Bali duck

Bebek batutu

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

In Ubud, they bake their bird whole and stuffed, and in the ground - wrapped in banana leaves and surrounded by smouldering coconut husks. No, I’m not suggesting it. This way below will give you that smoky flavour, and a full blast of the Moluccas, the spice islands. Not particularly Balinese, for ovens don’t exist, but near. My nice easy way with a clutch of duck legs.


  • 4 tbsp uncooked rice
  • tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, smashed
  • 10 cloves, smashed
  • 4 tbsp lapsang souchong tea leaves
  • 4 duck legs
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp each of ground mace, cinnamon and cloves
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis or dark soy sauce, for brushing
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


Line the base of a steamer with a double thickness of foil. Mix together the uncooked rice, 4 tbsp of the sugar, the smashed cinnamon and cloves, and the tea leaves (the smoking ingredients), and spread over the foil. Assemble the steamer, placing the duck pieces in the steaming tray, then cover and place over a high heat. When you can smell the aroma of spice, turn down the heat to low and gently smoke for about 20 minutes. Discard the congealed smoking ingredients. Rub the now smoked duck with salt, pepper, the ground spices and the remaining ½ tbsp sugar, then brush with the kecap manis and some oil. Roast in a 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 oven on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes or until mahogany brown and cooked through. Eat with freshly cooked rice and some crisp leaves.