Duck Leg  Biryani 

Not long after I made the Keralan Style Mutton Biryani, I adapted the recipe for this version and it worked particularly well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Duck Leg Biryani 
Ingredients :
Biryani masala blend
Cinnamon sticks 2
Cardamom green 8
Cardamom black: 2
Cloves: 6
Caraway seeds : 1 tsp
Fennel seeds : 1 tsp
Bay Leaves : 1
Star Anise : 1
Nutmeg 1/2
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Mace : 4
Duck legs 4
Biryani masala : 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
250g green beans
Masala sauce
Onion 4 thinly sliced
Tomatoes : 3 chopped
Green chillies 4 chopped
Ginger paste 2 tbsp
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Biryani masala : 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil: 2 tbsp
long grain rice 2 cups
Cloves 4
Cardamom, green 4
Cinnamon stick 1
Bay leaves : 1
Salt to taste
Cashew nuts
2 large onions, thinly sliced and fried till crisp
Coriander 1 small handful, chopped
Saffron 1 pinch

Start by heating a heavy based dry frying pan, add all biryani masala spice blend and gently roast until the spice aroma has developed. Remove the spices from the heat, place in a heavy-duty spice grinder and grind to a fine blend.

Prepare the duck legs by removing the skin and sprinkling 1 tablespoon of biryani masala blend and season with salt. heat some coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan and brown the duck legs. remove froth pan and keep to one side.

Make the Masala sauce in the heavy based pan, which has a tight fitting lid you will need this later; add the cashew nuts and fry until golden, remove and keep to one side. Add the sliced onions and fry until soft and golden, add the ginger, garlic and chilies, fry until browned. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook down, add a splash of water to stop the sauce from sticking. Add the remaining masala spices, season with salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Now add the browned duck legs and half of the chopped herbs to the masala sauce and combine, add another splash of water if the mixture look dry. Cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes adding a little water from time to time to reduce the risk of the masala sauce sticking.

Pre heat the oven to 180c

While the duck legs are cooking prepare the rice, first wash the rice and drain. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan; add the rice spices to the oil and temper. Add the drained rice to the spices with 4 cups of water and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes, you do not want the rice be fully cooked, drain and place to one side.

Place a pinch of saffron in a 1/4-cup of warm water and leave to infuse.

Once the duck legs are ready, place the green beans on top of the masala sauce and half the rice, layer with the chopped herbs, fried onions and cashew nuts, and then the remaining rice. Garnish the very top with fried onions.

Pour over the saffron water, replace the lid and cook for a further 25 minutes.


Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

This post started with a long trip to the island of Mauritius, where my late father was born and where I had not been for 30 years. Mauritius for those that don’t know is a very small but wonderful tropical island in the Indian Ocean, with. a wealth of cultural influences from African, Indian and Chinese, which  create a fantastic island vibe of colours, flavours and traditions known as Creole.

The image below shows one of the first views of the island as you fly in, the cove is Grand Baie in the north, which is next to our family favourite beach of Pereybere. I remember the first time I visited the island and saw the view from the plane,  the vivid blue green from the sea blew me away even at the age of 13. I was relieved when I returned that the view was just as impressive and the colours were still as fresh as the ones in my memory.

View from the sky Grand Baie, Mauritius – no photo editing

While visiting the Island my husband and I caught up with some of the family, who are still living in Post Louis. The visit was great as we got to see the family home and catch up on family chat, plus we  meet a new addition to the Ah-Fat family,  I wonder if you can guess which one.


We ended up going out for dinner with the cousins at their favourite Chinese restaurant, which was amazing and they had chosen a really special menu for the evening. After dinner we drove past the family shop “Magasin Ah-Fat” which has the largest sign ever !!!! Apparently there was a large sign but Uncle thought it would fall down and hit someone, so it  was removed and the small sign left. No wonder I couldn’t find the shop when I went looking for it on my own, I even walked passed it. The shop has been established for 50 + years and is going strong, originally selling all types of sports equipment and re stringing rackets by hand themselves, now the shop just specialises in  fishing tackle and is well know on the island. You can find the shop next to the main entrance by the Alooda stall in the Market (I highly recommend the Alooda if you are there).

Me  finally at Magasin Ah-Fat , Port Louis, Mauritius 

When I was talking with the cousins about not having dad’s recipes,  it transpired they had the recipe of my dad’s Peking Duck.  I though this recipe had been lost forever, as  my sister and I did not get my dad to write down any of his dishes before he died  and something we regret not doing. My dad was famed for this recipe and one that I had seen prepared in various stages but not prepared myself. It was a memorable process as Dad always prepared the duck by hanging it to dry in the garage and the a mount of times I walked into the duck without paying much attention in the dark was countless, not brilliant as at the time I was a veggie, you can just imagine the grumbles.  I was so pleased to have this recipe given to me, it has been 14 years since my dad died and it just feels like I’ve been given a little gift to remind myself that my dad is still around.

My dad  back in the 80’s – Dr. Lim Niam Chow Ah-fat aka Patrick Ah-fat

Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

Prep time: 24hrs

Cooking time: 1hr

 Serves 3-4


  • 1 x 1.3kg Duck, whole
  • 1 tbsp salt, to rub onto the duck

Spice rub:

  • 1 heaped tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Duck glaze:

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rum, I used green island spice rum
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of yellow food colouring


Place the duck on a rack over a roasting tin and prick the skin with a sharp knife, this will allow the fat to leech out during the cooking process.

The duck

Pour three kettles of boiling water over the duck, this will tighten the skin and start to render the fat, discard the water each time.

Tightening the duck skin with boiling water

Drain the duck and pat dry with some kitchen roll.

Mix the five spice powder and 1tsp salt in pan and heat lightly over low flame, once the aroma starts  remove from the heat.

Rub the cavity of the duck with the spice rub and seal up the cavity with a cocktail stick.

Now to make the glaze, I used Green Island spiced rum and brown sugar I brought back from Mauritius as a nod to my dad.

Green Island rum 

In a small saucepan mix the water, vinegar, honey, rum, sugar and food colouring, bring to boil. Remove glaze from heat and pour over duck.

Glazing the duck

Collect the glaze and place back in the saucepan, boil again and pour over duck. Then throw away the remaining glaze.

Rub salt all over duck, hang and leave to dry overnight. I did this in my fridge as it was too warn to hang in the utility.


Remove the duck from where it is hanging, place on a rack over a roasting tray and pat try with some kitchen roll to remove any moisture sitting on the skin.

Pre heat the oven to 180c fan, cook for 30 mins on side make sure each is a deep brown.

Ta Da the roasted duck.

Leave the duck to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and remember to pour over the juices.

Serve with rice pancakes, hoisin, sauce, spring onions, carrots and cucumber.

I also served the duck with rice, and a chilli and garlic stir fry kale with black sesame seeds. don’t forget to pour the duck gravy over your rice.

I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy as much as I did. I can also confirm that I did  my dad’s recipe justice. The duck’s spicing was just right, the skin was tasty and the meat was moist and succulent.

Happy eating.