Duck Bhuna

There is something comforting and nostalgic about duck bhuna that reminds me of another home, Assam.

The readily available and poultry alternative. Popular and eaten often. Duck is rich and gamey. I love duck. I love all gamey birds but duck tastes wonderful in a curry.

I keep the skin, do a spice rub and get it crispy in the oven. I use the rendered fat for roasting, tatties or veg. There isn’t much meat on duck but its most enjoyable slow cooked in an array of fragrant spices. This is a bold rich curry. Slowcooked letting the flavours really develop giving you a lush thick sauce draping the tender duck meat.

It’s such a shame asian butchers don’t sell it precut like chicken but nothing stops me! I get hubby to do the honours.

Oh how I love a duck bhuna!

Quantities using measuring cup and level spoons.


1 whole duck skinned, chopped.
I used whole freshly prepped duck at home. Keep livers as they add good flavour.

3 cardamoms split
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 onions chopped
2 tbsp garlic paste
1.5 tbsp ginger paste
4 tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 handfuls coriander fresh
Keep chopped stalks separate
Half cup veg oil
1 scorpion pepper (optional)


2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp dried methi leaves


Heat oil in pan.
Add your whole spices till aromatic.
Add the onions and salt. Stir and cook for a few mins.
Add garlic, ginger cook for few mins. Now add tomato puree, 1/2 of the fresh chopped tomatoes, stir well add 1 cup water. Cover and let it simmer slow till all mush and waters almost gone, oil is splitting.

Add all the spice powders stir well and cook for a few minutes. Add splashes of water and keep cooking this till oil splits.
Repeat this process for a good 10 mins. This process is important as its at this point the spice flavours develop. We call this ‘bhuna-ing’. You do not want this masala to stick but let oil split.

After about 10 mins of bhuna-ing add your duck.
Cook this in the spices initially on high till water is released. Add coriander stalks remaining 2 chopped tomatoes, dry methi leaves. I added my hot scorpion now.
Now reduce heat, cover and cook for at least 30mins stirring occasionally but gently.
Add splashes of water if you need but you want to end with thick saucy dish.

Now add half cup water, add potatoes if you want and cook for another 30 mins covered on low heat till duck is cooked.
Uncover stir well and simmer on low till oil floats to top. You should have thick sauce.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

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