Tamarind duck curry

Tamarind duck curry

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

This is a lovely, deep, tangy dish that is great with or without coconut milk. Without the coconut, the flavours are clear and deep. The coconut adds sweetness to this Keralan recipe and is authentic. I leave it to you; taste before adding the coconut and decide. Balance the tamarind accordingly, the coconut version requires more tartness, as well as salt. I have tried this with duck breasts but it doesn’t work nearly as well. If you hate bones, I still urge you to keep them in and take a few minutes at the end to pick the meat from the bones and stir it back in.

For the curry


Quantity Ingredient
12 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
12 black peppercorns
30g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
9 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
5cm cinnamon stick
3 small onions, sliced
1 rounded tablespoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt, to taste
600g duck joints, (I buy 3 whole ducklegs and joint them into thighs and drumsticks, leave the skin on or not, as you prefer)
3-6 green chillies, whole but pierced, (optional)
150-200ml coconut milk, (optional, see recipe introduction)
1-1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste

For the tarka

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
15 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, chopped


  1. Using a good mortar and pestle, pound the green cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns together to a fine powder, removing the green cardamom skin. Separately blend together the ginger and garlic with a little water until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the cinnamon and onions and cook until well browned. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the excess water has dried up and the garlic has had a chance to fry and smells cooked. Add all the powdered spices and salt along with a small splash of water and cook for two minutes.
  3. Add the duck and stir well in the masala; start to brown the duck, then add the chillies (if using). Pour in enough water to just cover, bring to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 50–60 minutes, until the duck is tender; stir occasionally and check there is some liquid in the pan. After 45 minutes, check to see how much liquid remains; if it is more than halfway up the duck, finish cooking the duck uncovered so the excess water cooks off.
  4. At this time, heat the oil for the tarka in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and, once they have popped, the curry leaves. Follow with the onion and cook until well browned. Add to the duck with the coconut milk (if using) and tamarind, then simmer for five minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, adding more tamarind if you would prefer a tangier dish, then serve.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again