This Kerala duck pepper roast is the only recipe you will need for a laid-back weekend cooking. Small pieces of duck meat slow-cooked until they are coated with a reduced spice base with a kick of black pepper. Mouthwatering, isn’t it?
If you have visited Alappuzha or Kottayam districts in the South Indian state of Kerala, you would have noticed duck farmers herding their hundreds of thousands of ducks in the famed backwaters. It is always a pleasure to watch the duck flocks floating on the gentle waves of the beautiful backwaters. With the scenic countryside in the backdrop, they swim alongside the houseboats and the small boats with their minders watching on.
Duck farming is a livelihood for many farmers in this region. They are reared for their meat and eggs, and there are many traditional delicacies that celebrate this delicious produce. This Kerala duck pepper roast is one such recipe from Kottayam.
Like many other recipes on this blog, this Kottayam style Kerala duck pepper roast is a mom’s recipe. I love duck delicacies, but I don’t cook with it often as it wasn’t a regular protein source in mom’s kitchen. It has been an acquired taste. I have been planning to write a duck recipe on this blog for quite some time. I called my cousin who has travelled across the country on work for a good duck recipe. He never misses a good traditional plate of food wherever he is! He called his friend who handed over the phone to his mom who makes the best duck pepper roast he has ever come across! And this recipe, my friends, is the result of that conversation.
If you live in a place where you can source duck meat, I urge you to try this recipe. If I say it won’t disappoint you, that’ll be an understatement!
About this Kerala Duck Pepper roast recipe
Duck is usually cooked with the skin on. That adds a signature flavour to this Kerala duck pepper roast. That also means you don’t have to use any oil to cook the duck in this recipe. We need a tablespoon or two when we start the cooking, to fry the onions. After that, there is no oil or no water. That’s right. We’ll be cooking the duck in its own juices and other spices that we add.
The critical part of this recipe is the initial steps of setting up the ingredients and grinding them to pastes. The actual cooking is very easy. It takes time as it involves slow cooking, but you don’t have to stand in the kitchen all the time. The main guidance being “open the lid, add 1/2 teaspoon pepper powder, mix well”. This step will be repeated until all the juices vanish from the pot and the duck pieces are coated with a thick sauce texture.
If you like this Kerala Duck Pepper Roast recipe, don’t forget to check out the following traditional classics as well.
Kerala Duck Pepper Roast
- 1 kg duck medium pieces, cleaned, with skin
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup black pepper powder you might not need it all
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Ground Paste 1
- 2 pods garlic 2 full pods of garlic peeled
- 1 piece ginger
- 10 green chillies
- 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
Ground Paste 2
- 2 tablespoons black pepper coarse powder
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 10 Cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds khus khus
- Prepare the ground paste 1 ingredients ready.
- Chop the ginger, garlic, and green chillies.
- Prepare the ground paste 2 ingredients ready.
- Soak the cashew nuts and poppy seeds in lukewarm water for 10 mins and drain off the water.
- Grind the ingredients for the first ground paste in a blender to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl.
- Now grind the ingredients for the second mix to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside.
- In a cheenachatti (cast iron pan or any thick bottom pan), heat some oil, and shallow fry the onions on a low flame.
- Once the onions are tender, add the green chilli paste.
- Mix well, and continue cooking till the oil start emerging from the mix.
- Add salt.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Combine well and continue stirring.
- Once the tomatoes start disappearing into onions add the second ground paste and mix well.
- Now add the duck pieces, mix well, and cook on a low flame with the lid closed.
- You don't have to add any water.
- Open after 15 minutes. You'll see the the duck starting to get cooked in the juices.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, mix well, close the lid, and continue cooking.
- Cook for 5 minutes, open the lid. Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, mix well, and continue cooking with lid back on.
- Keep cooking. Every time you open the lid add black pepper, mix well and continue cooking.
- Once the meat is cooked well, continue roasting without the lid on.
- You can increase the flame to medium now, and reduce till all the juices vanish, and the duck pieces are coated in a thick, fully reduced sauce.