Monday, November 2, 2009

Duck/Tharavu Roast…….inspired by Ammachi’s Kuttanadan Style!

……..Yes, I do want to stay with her…..listen to her stories…..taste her food and of course enjoy the natural beauty of Kuttanadu, "the rice bowl of Kerala", a place near Alappuzha and as I have already mentioned in one of my posts, I have never been to Kuttanadu, and from what I have gathered from CJJ’s vivid descriptions, this place is laced with palm fringed canals and small rivers… lush green paddy fields……locals traversing in small country boats……. men herding a flock of ducks and the tail wagging and quacking of ducks !! It’s not just my husband who makes me go crazy with all these details… it is as though, my brothers-in law have also taken their vows to tickle my imagination….when one claims that it is heaven, then the other goes one step ahead and sends me the picture of mouth-watering duck roast their grandma makes!! I had no other option but to call her up and learn to make the chicken roast…..and I was quite surprised to learn that her famous chicken and duck roast is made with very few ingredients. I had to double check with her if there was no need to add coriander powder, chili powder and tomatoes which is generally used in chicken roast preparations, which are either curried and then pan seared or deep fried and then roasted but this preparation is based on grandma’s recipe!.....

I wrote those lines more than 2 years ago and today I thought I will share the that picture ……..

……..the picture that tempted me to take a culinary peep into CJJ’s grandma’s kitchen……..and any true blue non vegetarian Malayali having one quick glance at that one can understand our plight, how self-torturing it was for us to look at that picture and drool over it each time, especially when you are away from the delicacies of your homeland……… and yesterday when we were digging for this picture from my brother-in-law’s album, I repeated the same question I had asked CJJ whenever we viewed the picture in the past, “ How could she cook so much ……that too when she is in her 80’s just ‘coz R was visiting……..?? When do you think I would be able to have a taste of her ‘kaipunyam’? “ and I was told , “ Ohhhh…you should see her cooking…..she is ….she is F..A..S..T and she comes up with the tastiest dishes!!” and as always, I was left with sufficient amount of uncertainty for the last part of my question!

In the past I have tried to translate the gist of her recipes she shared with me over the phone and though I have never had the chance to taste her real version, I have tried to interpret her recipes with my limited skills. CJJ has been my judge all these years and the way he nodded his head after tasting each of my experiments, always gave me the push I needed to explore a bunch of her dishes, I have already shared with you.

This Duck /Tharavu Roast recipe is pretty much in line with the Chicken Roast recipe that has already been featured here. Some minor changes have been made in the proportion of ingredients to suit this particular variety of poultry and I must add that though I am not a duck lover, this is the only duck preparation that makes me go for second and third serving! Here’s the recipe we followed:

To marinate:
  • Around 1 kg Duck/Tharavu, cut, cubed and cleaned
  • 8 tsp Masala Powder ( Recipe follows)
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper ( fresh green peppercorn paste is ideal)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2-3 green chillies, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ to ½ cup water to pressure cook
To Roast:
  • 2 ¼ cups thinly sliced small red pearl onions/shallots/Kunjulli
  • ¼ cup finely chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic
  • 2tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • ½ tsp Masala Powder* (Recipe Follows)\
  • 2-4 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp water
To Make the Masala Powder: (Grind to a fine powder and use as per the instructions given in the recipe)
  • ¼ cup fennel seeds/perinjeerakam
  • 12-15 cinnamon/karugapatta
  • 8-10 cloves/grambu
  • 2 cardamom/Elakkaya
  • Marinate cubed pieces of duck meat with ingredients listed under “To marinate”, except water and leave on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a large pan and sauté small onions until they turn transparent and then add green chilies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and cook until they are soft. At this stage add cubed pieces of marinated duck ; sprinkle 1-2 tbsp water to the vessel and take off all the leftover marinade and pour to the pan; cook for around 20 minutes in low heat or until the raw smell goes. Transfer this to a pressure cooker and pour ¼ to ½ cup water and cook until done and soft.
  • When pressure cooker cools down, transfer the cooked meat and gravy, back to the large pan and bring to a boil in medium heat. At this stage, sprinkle ½ tsp masala powder and adjust salt if required; tear off curry leaves and throw them into the pan and let it simmer for another 15-30 minutes, until gravy and the cooked poultry come together as one single mass. Turn off the heat depending on the roasted texture you aim for; you can keep it lightly wet as in my picture or can make it a bit more dry.
  • Let the cooked dish sit in the room temperature for minimum 45-60 minutes, allowing the flavours to get together and serve warm with Rice or Palappam or any leavened or unleavened bread of your choice.
Related Posts:
Duck Curry Paalappam Pepper Fish Fry Karimeen Pappas Beef Stew Chemmeen Varattiyathu-Prawn Roast Mashed Tapioca & Fish Curry Chicken Roast - Kuttanadan Style Pepper Fish Fry


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. The second one is awesome way to skip that one.esp the small karimeens,oh my God that picture is exactly like we fry at home.I really miss that now.

    This is somewhat different from what I have known and been preparing as kuttanadu duck roast.lemme try and see.and if you are interested,I can mail you the one i follow.Thats awesome too..From where on earth Mish,you get such good duck there ? slurp !!

  2. the picture is a sure if there is a cook appointed in heaven he/she must be from kuttanad!!


  3. Heavenly! I think this recipe works off really well with chicken too.

  4. I m from Kainakary...its a hamlet in Kuttanaad...with immense love and warmth I extend a warm invite to visit our beautiful land...
    all the stories tht u hv heard...and the images people painted for u will be dwarfed wen u see it for urself....if Kerala is Gods own Land...Kuttanaad is the street the he lives on....
    Until very recently western vegetables like cauliflower.beans carrot were a luxury.....daily meals were more of fish,poulty,dry fish chamanthi or raw mango chamanthi etc...
    Women cleaning fish on the sides of walking around with a bunch a freshly caught jumping in to water from a coconut palm leaning across canal...trees laden with mangoes stooping onto the backwaters...ammachis visitng church in pristine white chatta...these everyday sights on the backdrop of various hues of green makes u think tht God created a symphony with colours..whose melody lingers even wen u r in a far away land.....
    Please visit Kuttanaadu...Nedumudi..Kainakary..
    mk sure u listen to all local folklores from ur ammachi...learn many recipes (share it wth us as well plz)....
    I m sure u will have a warm and hospitable stay in Kuttanaad...

  5. Shn, my mom belongs to Kuttanad so I should say I have been super lucky to enjoy the nature there to it's max! I personally feel that everyone especially every Malayali should visit that place atleast once in their lifetime...there is much more to just the boat house thing!

    Your Ammachi's recipe is very similar to my Amma's esp the colour. Pakshe, evide kannur-il thaaravu kittilla,so nammal avide poyi varumbol freeze cheythu konduvarum. And we bring like 8-10 in one go! :)

  6. Hi,
    I have been searching high and low for a good duck roast recipe! I think I found it. By the way, approximately how long did you pressure cook the duck?
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  7. Wow duck roast with chooru looks so tempting and the other pic with an array of dishes leaves me crave for it.

  8. Looks yummy!!..I will try it soon..You have a very good collection of traditional recipes in your blog..Keep on Going :-)

  9. Vanitha also focussed on duck roast this edition....I think we are on a duck roll now ;)

  10. Yummmmmm....
    That is all I can say, seeing this post!
    I can taste all that masala seeing the picture.

  11. Awesome! especially the second picture. The spread looks absolutely YUMMY.


  12. As small talk said,Kuttanadu is a beautiful place with simple scenes and natural flavours of life.Life is hard too at rainy seasons.Still we love the serenity of the place.Ofcourse you will love the place. I am from Edathua, another place belongs to Kuttanadu.Continue blogging, I can smell my mother's kitchen in here.This is my favourite dish.Thanks for bloging it and continue to blog your grandma's nadan receipes.

  13. this blog is a feast.
    i have heard about onam sadhya but have never had it - it seems like you serve sadhya everyday - it is a visual treat - drool ...drool.

    wow ! from where did you buy the duck ? --is it china town ? - that's the only place that i can think of

    and from where did you buy the clay pot that you cooked the fish? i have been looking for these -


  14. OMG !!
    No comments...
    bt i luv to read the comments:))

  15. You have done it again. It reminds me so much of my grandmother's cooking and I don't think it is a coincidence that she is from Kainakary too :-)
    Reading all the Kuttanadan's comments, I just long to be there.
    Totally agree with Mathew - the cooks in heaven must be from there only

  16. Ann, I got it from a malayali store ...I think asian stores also sell duck....and yes, easier to find 100 different styles of the same preparation, even if it is a small place like kuttanadu...changes from home to home....As someone wrote here, there is one version featured in Vanitha's issue as well...different from this one...if u re a duck lover, try that too...

    Bindhu, :)

    Mathew, hahah....pakshe ennum ore food enganeya kazhikkaa....ethiri variety vende ?:P

    Hb, yes, i first tried with chicken only...u can find that post in the related post section.

    Small Talk, wow! what a realistic description! pls write a post....i would love to read ur account...or u can even think of writing a guest post here...think about it:) pinne, though i have not been to kainakiri, i got a glimpse a couple years back when we took a house boat ride...they took us to these small pocket canals and could see one of the scenes u mentioned; women cleaning fish on the sides of the canal, some resting on the banks after lunch , after working at the krishi was beautiful..aake oru nalla serene feeling aayirunnu...and the "kaattu" itself was different there!! :)

    Ria, yeah....much more to house boats, in all aspects..u said it:) glad to know that there is some resemblance in ur mother's style as i really have not tasted ammachi's original version , so when someone talks of such similarities, i feel happy :) btw, why no thaaravu in kannur? njan evide ninnu kurachu ayakkano ? :D and btw, how big is ur freezer to stock up so many tharavu and so much of that chicken rolls u make...? are u using some industrial size freezer? just kidding :)

    Binsy, that depends on the meat..,if it is naadan/country poultry, cooking time is can be anywhere from 2 to 5 depending on the tenderness of the meat...hope that helps:)

    VS, mm..i understand :)

    Anon, thanks for encouragement and kind words :)

    Hello, After seeing ur message, I tried to get that issue...thanks a lot for letting me know...that also sounds very yumm...must try it once :)

    Zerin, try and let me know your feedback...hope u would love the taste....

    Reena, am sure ammachi must be happy to hear all ur comments...:)

    TME, yeah...i have heard of the struggles of the land too through CJJ's words..but still it's that serenity that makes the place hubby's paternal grandma is from edathua i guess...Happy to know that u enjoyed the post...thanks for dropping by :)

    Indian Yarn, thanks for dropping by and leaving such worm message....and what a beautiful page u have...u have a really colourful and vibrant "yarn" out there :) well, duck is from a kerala store, u might check at asian stores too...clay pots are from kerala..:)

    Ricks, hmm...can imagine how proud u must be reading all the feedbacks :) danku ;))

    Bindu, oh..she is from kainakiri too? wow...thats great...who knows, they might be knowing each other...or atleast familiar with the family names :)


  17. Shn,
    You have a great blog here! I have tried some of your recipes and they have all come out well. Thanks for sharing :)

    For all those who asked where we can buy duck in the US, we usually get ours from BJ's or Shoprite.


  18. Hi Mishmash,
    I have been following your blog since 2007 and am great fan of your presentation, including photos and the way you present the recipe. I am planning to make duck roast for christmas, so I was going through your blogs, slurp!! My first experience with chinese food was from Chiyang restaurant in EKM. When I was searching for chilie chicken recipe I read in comments that you are also from EKM and have been to Chiyang restaurant. I have not been to that restaurant for quite a long time, the tasty chinese dishes we had during our childhood. I would love to see Chilie chicken recipe from you. If you could put that, me and some other firends of mine would be really happy.


  19. really stunning picture .... cool

  20. i was going through all your food pics...there are truly awesome..artistic!!! I too follow a similar style in my food blog, which I started to show case my photography skills of the dishes I prepare at home.
    Overall, an awesome site...will definitely try some of your dishes soon.

  21. i was going through all your food pics...there are truly awesome..artistic!!! I too follow a similar style in my food blog, which I started to show case my photography skills of the dishes I prepare at home.
    Overall, an awesome site...will definitely try some of your dishes soon.

  22. shn,,,,ur recipi yesterday i tried and it was really really awesome .........thanx for ur husband really loved ur recipi .we r from thiruvalla and now in dubai but i can say that ur kuttanadu disheds r really good .i ll try some of ur recipis tooooooooo.thanx once again

  23. shnnn
    yesterday we made this dish and i can say it was really really awesome since we r from thiruvalla never get a chance to eat all these kuttanadu dishes but now i can say ur kuttanadu dishes r good....

  24. Are you sure you have not mixed the description of heaven with Kuttanodu. I love your dishes, they are so nicely marinated with all the goodness.

  25. hi Shn.....awesome blog!!!believe me--i keep visiting it wen i feel dull....n this particular recipe "Duck Roast" has become a super hit in my parents n my relatives love it n keep on bugging me to prepare it wen there is a family function at home....thanx a lot for dat...alll the credits to u....keep going!!!

  26. The recipee sounds very wonderful, and mouthwatering. Request you to kindly advise how you got the light brown colour. Ingredients added should give it slight darker colour gravy. By any chance haave you added coconut milk and have forgoten to mention it??

  27. what is the weight of the duck?

  28. I made this duck roast and it didn't come out as good as I had hoped. Am i missing something? I was using defrosted duck that I cut into small peices.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.