Skip to Content

Tamarind Duck Legs With Dates and Almonds

Tamarind duck legs, a delicious slowly cooked recipe with a bold sauce featuring dates, almonds, & the distinct flavour of tamarind.

As this dish is gently cooked in a sauce, I use skinless duck breasts to prevent the dish from becoming too greasy, which also makes it a little easier on the waistline too!

Tamarind duck leg with a date and almond sauce served with couscous.

Braised Duck Legs.

I love cooking and eating duck, it is an ingredient that many folk think is difficult to cook. But nothing could be further from the truth!

In many ways, it is much more forgiving to cook than chicken and I love it in everything from a classic duck with an orange sauce to more unusual dishes like my Thai duck curry or my duck and plum stir fry.

These slowly braised tamarind duck legs are a real favourite in our house.

It is a dish with a slight North African or Persian influence, a place where sweet and sour flavours are very much embraced in savoury food.

A classic and pretty traditional example of this is my fesenjan recipe a delicious walnut and pomegranate molasses stew.

When it comes to a flavour combination sweet and sour takes some beating for me. I use it in places you would expect like sweet and sour chicken, but also in salads, soups and stews.

Overhead tamarind duck leg with a date and almond sauce served with couscous.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Do I have to skin the duck legs?

No, you can leave the skin on, but it does get “flabby” in the cooking process and I do not find it pleasant to eat.

Removing the skin also removes a lot of fat from the recipe, now I love duck fat but here it does the dish no flavours.

I stick the duck skin in a pan and roast it alongside these duck legs to render off the fat. I save it to roast potatoes in or use it to make my toad in the hole recipe.

Can I use tamarind concentrate?

Yes, but you will need to be guided by the brand that you use. They are all different and if you use too much I find that it gives a recipe a metallic taste.

Most tend to be between 5-10 times concentrated so you will need 1-2 teaspoons, but start lower and taste as you go.

What is tomato passata?

Tomato passata is an Italian product of sieved tomatoes, it is gloriously smooth and is great for sauces. In the US something similar is called tomato puree, although watch out for added sugar and salt.

You can blend tinned tomatoes to get pretty close if you wish.

Close up tamarind duck leg with a date and almond sauce served with couscous.

Serving Suggestions.

I served these tamarind duck legs with a simple buttered couscous that I added a load of spring onions to.

It works just as well with some simply cooked bulgur wheat or even a tabouleh salad.

You can even serve it with rice. I personally think that it works wonderfully with nutty wholegrain brown rice.

But the sauce is also great with potatoes, regular old spuds or sweet potatoes.

I’ve served this with wedges, my fried potatoes and even with sweet potato fries and it has been great every time.

If you like your duck legs roasted check out my slow roast duck leg recipe.

Slow cooked tamarind duck leg with a date and almond sauce served with couscous.
Yield: 2 Servings

Tamarind Duck Legs Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Tamarind roast duck legs are slowly cooked in a rich date and sauce that rocks the whole sweet and sour vibe with a North African influence!


  • 2 Duck Legs
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
  • 1 Red Chilli Pepper
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Pitted Dates
  • 100ml (~½ Cup) Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp Dried Mint
  • 50g (1½" Cube) Tamarind Pulp
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Boiling Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp Honey
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Blanched Almonds
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Water


  1. Break up the cube of tamarind and then pour over the boiling water and allow to sit for 10 minutes mashing with a fork occasionally.
  2. Remove the skin from the duck legs, begin by cutting the skin around the "ankle" of each duck leg down to the bone.
  3. Slide your finger under some of the loose skin by the duck thigh and then pull the skin from the duck leg.
  4. Apply pressure with your thumbs to pop the knuckle from the bottom of the drumstick.
  5. Season the duck legs with half a teaspoon of salt and set aside.
  6. Press the tamarind through a fine-mesh sieve.
  7. Roughly chop the onion and chili and add them to a blender along with half of the dates and the tomato passata.
  8. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and dried mint and blend to a smooth paste.
  9. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cooking oil when the pan is hot.
  10. Add the paste to the pan and then cook for 5 minutes, before tasting and adding salt to your palate.
  11. Add in the tamarind paste, honey, the remaining dates that have been roughly chopped, and the blanched almonds.
  12. Stir in the half a cup of water.
  13. Add the duck legs to the pan and spoon over some of the sauce, add a tight-fitting lid and roast in the oven at 150°C or 300°F for 2 hours.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 890Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 1519mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 12gSugar: 53gProtein: 51g

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!


Monday 24th of December 2018

Okay, Brian, this looks good. I have never made Duck before but I'm really loving this. I guess it's time I give it a shot.

Brian Jones

Monday 24th of December 2018

Enjoy :)


Tuesday 11th of December 2018

I am always looking for low fat duck recipes - this is the one. I only have tamarind paste - how much should I use?

Brian Jones

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Hey Sandie... Ordinarily, I would scoff at removing the skin from duck but I think it is pretty important in this recipe otherwise you end up with something swimming in duck fat. I do save the skin and render it down in the oven though and use it for roasting veggies or for Yorkshire Puds.

I have done a little research and general concensus is that tamarind pasta should be used at the rate of somewhere between half and two thirds of the amount taken from freshly made tamarind from dried pulp.


Tuesday 4th of December 2018

I seem to be frequenting your site as I'm constantly lured in by the gorgeous photos and creative flavor combinations. Tamarind and dates sound amazing together, and I've never tried anything with the two. And "slow roast" is magic to my ears. I rarely cook with duck, so this will be a treat. Another beautiful recipe.

Brian Jones

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Thank you so much Valentina. Hopefully I can keep you on board ;) :D

Nathan Wyper

Monday 3rd of December 2018

Another Great recipe... I absolutely love roasted duck, I've never used tamarind with duck before but sure going to try it! looks delicious!

Brian Jones

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Thanks Nathan... Enjoy!

Sara | Belly Rumbles

Monday 3rd of December 2018

You had my attention with the pairing of duck and dates!

what I love about this recipe (besides the flavours) is that you remove the skin from the duck legs. Will be giving this a go for sure.

Brian Jones

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Thanks Sara, I would usually say that the removing of skin from a duck is sacrilegious, but when stewing down in a recipe like this leaving it on adds far too much duck fat to the final dish. I do save it and render it down for fat for roast potatoes though ;)

Skip to Recipe