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Duck Curry with Roast Potatoes

(Tarav Roast Kari)

by Atul Kochhar from 30 Minute Curries (Absolute Press)  Photography: Mike Cooper


I decided I wanted to create a whole meal – a Sunday lunch with an Indian twist, so I’ve included roast potatoes.  They might take your total cooking time over the thirty-minute limit if you aren’t completely organised before you start cooking, so if you are in a hurry you can just leave them out.


In Kerala, this dish would most likely be made with duck legs, but they don’t cook quickly enough to be included in a thirty-minute recipe. 


Serves 4


4 duck breasts (Nigel used legs)

1 heaped tablespoon Ginger-Garlic Paste (see below)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons coconut oil

About 250ml water

6 shallots

3 green cardamom pods

2 cloves

2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick

250ml coconut milk

Fresh coriander sprigs

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the roast potatoes

12 new potatoes - to save time Atul buys new potatoes that are well scrubbed, ready to boil & never peels them 

(Nigel used Jersey Royals)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Small handful of fresh or dried curry leaves


For the spice powder

8 cloves

4 green cardamom pods

5cm piece of cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste

½ teaspoon ground fennel

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin


Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan200C/Gas 7, bring a large covered saucepan of salted water to the boil and assemble all the ingredients and other equipment before you begin.  You also need a roasting tray, a bowl, a spice grinder and a large sauté or frying pan.


Get the potatoes cooking as quickly as possible.  Halve the potatoes, adding them to the boiling water as you cut.  Be careful that the water doesn’t splash you.  Re-cover the pan and return the water to the boil, then boil, uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender.


Put the roasting tray in the oven to heat up after the potatoes have boiled for 12 minutes.


Meanwhile, skin the duck breasts (or legs) and cut them into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside in the bowl.


Make the spice powder.  Put the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, ground coriander, chilli powder, ground fennel, black pepper, turmeric and ground cumin in the spice grinder, and grind until a fine powder forms.


Tip the spice powder into the bowl with the duck, season with salt and stir so all the duck pieces are well coated.  Add the ginger-garlic paste and vinegar and stir again to blend the ingredients.


Melt 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil over a medium heat in the sauté pan.  Add the duck pieces and stir for about 30 seconds to sear and cook the spice powder.   The oil will be absorbed, so watch closely so the spices don’t burn.   Pour in enough water to just cover the meat, stir and then leave to simmer, uncovered.


Drain the potatoes well, shaking off as much water as possible, then transfer them to the roasting tray.  Add the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the curry leaves, season with salt and pepper and toss together.  Place the tray in the oven and roast the potatoes for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are tender and browned.


When the potatoes go into the oven, strain the duck pieces and set aside the duck and cooking liquid separately.  Wipe out the sauté pan.  Peel, halve and slice the shallots.  Crush the cardamom pods to loosen the seeds.


Return the wiped pan to a medium-heat.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan.  Add the cardamom pods and their seeds, the cloves and cinnamon, and stir until the spices crackle.  Add the shallots and stir until they are lightly coloured.


Turn the heat to high and slowly stir in the reserved duck cooking juices – stand back because it will generate a great deal of steam.  Stir in the coconut milk.  This is like adding cream towards the end of cooking in a western recipe, and will mellow the flavour, as well as enrich and thicken the gravy.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary.


Reduce the heat and stir in the duck pieces.  Leave the curry to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are ready to come out of the oven.


Meanwhile, rinse a few coriander sprigs to use for garnishing.


I’ve eaten similar dishes to this in Keralan homes many times and they are served with the potatoes around the edge of a serving platter and the curry in the centre.  Add a few coriander sprigs for garnish.



Ginger-Garlic Paste


Makes about 225g



2 large garlic heads, 75g each, separated into cloves and peeled

150g fresh ginger, peeled weight, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons water



Put the garlic cloves, ginger and water in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and blitz, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a paste forms.


This keeps in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.


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