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Indian Duck Curry with Tamarind

Indian duck curry featuring a rosy pink duck breast in a hot and sour bold curry sauce featuring tamarind and fenugreek.

If rosy pink duck is not your thing, don’t worry you can safely cook it so it is perfect for you. The whole thing is done in around 45 minutes.

Overhead image of an Indian duck breast curry served with rice and naan bread.

Duck Breast Curry with Tamarind Masala Sauce

High up on the list of foods that I love are Indian food and duck. As a result, this Indian duck masala appearing here was somewhat of an inevitability.

It features a hot and sour curry sauce with tamarind and jaggery. Its flavours are loosely similar to my ever-popular chicken pathia recipe.

Duck and tamarind are delicious together, it is a combination that I use in my tamarind and honey glazed duck leg recipe. Tamarind also features in my unusual Indian inspired pheasant curry.

Then it gets topped by a gloriously spiced and perfectly cooked duck breast.

The duck is cooked using the cold pan method to render out the fat and deliver perfectly crispy skin. It is a method you can see in a video on my duck with orange sauce and balsamic and honey glazed duck breast recipes.

And if this Indian duck curry is as much your mojo as it is mine, then you must check out my Thai duck curry.

If you fancy a Chinese fakeaway then how about this duck chow mein?

Indian duck breast curry served with rice and naan bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use tamarind concentrate?

Yes, but you need to take care with tamarind concentrate because they are all different strengths.

Adding too much will make this duck curry too sour and also give it a metallic aftertaste. If you are using concentrate, find a brand you like learn its idiosyncrasies and stick with it.

Can I cook the duck breast so it isn’t pink?

Yes, of course. You may need to let the sauce down a little more whilst the duck is resting.

I remove my duck at around 53-54°C or 127°F and remove it to rest.

If you want your duck medium aim for 60°C or 140°F and well done at 65°C or 150°F.

I am not one of those foodies that tells you how you should like your food, we’m all grown-ups and like different things, do what makes your belly happy!

Can I save the duck fat?

Yes, but you do need to remember it is flavoured, so it is less versatile than clean duck fat. But I brush it on chapati or use it as the fat for any Indian curry and it is particularly good added to my air fryer onion bhajis.

Close up Indian duck breast curry served in an iron karai.

Serving Suggestions

This Indian duck curry is great with two simple additions, tandoori style naan bread and rice.

Super simple and easy, and if you happen to slip and brush the naan bread with the reserved duck fat then even better. I also sprinkle them with poppy seeds too, because that’s the way I roll.

This is also stunning with either my roast Bombay potatoes or my aloo methi fry recipe!

For something a little different, then how about this delicious Indian cabbage and potato sabji.

Indian duck breast curry served in an iron karai with rice and naan bread.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan or skillet.
  • Chopping board.
  • kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Kettle for boiling water.
  • Small fine mesh sieve.
  • Kitchen tongs, serving and stirring spoons.
  • Quick read meat thermometer. Optional but recommended.
Indian duck curry served in an iron karai with rice and naan bread.
Yield: 2 Servings

Indian Duck Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Indian duck curry, a hot and sour Indian inspired dish featuring a rosy pink duck breast with crispy spiced skin and wonderful rich and thick gravy.


  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • 35g (2.5cm or 1" cube) Tamarind
  • 35ml (2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Boiling Water
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Amchur
  • ½ Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 2 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Black Cardamom Pod
  • 35g Ginger (Thumb Sized Piece)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 225g (1 Cup) Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Jaggery
  • 175ml (¾ Cup) Water
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala


  1. Pour the boing water over the tamarind pulp and allow it to sit for 10 minutes then mash it and pass it through a fine mesh sieve.
  2. Mix together the turmeric, amchur, cumin, Kashmiri chilli powder and half of the salt.
  3. Take the duck breasts, trim them of any sinew and cut a 1cm (½") crosshatch or diamond pattern on the skin, then rub them with the spice mix.
  4. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a cold 30cm or 12" skillet or frying pan and then turn on the heat to a little below medium and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes. Do not be tempted to look for at least 6 minutes! The duck should slowly begin to leach fat and then begin to sizzle.
  5. Peel the ginger and grate it.
  6. Peel and mash the garlic cloves.
  7. Cut the green chillies in half lengthways.
  8. By now the duck should be nice and crispy, remove, and place on a chopping board and cover with foil.
  9. Drain all but a scant covering of oil from the pan and return it to a medium heat.
  10. Add the curry leaves, slit chillies, fennel seeds and cardamom pod and cook for 60 seconds.
  11. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
  12. Pour in the tomato passata and water, then add the tamarind, remaining salt, ground coriander, fenugreek leaves, jaggery and any remaining dry rub from the duck breasts.
  13. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
  14. Add the duck breasts, skin side up, then reduce the heat to low to medium and cook until the duck reaches your desired level of doneness, this could be anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I aim for 53-54°C or 127°F for a nice rare duck breast.
  15. Remove the duck and rest under foil for 5 minutes.
  16. Add the garam masala and test the sauce for salt and continue simmering for the resting time.
  17. Carve the duck and serve on top of the curry sauce.


Brushing a naan bread with the set aside duck fat is very very naughty and you absolutely must do it!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 679Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 327mgSodium: 1411mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 8gSugar: 22gProtein: 65g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated

Friday 24th of March 2017

Love the idea of serving this with minted peas. They'll be a great refreshing side dish to combat the spices!

Brian Jones

Sunday 26th of March 2017

That's the idea, they work so well... Peas get used much more often than people think in Indian food. ;)

Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy

Friday 24th of March 2017

First..I LOVE that is a winner. Second I have never seared cucumbers....or cooked them any way for that matter. Very interesting indeed. Love the flavours going on here.

Brian Jones

Sunday 26th of March 2017

Thanks Gloria, I love playing around with new ideas, the slight bitter ness from the char here works so well with the sweet minty peas and the flavour and cooling of cucumber is really classical in Indian food.

Lisa | Garlic & Zest

Friday 24th of March 2017

I've never made anything like this, but those flavors sound really inviting -- plus it's healthy-ish! I'm currently on a no carb (sob) diet, so this is exactly what my belly needs now!

Brian Jones

Sunday 26th of March 2017

Haha, I have no idea what it is like to be on a diet, life is way to short for that nonsense ;)

lindsay Cotter

Friday 24th of March 2017

haha fakeaway, love it! Great combo with the duck. we looooove duck! so fatty and flavorful, in the best possible way!

Brian Jones

Sunday 26th of March 2017

Fat definitely equals flavour when it comes to meat as far as I am concerned ;)


Friday 24th of March 2017

I have never had Seared Cucumber before but it sounds super good. I am going to try making it this way this weekend.

Brian Jones

Sunday 26th of March 2017

Enjoy, it just adds a slightly charred bitter note that plays perfectly of the sweet peas :)

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