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Duck Biryani

RECIPE by Chef Yogesh Datta

Chef-Patron Yogesh Datta

Long regarded as one of finest Indian chefs of his generation, Yogesh Datta brings a strong sense of tradition to his cooking yet marries it with just the right sense of modernity and flourish. Born in Shimla, a hill station in northern India, Datta initially honed his expertise at New Delhi’s prestigious Taj Palace Hotel. This was followed by him working in a hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, where he learned the ropes for French cooking before embarking as an Executive Chef for the Indian section with the Sheraton hotel group in Dubai. From there, Datta arrived to work in London, heading up the kitchens of Tabla, a modern Indian in the Docklands. Thereafter, he went on to open the widely acclaimed fine dining Indian restaurant The Painted Heron in 2002 and subsequently, what is the City’s finest casual dining Indian, Bangalore Express.

Duck Biryani

with onion, tomato, cucumber relish

Serves 5-6 people


l Duck whole : cut into approximately 12 pieces on the bone

l Basmati rice – 1 kg

l Butter/ Ghee / oil – 200 gms

l Low fat yoghurt – 500ml

l Kashmiri chilli powder – 3 heaped tea spoons

l Turmeric – 2 heaped tea spoons

l   Ginger/ garlic paste – 3 table spoons

l   Onions 2 – chopped

l    Tomatoes 4 – chopped

l   Juice of 1 Lemon

l   Asafoetida – commercial variety, mixed with flour (optional) – 2 teaspoons

l    Special Garam masala powdered – black cardamom seeds, black cumin seeds (kala jeera), coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, mace flowers(javitri) and grated nutmeg. – 50 gms

l    Bouquette garni- cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamom, bay leaves

l    Saffron – 1 gm

l   Salt – to taste

l   Kewda water (optional) – 10ml

l  Milk – half a cup

l    Fresh mint – 1 bunch

l    Fresh coriander – 1 bunch.

l     Prunes pitted – 100gms

l     Fried cashewnuts – 150gms (optional)

l     Paneer grated (optional) – 100gms

l    Fried brown onions (optional) – 100gms

l    Onion /tomato/cucumber relish

l    Sliced red onions, tomato juliennes and cucumber juliennes

l     Greek yoghurt, cream, salt, pepper, chopped garlic and chopped coriander, salt to taste


Wash and soak rice in cold water and set aside. You may leave the skin on the bird or remove it is entirely. Wash the duck in running water as well. Chop onions and tomatoes.

Wash mint and coriander bunches, chop the leaves and stems and keep separately. Pat dry the meat and marinate in one table spoon of ginger/garlic paste, juice of one lemon, salt and set aside for half an hour.

Heat a non-stick pan, sprinkle a little oil and add the duck pieces to brown on high flame. Heat ghee/ butter/ oil in a deep heavy bottom pan add asafoetida, turmeric, followed immediately by the chopped onions. When the onions begin to colour, add rest of the ginger/ garlic paste and red chilli powder. Cook over low flame until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped stems of coriander and mint followed by chopped tomatoes.

Add the duck along with yoghurt into the pan, cover and simmer over low flame, until duck is cooked.

In another pan add lots of water along with salt and bouquette garni- cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamom, bay leaves. Cook the rice until 3/4th cooked, throw away excess water and allow rice to cool to room temperature.

Soak saffron in warm milk in a small bowl In a deep heavy bottom deep pan, to layer the biryani, start with one fourth of the rice. Next add half of the cooked duck, half of coriander and mint, half of the special garam masala and half of the prunes and cashew nuts. Follow this with another layer of half of the remaining rice, followed by rest of the duck, garam masala, prunes, cashew nuts and half of the remaining mint and coriander. Top this up with all the remaining rice, mint, coriander, drizzle all the saffron milk around the pot along with the kewda water. Finish with fried onions and grated paneer. Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook again over low flame for 10 minutes. Serve hot with onion, tomato and cucumber relish.

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