Main Dishes & Entrées/ Soups & Stews

Mannish Water (Goat Soup)

January 11, 2024 (Last Updated: March 2, 2024)

Mannish water, or goat head soup, is a rich and robust soup made with tender goat meat, provision, and traditional Jamaican spices. Add dumplings to make this popular Jamaican soup even more hearty.

mannish water.

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Mannish water, or goat head soup, is a rich and robust soup made with tender goat meat, provision, and traditional Jamaican spices. Add dumplings to make this popular Jamaican soup even more hearty.

If you want to try more Jamaican soup recipes check out my Jamaican Pumpkin Soup, Gungo Peas Soup and The Best Jamaican Chicken Soup Recipe.

a bowl of goat head soup (mannish water).

Jamaican Mannish Water

Mannish water soup is a staple in Jamaican cuisine. This beloved dish is considered a delicacy and is served at nearly every special occasion; from weddings to funerals.

As the name suggests, this soup is traditionally made using goat head but for the sake of convenience (goat head can take up to 4 hours to cook), I’ve left it out of this recipe. I also think it makes the recipe more accessible to those who can’t find a goat head or prefer not to handle one. I use other bone-in goat meat so it’s still just as rich and savoury without it!

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Mannish Water Recipe

  • Labour of Love: The key to this recipe is low and slow cooking but it is well worth the wait when you’re biting into a tender chunk of well seasoned goat meat.
  • Nourishing: Goat is nutrient-rich and a great source of iron, calcium, and protein. The veggies add even more vitamins and minerals, making each serving good for you.
  • Flavourful: Soup can get a bit boring but this flavour profile will intrigue your taste buds. This soup has a distinct meaty, savoury taste that’s truly mouthwatering.
overhead view of a bowl of mannish water with goat meat.

What is Mannish Water?

Mannish water, also known as goat head soup, is a traditional Jamaican soup made with goat head, tripe (stomach lining), spices, and a variety of root vegetables.

Why is it Called Mannish Water?

Traditionally, mannish water was prepared by men. The recipe also includes male parts of the goat (i.e., goat testicles), hence the name.

Mannish Water Benefits

According to Jamaican folklore, goat soup is a natural aphrodisiac and the ultimate hangover cure. While those benefits may be up for debate, here are some other health benefits from eating this soup regularly.

  • Compared to other meats, goat meat is relatively low in saturated fat so it’s a healthier option for those looking to reduce their fat intake. The lower fat content may also make it easier to digest compared to other red meats.
  • Yams contain dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health. Fiber aids the digestive system, helping to prevent constipation.
  • The resistant starch in green bananas acts as a prebiotic fiber, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is associated with improved digestion and overall well-being.
ingredients flatlay for mannish water.

What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)

  • Large Stockpot: Use this to contain and prepare the soup.
  • Pressure Cooker: This is an optional tool to tenderize the goat meat and reduce cooking time.
  • Spoon and Ladle: Use this for stirring and serving soup.

Mannish Water Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

  • Goat Meat: Clean goat meat with water and vinegar to remove any gamey taste. Use bone-in meat for more flavour and cut them into pieces.
  • Water: As flavourful as this soup is, no storebought broth is needed. Water is the liquid base of your homemade broth, infused with flavour of goat, ground provisions, and plenty of spices.
  • Pimento Seeds (Allspice Berries): The flavour of pimento seeds carries a warm and spicy undertone, similar to that of cloves.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic is highly aromatic, and its aroma intensifies when crushed, minced, or sliced.
  • Yellow Yam: These starchy tubers with a mildly sweet taste.
  • Yellow Potato: They have a rich, buttery flavour that tastes great in a savoury recipe like this one.
  • Coco (Eddo): Eddo has a mild and slightly nutty flavour.
  • Green Cooking Banana: This is essential to the soup’s flavour. Keep the skin on and slice.
  • Carrots: Chopped and added in.
  • Chocho (Cayote Squash): This veggie has a subtle sweetness.
  • Green Onions: Crushed for more flavour.
  • Thyme: This fragrant herb adds peppery, earthy undertones.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Fruity, slightly sweet, and very spicy, this pepper is a staple in Jamaican cuisine.
  • Vegetable Bouillon Cube: Add to taste.
  • Seasoning: Add Seasoning Salt or All Purpose Seasoning, salt, and pepper (all to taste).

Spinners

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Water
  • Salt

How to Make Mannish Water

  1. In a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 12 cups of water. Carefully add the goat meat, garlic and pimento. Allow to boil for about 45 minutes or until the goat is mid-tender then proceed to step three (3).
  2. If using a pressure cooker, combine 2 pounds of goat meat, garlic, and pimento seeds with 6-8 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 25-35 minutes. Once the goat meat is mid-tender, proceed to next step.
  3. Add the yam, potato, eddo (or any other ground provision), green banana, carrots, chocho, green onion, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, and spinners. Season with vegetable bouillon, seasoning salt or all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the Jamaican spinners by combining flour and water to form a stiff dough. Shape into small dumplings. Then, Drop the spinners into the pot and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until they are cooked through.
  5. Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper according to your preference, Remove the thyme sprigs, green onion stalks and pimento berries before serving, if desired. Serve hot, and enjoy.

Recipe Substitutions and Tips

  • Alcohol: Some recipes add a splash of premium white rum to the soup just before serving. It tenderizies the meat and adds a depth of sweet, smoky flavour.
  • Provisions: Swap any of the veggies in this recipe for carrots, taro root, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or cassava.
  • Meat: Use lamb meat instead.

Serving Suggestions and Tips

This soup is filling enough to be a standalone meal. I like to add spinners to make it even more satisfying. You can also add sauteed spinach or collard greens for added nutrients.

Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Add the spinners in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking the goat soup. Otherwise, they will break down and overcook.
  • This recipe takes some time. Simmer the soup over low heat for an extended period to allow the flavours to meld, and the meat to become tender. Goat meat is tough, and slow cooking helps to break down the collagen, resulting in a more tender texture.
  • Save about 20 minutes by preparing the soup in the pressure cooker instead of a pot on the stove.
  • I keep the peppers whole so the soup isn’t too spicy. If you want more heat, chop the peppers up.
pot of mannish water (goat head soup) on stovetop.

Can I Make Goat Head Soup Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! Like most soups, mannish water tastes even better the next day when the ingredients have had time to mingle and meld.

Storage Instructions

Once cooled, store leftover mannish water in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For longer storage, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Reheating Instructions

Reheat leftover soup in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.

bowl of jamaican mannish water.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is mannish water made of?

Mannish water is made with goat meat, ground provision, spices, scotch bonnet peppers, and dumplings (aka spinners).

Is mannish water spicy?

Although this recipe includes scotch bonnet peppers, the soup is only mildly spicy. That’s because I add the whole peppers into the soup instead of chopping them up. It adds flavour but not intense heat. Adjust the heat level by using more or less scotch bonnet peppers. But keep in mind that scotch bonnet peppers are very hot, ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

What part of the goat is used for mannish water?

Mannish water uses most of the goat, including the head, belly, offal (i.e., liver, intestines, and kidney) testicles, and feet.

Interested in more delicious Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

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mannish water.

Mannish Water

Taneisha Morris
Mannish water, or goat head soup, is a rich and robust soup made with tender goat meat, provision, and traditional Jamaican spices. Add dumplings to make this popular Jamaican soup even more hearty.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Main Dishes & Entrees, Soups & Stews
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 675 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Stockpot to prepare the soup
  • Pressure Cooker optional, to tenderize goat meat and reduce cooking time
  • Spoon and Ladle for stirring and serving soup

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Goat Meat bone-in, cut into pieces
  • 12-14 cups Water plus more as needed.
  • 10 whole Pimento Seeds allspice berries
  • 5 cloves Garlic crushed or sliced
  • 1 pound Yellow Yam peeled and diced
  • 1 Yellow Potato peeled and diced
  • 2 sm Coco (Eddo) peeled and diced
  • 2 med Green Cooking Banana skin on, sliced
  • 2 med Carrots chopped
  • 1 med Chocho (Cayote Squash) peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks Green Onions crushed
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 6-8 med Spinners
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube to taste
  • 2 tsp Seasoning Salt or All Purpose Seasoning, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Spinners

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 12 cups of water. Carefully add the goat meat, garlic and pimento. Allow to boil for about 45 minutes or until the goat is mid-tender then proceed to step three (3).
  • If using a pressure cooker, combine 2 pounds of goat meat, garlic, and pimento seeds with 6-8 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 25-35 minutes. Once the goat meat is mid-tender, proceed to next step.
  • Add the yam, potato, eddo (or any other ground provision), green banana, carrots, chocho, green onion, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, and spinners. Season with vegetable bouillon, seasoning salt or all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the Jamaican spinners by combining flour and water to form a stiff dough. Shape into small dumplings. Then, Drop the spinners into the pot and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until they are cooked through.
  • Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper according to your preference, Remove the thyme sprigs, green onion stalks and pimento berries before serving, if desired. Serve hot, and enjoy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 675kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 30gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 1101mgPotassium: 1380mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3631IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 5mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

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