Friday, 28 December 2012

Kuttanadan Tharavu Roast/ Duck Roast

"Ee Padachon bhayankara sambhavam thanne ketoo... Chila aagrahangal nammal maranaalum pulli marakilla ennu thoonunnu." (Translate: "This God is a great "thing".. Even if we forget some of our desires He doesn't forget them.") These are the last lines from the latest Hit Malayalam movie Thattathin Marayathu. More often than not, I've felt that this is true in my life too.

I visited Kuttanadu, for the very first time when I was 19 years of age, with my friends. The lush green paddy fields and the small lakes and canals surrounded by palm trees, mobile shops running on local country boats that sells everything from pottu (dots) and kanmashi (eye-liner) to kitchen utensils, locals travelling on ferry boats and men, women and children herding flocks of ducks with their tails wagging and their quacking sounds - a serene scene, that it was love at first sight for me. The Kuttanadan cuisine was totally different to the Thiruvananthapuram cuisine that I grew up with - Tharavu/ Duck Roast, Tharavu/ Duck Mappas, Karimeen/ Pearl Spot Mappas, Karimeen/ Pearl Spot Pollichathu. That night, I prayed, "Lord, help me to get married to a guy from Kuttanadu". And then I forgot about the place and my special request.

Three years down the lane, I met the guy, who would later be my husband. And when I visited his house, memories of my first sojourn to Kuttanadu and my special prayer to God, struck me on my face. I was quite astounded. "Ee Padachon bhayankara sambhavam thanne ketoo... Chila aagrahangal nammal maranaalum pulli marakilla ennu thoonunnu..............."
 This is my Mother-in-laws recipe, to the dot.

Serves: 6 - 8
Preparation Time: 15 minutes + time to marinate
Cooking Time: 1 hour

  • 2kg duck, skin removed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 - 3 pieces of duck skin/ fat (from the skin that was removed from the whole duck - see note)
  • 3 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ginger, juliennes
  • 1/2 cup garlic, crushed
  • 3 large green chilly, slit
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp kashmiri chilly powder
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • Extra oil, to fry potato
1. Marinate duck pieces with salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp pepper powder and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, deep fry thinly cut potato slices, until light brown and crispy and keep aside.
3. In a thick, flat-bottomed vessel (this is very important) heat oil. Add onion, ginger, garlic, green chilly and salt and stir continuously over medium-low heat, until onions turns light brown in colour. Add curry leaves, coriander powder, chilly powder, remaining pepper powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Roast spices for a few minutes taking care not to burn them (around 2 minutes). Add marinated duck pieces,  vinegar and water and mix well. Close pan with lid and continue to cook until duck is well done. Take care to stir through occasionally. Add more water only if the mixture gets too dry before duck is cooked through. Take care not to add too much water. This should be a semi dry preparation.

Decorate with fried potato slices and serve hot with Appam or Rice.
Note:- Traditionally, duck skin is not removed from duck pieces when making duck roast. However, I prefer to remove them and then add only 2/3 pieces of this skin/ fat. This adds a wonderful aroma to the dish and also doesn't make the roast too fatty.


  1. Ya.... I experienced the same thing. God never forget our desire. Yummy and delicious recipe.

  2. God always knows the desires of our heart. Beautiful post! The roast looks mouthwateringly delicious, tempting clicks! Wishing you a very Happy New Year :)

  3. adipoli......that was a dream come true. loved reading it.

  4. delicious recipe...And an interesting story.Its a surprise that your wish came true!!