This is a deeply flavoursome dish that reheats perfectly, so it is ideal to prepare ahead for a party or a large family meal. By the time the curry is cooked, the rich, amber-coloured duck fat will have risen to the top of the dish. I always leave that where it is and serve it with the curry.


Serves: 4–6

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon bright red paprika (not smoked)
  • 1½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
  • 8 duck legs, cut to yield 8 thighs and
  • 8 drumsticks
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 15 curry leaves (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated
  • fresh ginger
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 75–100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • plain boiled rice or boiled
  • new potatoes 
  • peas with mint
  • chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Plain Boiled Rice

Serves: 8

  • 2 litres water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g basmati rice
  • a little butter or olive oil
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Duck Curry

  1. Mix the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole. Dry the duck pieces and place them in the casserole, skin side down, and cook for about 8 minutes, until hazelnut brown. Turn and repeat on the other side, then remove from the casserole. If there is an excessive amount of rendered duck fat at this stage, spoon some of it out and reserve for another use.
  3. 3 Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds and allow the mustard to pop, which will only take a matter of seconds. Immediately add the sliced onions and curry leaves (if using) and cook for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the onions are lightly browned.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook over a gentle heat, stirring all the while, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the browned duck pieces back to the casserole along with the vinegar, sugar, salt and enough water to barely cover the duck, then stir to gently mix.
  5. Bring the curry to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook at this gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook at a simmer for a further 30 minutes, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the casserole. By now the sauce should have reduced and thickened slightly and the duck should be really tender.Taste and correct the seasoning.
  6. Ladle the curry into warmed bowls and scatter over the parsley. Serve with plain boiled rice or boiled new potatoes and serve the peas with mint (or the green vegetable of your choice) on the side.

Plain Boiled Rice

This method for cooking rice is very different from the old-fashioned proportion of 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Cooking rice in a lot of water produces an excellent result. The rice remains fluffy and in separate grains and will keep quite happily covered in an oven for half an hour.

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and sprinkle in the rice. Stir gently to separate the grains of rice. Bring back to the boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Taste the rice – it should be a little undercooked. Strain through a sieve or colander.
  3. Put in a warm serving dish and dot with a few knobs of butter or a drizzle of olive oil. Cover the dish tightly with dampened parchment paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes at least. The rice will finish cooking.
  4. Remove the paper to serve. Fluff up with a fork and add a little chopped parsley if you wish.