Serves 3 as a side (Recipe loosely adapted from Flavours of the Spice Coast by Mrs. K M Mathew)
Duck legs and thighs- 500 gms (with skin on)
To marinate and pre-cook
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Ground pepper- 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch
Cardamom pods- 2
Vinegar- 1/2 tbsp
Ginger- 1 inch piece, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic- 4 pods, peeled and roughly chopped
For the roast masala
Oil- 1 tbsp (coconut oil is ideal)
Shallots/ small onion- 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Curry leaves- 1 sprig + a few to sprinkle
Ginger- 1 inch piece, peeled and grated
Garlic- 4, peeled and grated
Green chilly- 1, slit
Chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper- 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp to sprinkle
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Potato- 1 large, par boiled and cut into big chunks
Thick coconut milk- 1/4 cup
*Please do refer notes before you get started.
Grind together all the ingredients under the ‘marinate’ section. It wont be smooth and paste like, but its ok to add a wee bit of water and make it into a paste like consistency if you prefer that for marination.
Marinate the duck with the ground mix and keep aside for about half an hour or till you prepare the masala for the roast.
Peel and par boil the potato chunks and keep aside. I did this in the microwave.
When ready to cook, transfer the marinated duck along with 1 cup of water to a pressure cooker and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Wait for the pressure to release on its own. Open the lid, and if there is more than half cup of liquid, put the cooker back on high heat and boil away some of the liquid. You should have a thick gravy.
Keep aside till ready to use.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and sautee the shallots with curry leaves, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Cook till the onions turn golden brown.
Throw in the chilly, coriander and pepper powder along with salt, and continue sauteeing for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala disappears. If you think its sticking to the bottom, then add a teaspoon or two of water and mix well.
Pour in the cooked duck meat along with all the juices, and the par boiled potatoes into this mix and on medium heat roast it all together for about 10 minutes, stirring at intervals. Make sure you dont break the meat or the potatoes.
Add the thick coconut milk and continue to roast on low- medium heat till all the gravy sticks to the meat pieces and the oil starts to slowly separate.
Add the 1/4 tsp ground pepper and some fresh curry leaves, give one final mix, switch off heat and cover and keep for about 15 minutes.
Best served with rice, appam, idiappam or porotta.
Notes: I sliced the leg and thigh pieces into smaller portions and used for this prep.
I was a bit wary of the game-y taste that duck meat usually has and so i washed the pieces in a bit of lime juice and yoghurt, drained and then continued with marination. Of course this step is purely optional.
You can of course slow cook the duck in a heavy bottomed pan, but i pressure cooked it for convenience.
If you are in doubt about the pressure cooker timing, then keep releasing pressure and checking the meat by trying a small piece. If they are not chewy and easily fall off bone consistency you are good to go. If not put it back on and cook for 2 more whistles, check again and proceed. Dont under cook it or else it would be chewy. Over cook it and it shreds. It definitely takes more time than chicken but similar to that of mutton, in terms of cooking times.
For some gravy, add 1 cup water along with the coconut milk, but dont bring to a boil. Continue cooking on medium till the oil gets visible. If after cooking the duck there is enough liquid, then you can use that instead of adding the water with the coconut milk.
Its a roast that is medium spiced. Add one or two chillies more for that authentic spice kick this curry deserves.
I used my Le Creuset cast iron dutch pan for this prep and i cant stress how wonderfully it worked.