?” he says.
So on Oct 14, 2021 (which also happened to be his birthday), The Angry Goat Kitchen was born, based out of Vinesh’s home kitchen in Kota Kemuning, Selangor. The name is derived from his anger and frustration when things are not up to scratch or when he is not able to prepare tasty dishes according to his exacting standards. It was that anger that fuelled his desire to become better, improve and find solutions, which is how the name stuck.
When The Angry Goat Kitchen first launched, Vinesh only had six dishes on the menu, but one year later, he now has 18 items for order and is working on creating more. As he works full time, Vinesh operates on pre-orders and only cooks and delivers on the weekends as it is just him and his wife doing the prep and cooking.
All the meals are designed to feed four to five people, so you can expect sumptuous portions.
While his signature mutton masala recipe was attained from his mother, every other dish on the menu was something he painstaking created and perfected himself, after experimenting relentlessly in his home kitchen.
To begin your meal here, definitely, definitely try the Signature Mutton Masala (RM80). Here, you will discover limber, incredibly tender mutton that is coated from crevice to crevice in a rich, fiery masala that has bound itself seamlessly to the meat, sort of like a second skin. This is a good thing, because the masala is spectacularly good – rich, furiously spicy and riddled with an array of intoxicating flavours. It’s basically the unicorn variation of mutton masala – the elusive, almost impossible to find perfect rendition that trumps all others.
Up next, try the Ayam Masak Merah (RM45). A popular Malay dish (and a favourite at Indian weddings and events too), this is a dish that Vinesh says remains a perennial best-seller and it’s not hard to see why. The chicken is cooked perfectly and coated in a slightly sweet sauce that is redolent of lemongrass and onion slices. The spice levels have been modulated well here, so it is neither too fiery nor too subdued. There is plenty to love in this poultry dish and truly nothing to fault.
The Spicy Prawn Varuval (RM68) lives up to its “spicy” moniker and offers blasts of heat from the very first mouthful. While incredibly spicy, it is also incredibly addictive. The prawns are large and plentiful and although the process of extricating shells from the flesh might seem tedious, all the flavour from the masala coats both the outer carapace of the prawns as well as the tender meat inside, which leads to a meal where half the pleasure is in licking the shells clean. This is a messier meal but oh-so worth it!
From the vegetarian persuasion, try Vinesh’s Sweet and Sour Brinjal (RM18). This is a dish that is very popular at Indian weddings and gatherings, but also one that is hard to nail. Often, the brinjal is saturated in oil or ends up tasting far too sour or conversely, far too sweet.
Pinning down the exact balance required to perfect this dish is often indicative of talent and in this instance, Vinesh has shown his true cooking mettle. Here, his brinjal successfully straddles the sweet-sour divide and tacks on a spicy element in the form of the masala that coats the brinjal. The brinjal itself is cooked extremely well and is soft and pliable to the touch. Whether you like vegetables or not, this is a meal you are likely to reach for over and over again.
Finally, have a go at the Pumpkin Peratal (RM18). This is a dish that is marginally less spicy than many other options on the menu, which means you’ll get a tiny breather from all the heat, not that it’s not welcome. The pumpkin is the clear star of this meal and its sweet, natural attributes are on fully display here.
Moving forward, Vinesh says he is looking at further widening his arsenal of dishes and will soon be introducing a few less spicy options this month to provide more balance in the menu.
Since starting the business, Vinesh says orders have been full every weekend. In fact, he has had to turn down many large orders as he simply cannot cope.
“I’ve had people ordering for functions with 75 people or 100 people and I have had to turn them all down, because it’s just me and my wife cooking and we cannot manage such large orders,” he says.
Which is why he is now thinking about expanding. His goal? To kick-start a larger-scale catering business before eventually opening his own restaurant featuring his signature recipes.
“My dream is to open a banana leaf restaurant with all my popular dishes on the menu. Customers will have freshly prepared meals in a super-clean environment with excellent customer service. This is something I hope will come to fruition next year,” he shares.
To pre-order from The Angry Goat Kitchen, send a WhatsApp message to 012-310 6652.