Duck with coconut milk

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bengali Cooking: Seasons & Festivals

Bengali Cooking

By Chitrita Banerji

Published 1997

  • About

Two years later, Kadam Bhai came to visit us in Dhaka. During his stay he decided to buy a couple of ducks and cook them for me, probably because he remembered my delighted appreciation in the village. This time he used a different method.


Kadam Bhai called this simply Duck with coconut milk. The birds were of a medium size and he set aside the fleshy portions, drumsticks, thighs, breasts. The rest— necks, wings, lower ribs, back, even heads—he put into a pan with 750 ml ( pints) of water to make a stock spiced with 1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds, a 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of ginger, a whole medium onion and a bay leaf. This he left, tightly covered, over a low flame until the meat was completely separated from the bones. Removing the pan from the stove, he strained the stock through a cheesecloth, crushing the meat to extract the last bit of juice before discarding it and the bones. Next he extracted milk from a coconut in the usual way, grinding the flesh, soaking it for half an hour in 120 ml (4 fl oz) of hot water and straining it. He was going to use double the amount of milk. Then he put a large pot on the stove and heated 175 ml (6 fl oz) of ghee in it. Into this he threw 2 bay leaves, 3 teaspoons of ground ginger, 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon each of chilli and turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper. These were fried for two to three minutes and the pieces of duck were added. The meat was stirred and stirred until it became very dark brown, at which point the stock was added to cover the meat together with some salt. Duck takes a long time to cook and more stock can be added if needed. When the duck was almost done, he added the coconut milk and kept stirring over a high heat. As the gravy thickened, he added the juice of a large lemon, checked for salt and removed the duck from the stove. The rich, gamy taste of the bird was successfully complemented by the sweet-and-sour touch of coconut milk and lemon. A polao made with fine white rice was a perfect accompaniment.