Duck Mappas/ Kuttanadan Tharavu Mappas/ Duck Stew
Duck Mappas/ Tharavu Mappas is a classic Christian delicacy enjoyed during Easter and Christmas in Kerala. This Duck Mappas is a Kuttanadan speciality- a beautiful land, a famous tourist destination in Kerala, blessed with lush green paddy fields, scenic backwaters, magnificent houseboats, exhilarating boat races and amazing seafood cuisine. I am truly blessed to be part of that heritage by marriage and enjoy my boat rides, variety cuisine and comforting time by the backwaters. My darling mom-in-law is a wonderful cook and I have already posted several of her Kuttanadan recipes.
This succulent Duck Mappas is prepared in a spicy gravy, rich in flavours. In Kerala Christian homes, Duck Mappas is prepared and served on all special occasions like Easter, Christmas and Christian weddings. Mappas is like stew; the name Mappas is presumed to be derived from the Portuguese word “Pappas”, which means Potato. Earlier, Potatoes were added to the duck curry prepared in a rich, creamy coconut milk gravy. In this recipe, I have not added Potatoes, although back home, mummy adds potatoes sometimes and serves with Appam for Easter/ Christmas breakfast.
Duck Cooking Tips and Health facts:
Nadan Tharavu or Country duck is ideal for Duck Mappas as it is tastier, even though the duck meat may be harder. You can also use broiler duck which is fleshier than the country duck. If it is kept out of water for long, the duck might turn smelly and to remove the smell, dressed duck is washed with turmeric and vinegar.
Duck is usually cooked with skin-on, and takes longer time to cook than chicken. Cooking with skin helps to hydrate the meat as it contains a lot of fat. Although, Duck fat is healthy (Yes, it helps to lower LDL Cholestrol, as it contains monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats which are good for the heart), I remove some of the fat halfway, as the flavours intensify with less fat in the curry.
Authentic duck cooking style is cooking in earthen kadai or pans, but it takes almost 45 minutes of cooking time. If you are not patient enough, I suggest you use the pressure cooker and cook the duck meat for 3 – 4 whistles on slow flame. I have followed the traditional way and cooked my Duck Mappas in Kadai to give that authentic feel. It required constant stirring every 10 minutes but, in the end, the meat was succulent and flavorful!
Check my other Mappas specials like Karimeen Mappas, Vendakka Mappas, Kadachakka Mappas etc. You will love the special blend of spices for each dish that makes it extremely appealing. Egg curry with Potatoes, Duck Roast, Nadan chicken curry with potatoes, Alleppey Fish curry, Beef fry, Mathi peera, Ayala curry with Mangoes, Squid fry, Prawns roast etc. are all popular dishes from the region. Check my other exotic festive recipes for Mutton, Chicken, Seafood and variety Biryani/ Bread/Rice, Cakes, wine etc.
Family and friends make the festive season more special; nothing is more enjoyable than having hearty meals with your loved ones and spreading the cheer. Hope you will try this Christmas special recipe for Kuttanadan Duck Mappas. Please watch the video, subscribe to my channel, and share with your friends and family. God bless you all abundantly. Merry Christmas!
- Duck meat requires longer cooking time. Around 45 minutes in an open pan or 3 – 4 whistles in a pressure cooker.
- Duck is cooked with skin on for better results. Duck Fat is healthier and helps to reduce LDL Cholestrol.
- Remove excess fat from the curry for better absorption of flavours and taste.
- Use freshly squeezed coconut milk for better results.
Ingredients for Marination:
: 1.250 kg
: 1 ½ tsp
: 1 tsp
Black Pepper (whole)
: 1 tsp
: 1 ½ tbsp.
: 2-inch piece
: 4 nos
: 4 nos
: 1 no.
: 2 nos. (thinly sliced)
: 15 cloves (crushed)
: 1 ½ inch piece (crushed)
: 6 – 8 nos
: 1 ½ tbsp
Black Pepper (whole)
: 2 tsp
Fennel/ Perumjeera Powder
: 1 tsp
: 1 tsp
: few leaves
Coconut milk (thin)
: 1 ½ cup
Coconut milk (thick)
: 1 cup
: to taste
: 1 ½ tbsp
Ingredients for Garnishing:
: 2 tsp
Shallots/ Small Onions
: 4 – 5 nos sliced
: ½ tsp
- Clean and dry the duck pieces (with skin). Wash in turmeric and vinegar water to get rid of smell if any.
- Marinate duck with salt, turmeric powder, pepper powder, and vinegar. Mix well and keep aside for 1 hour.
- Crush Cardamom and cloves.
- Slice Onions and crush green chilli, Garlic and ginger.
- Heat a pan.
- Pour Coconut oil and add the whole masala- cinnamon, Star Anise, crushed cardamom and cloves. Let the oil absorb the spice flavours.
- Put curry leaves. Next, add onions and sauté till transparent.
- Add crushed ginger and fry followed by crushed garlic.
- Next, add crushed Green chillies. Fry well till the raw smell goes.
- Now, add Coriander powder, Pepper powder, Turmeric powder, Perumjeerah powder and fry for two minutes.
- Pour little water to fry the masala. (Do not add more oil as the duck has fat. Water helps to fry the masala without burning). Add more water and fry for few minutes.
- Then, add the marinated duck and mix well to coat the masala. Add ¼ cup water and mix well. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and cook for around 30 minutes. Stir in between. The duck meat will release water. Let it cook well.
- After half hour the water will dry up and you will be able to see the clear fat.
- If there is excess fat, it is advisable to remove some of it to enhance flavours. Meat will absorb the flavours more.
- Add thin Coconut milk in batches to the pan and combine well. Adjust salt and vinegar to taste.
- Cover and cook till duck meat is softer and well done.
- Pour the thick coconut milk and mix well. Switch off the flame.
- Add ½ tsp ground Cardamom to the gravy and mix well.
- For garnishing, heat coconut oil in a pan and fry curry leaves and small onion till golden brown. Add cashew nuts and fry.
- Pour this to the duck gravy and mix well.
Serve Duck Mappas with Idiyappam, Vellayappam, Appam or Bread and enjoy with family and friends.
- Adjust the chilies and other spices according to your spice tolerance level.
- Coconut oil should be used for the best flavours. Coconut oil gives the traditional authentic taste and is good for health.
- If you are using a Pressure cooker, cook for just three whistles and wait till the entire pressure is released.
- Remove excess fat to intensify the flavours.
- You may add cubed potatoes along with duck if you prefer.
- Tharavu Roast is best served with Appam, Idiyappam, Vellayappam etc.
- Fresh Coconut milk gives best results than store bought ones.
- You can use freshly ground pepper for more flavours
- Just warm slightly before serving.
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