I am always looking forward to dinner with my loved ones – Sebastien Rouxel
We always pass by the Kuttanad region to get home and back….
We do these trips often, from Thiruvalla to Cochin via the Changanacherry – Alleppey route….’coz we live in Thiruvalla and Cochin is my home-town.
Called the Venice of Kerala, Kuttanad and the Vembanad Lake is a tourist spot with the popular back waters and the lovely house boats….also, the place is visually stunning….with paddy fields which seem to change colour every season, and varied hues of green (sometimes its a lush green carpet as far as the eye can see, sometimes the place is submerged in water due to the heavy rains) the place has an old world charm.. the ”Far from the Madding Crowd” kinda place.
I love it for another reason too, for the Kuttanadan ducks…you see them floating in the waters, a hoard of them, and is a source of income for those who rear them .
And they are phenomenal in taste…Simply fantastic. We have people from distant places come here (some even crossing state lines!) to either buy the ducks or to sample a savoury meat dish.
Have always wondered what gives these ducks their amazing taste…some people attribute it to the particular feed it is fed and some say its ‘coz of the type of water it waddles in most of the time…in fact, I wait till I get my hands on these ducks to cook a Duck roast or Duck curry.
Thankfully, we have a dear friend who gets the meat straight from the duck rearers. I’ve also been recently informed that the male duck is priced over the female, as the female ducks don’t put on as much flesh.
I have got this lip smacking recipe with a few of my alterations, from a recipe book called “Tastebuds“, which had a particular issue featuring Kuttanadan duck…Of the Malayalam culinary books that I have tried, I must say “Tastebuds” is a cut above the rest, with precise amounts and balanced flavor.
This recipe in particular, is one of the best. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (Re-printed with permission)
Duck, cleaned and cut into small pieces- 500 gms
Peppercorns,crushed – 3 tsp
Chilli powder – 3 tsp
Coriander powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Onions, chopped – 300 gm
Tomatoes, chopped – 200 gm
Green chillies, slit – 4
Ginger,julienned – 2 pieces
Garlic, chopped – 4 cloves
Coconut oil – 150 ml
Thick coconut milk – 150 ml
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Salt – To taste
Saute the chopped Onions, the slit green chillies, julienned ginger, and chopped garlic in Coconut oil in an Iron Kadai.
Once the onions are fairly browned, mix in the Chilli powder, Coriander powder and the Turmeric powder and saute again a few minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, and once it turns mushy, add the duck pieces, a little water and pressure cook till tender.
Add in the garam masala and the crushed pepper corns, and add the coconut milk and keep stirring till gravy turns nice, thick and browned.
Crush the fried curry leaves and sprinkle them on the top. Serve.