We knocked up this recipe recently as a nod to the beginning of the duck-shooting season here in New Zealand. We used domestically raised whole ducks (6 x duck legs would work too), but feel certain that our feathered friends from the wild would feel blessed to end their lives with this delicious treatment. If you don't have duck on hand, any protein will work well in this recipe. Give it a try with chicken, lamb etc!

Serves 6


Step 1: Red Curry Paste

Place the star anise, cinnamon, white peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds in a skillet, and toast over medium heat until smoky and fragrant. Process into a fine powder in a spice grinder, or mortar and pestle.  Transfer spice mix, and all remaining ingredients to a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Refrigerate until required.


Step 2: Duck Curry

Using a sharp knife or a cleaver, butterfly each duck and portion into approximately 12 pieces, with the bone in. Place all of the duck pieces in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, white pepper, Sichuan pepper and salt.  Tip flour mix over the duck, and toss together to coat the duck. Shake off the excess.

Heat a large cast iron casserole dish over high heat. Pour in the canola oil, then in batches, fry the duck pieces on both sides until golden and crispy. Remove from the dish, and repeat until all duck is cooked.

Carefully pour out the excess oil from casserole dish, then return to the stove top on a medium heat. Add in the sliced onions and cook for 5 minutes to caramelise. Follow with the red curry paste and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Drop in the kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar and fish sauce, and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour the coconut milk and cream into the casserole dish, and stir through. Finally, add the duck into the sauce. Bring up to a gentle simmer, then cover dish with a lid, reduce heat to low, and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent sticking. Add in the kumara and peas, and cook for a further 30 minutes until the kumara is soft, and the duck is almost falling off the bone. Remove from the heat and season to taste.


Step 3: Serving

Serve up the duck red curry over steamed jasmine rice. Hit with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, then top with as little or as much of the garnishes as you see fit!


Photography by Cam McLaren