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Duck Curry

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Duck curry with tamarind

This is a spicy one!


I’m not going to lie and tell you that this wild duck curry is an easy one to eat. In fact, if you don’t like getting your hands dirty I’d suggest using larger farmed duck breast cut into bite sized pieces (tikka).

You could use the same recipe with about 800g of farmed duck breast. It’s easier buy I prefer the flavour of a wild duck curry.

Last week, however I had a few wild mallard ducks delivered to my door by a neighbour and I decided to develop a new recipe.

This one is based on British Indian restaurant (BIR) style cookery where a base curry sauce is used.

You will need to make that first. Believe me though, this one is worth the effort. I made enough for eight people and served four. There wasn’t a spicy spoonful left.

Cooking the wild duck curry and making the base sauce and special spice blend can all be done a day or so ahead of time so that the final cooking only takes about then minutes.

There are so many things going on in this recipe. You’ve got the tartness of the tamarind, the spicy chilli powder, the sweetness of the sugar and don’t forget a nice sprinkling of salt.

All of this is brought together by the spice and coconut powder blend.

The ingredients used in this recipe are used mostly in south Indian cooking. Many Pakistani and Bangladeshi curry house chefs are beginning to introduce these southern ingredients to their curries. One thing is for sure, the flavour and texture of this wild duck curry is 100% BIR!

Making duck curry

Roasting the spices and coconut before grinding them.

Making duck curry

Shallow frying the gram flour and madras curry powder coated duck pieces.

Making duck curry

Time to give the duck a good 20 minute roasting.

Making duck curry

Curry leaves, mustard seeds, onions seeds and garlic and ginger paste frying away.

Making duck curry

Stirring in the turmeric and special coconut spice blend.

Making duck curry

Just before adding the curry sauce, I added three tablespoons of red hot chilli powder.

Making duck curry

Stirring in the tamarind and sugar.

Making duck curry

Adding the duck pieces and cooking until tender. A tad more sauce or water may be needed.

Making duck curry

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh coriander.

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Yield: 4

Easy Indian Duck Curry with a Tamarind Sauce

Easy Indian Duck Curry with a Tamarind Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 Ducks cut into about 12 pieces (discard the tails as they taste awful.)
  • 5 Tablespoons gram flour
  • 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 - 3 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon black onion seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 750ml base curry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 200c / 400f.
  2. Start by making your coconut spice powder.
  3. In a dry frying pan over medium heat, roast the coriander seeds, sesame seeds, coconut and cumin seeds until they become warm to the touch and fragrant.
  4. Allow to cool slightly and then place these ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, In a large frying pan heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Dust the duck pieces with the gram flour and madras curry powder and shake off any excess. Brown the duck pieces in the hot oil for a couple of minutes and then place on a rack in an oven tray.
  6. Roast the duck for a further 20 minutes.
  7. While the duck is roasting away, prepare your curry sauce.
  8. Heat two tablespoons vegetable oil you used to fry the duck pieces in a large pan or wok. Toss in the mustard seeds and onion seeds. When they begin to pop, add the curry leaves and fry for about a minute.
  9. Add the garlic and ginger paste followed by the coconut spice powder. Stir to combine.
  10. Now add the base curry sauce and stir some more.
  11. Add the roasted duck pieces, sugar and the tamarind paste and allow to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. The duck should be very tender. Farmed duck only needs about ten minutes.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh coriander to serve.

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Friday 22nd of January 2021

Can one substitute another type of flour for the gram flour? Such as rice or all-purpose flour?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Unfortunately there is not really a substitute for gram flour. Thanks Dan


Friday 8th of January 2016

This looks amazing - two questions though: how much garlic ginger paste? (It looks about 1 or 2 tablespoons), and could you substitute the duck for chicken?

Dan Toombs

Saturday 27th of February 2016

Hi Johm

You could certainly use chicken instead. I used approx two tablespoons garlic and ginger paste. :-)

Thanks Dan


Thursday 26th of May 2011

Your recipe says to add onions to about a litre of water which is then added to roasted spices to make a 'paste'. This seems like a lot of water for a paste? Do you not fry off a thicker paste first before increasing the water content to create a sauce? Id love to try this recipe, just want to get it right as duck is expensive here (UK).

Dan Toombs

Thursday 26th of May 2011

Hi Andrew

Thank you very much for your interest. I do use a litre.

The liter of water really only covers the duck pieces and then the spice and duck meat turn it into a nice sauce as it simmers.

If you are not happy with the flavour at the end of cooking, remove the duck pieces and boil the sauce down a little. Then add the duck pieces again. I don't think you'll need to do this though.

I hope you like the recipe. It's one of my favourite duch curries. Be sure to let me know.

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