Being born and brought up in a Bengali family in Assam, one thing that I am privileged to be my share of both Bengali and Assamese cuisines. Though both the cuisines have a lot of similarities just like the culture and traditions. Yet there are certain recipes which are quite distinct and bear unique identity. Just like in Assamese cuisines there are a lot of dishes made using “Tenga or Sour”, it can be tomato, elephant apple, etc. One such unique recipe is duck meat cooked with Ash Gourd (Kumura di hanhor mangxo). Ash gourd or chaal kumra as we call it in Bengali is used mostly in vegetarian dishes but it’s a game-changer when cooked with duck meat.
Duck meat cooked with Ash Gourd- A Popular Assamese Recipe
This recipe of duck meat cooked with Ash Gourd is quite special and is generally served on special occasions and festivities like Bihu. Generally Paati Hanh (type of mallard duck) is used in the preparation of this dish. The duck beat is best when taken from the month of October to April. During this time the ducks found are full of meat and tastes really good.
The preparation of duck meat with ash gourd is very simple and mostly follows the common procedure of cooking meat. But the most important step is the method used to process the meat before it is cut into pieces. At first, the whole duck along with the skin on is burnt on high flame. The feathers and any other impurities are completely removed.
This process is perfectly done by those who are quite expert in it and basically most of the duck meat sellers will sell you the meat only after the burning process is done. I tried to do it once with my husband but trust me it’s not my cup of tea. I suggest when you are buying duck meat ,ensure that the seller will sell you the processed meat. At least the feathers should be properly removed.
Next important ingredient for this recipe is Black Pepper or Jhaluk as called in Assamese. It will enhance the taste, flavour and black pepper are good for digestion too.
The main purpose behind using ash guard in the preparation is it helps in tenderizing the meat and also enhances the taste and flavour. Ash gourd is rich in fiber and has high water content and also helps for digestion. The more tender the ash gourd the tastier the curry gets. Basically ash gourd doesn’t have much of a taste of its own, so when cooked with lots of pepper it gets its own taste and flavour.
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Let’s look into the quick recipe. The recipe of duck meat cooked with ash gourd is very simple and is the basic one which we follow for cooking other meat like chicken and mutton.
For the ingredients, you shall require-
- Duck meat about (500 gms) processed and chopped into small piece
- 10-12 pieces of diced ash gourd
- 2 table-spoon powdered / coarsely crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder, 1/2 table-spoon chilly powder, 1 table-spoon Jeera powder
- (we won’t use much red chilly powder as we are already using a good amount of black pepper)
- 1-2 bay leaf
- Cumin seeds
- 2 cloves
- 1-2 green chopped chillies
- one big sized chopped onion
- chopped garlic and ginger ( a small portion)
- Ginger- garlic paste for marination
- 1 Tea-Spoon Garam masala powder
- salt to taste
- Mustard Oil for cooking
Preparation time is 20 minutes and Cooking time is 30-45minutes if cooked on low flame. I like my meat cooked on low flame. Serving- 2 person.
For marination wash the meat properly, marinate the meat with one tablespoon turmeric powder, one and a half table-spoon chilly powder, 1 table-spoon Jeera/cumin powder, one table-spoon pepper powder or crushed pepper, one tea-spoon ginger garlic paste, one bay leaf, two table-spoon mustard oil, salt to taste. Give all the ingredients a good mix and set it aside for 15-20 minutes.
Method for preparing the ash gourd with duck meat
Heat a wok (Kadai) and pour around 3-4 tablespoon of Mustard oil. Let the oil heat gently. In case your meat has a good amount of fat lessen the quantity of oil as while cooking the meat it shall release a lot of oil. Put some cumin seeds, one bay leaf, green chillies, one clove. Then put the chopped onions and chopped ginger-garlic (a very small amount) and fry it all for some time till the onion turns golden brown. Make sure the onions don’t get over fried in the process.
Then pour the marinated duck meat and mix all the ingredients properly. Pour another tablespoon of pepper powder. Set the flame high and cook for some time. After 10-15 minutes cover the wok and let it cook on low flame for another 5 minutes. You will see the meat has started releasing a lot of water and oil. Again cook for about 5 minutes.
Now put the dices ash gourd pieces and give a nice mix to all the ingredients in the wok. Cover the wok with a lid and as I have mentioned I like my meat cooked on low flame. Occasionally remove the lid and give a mix else the masalas will get stick in the bottom of the wok.
After around 15 minutes the water will start reducing and the ash gourd would be cooked properly. You will get a nice aroma of pepper and duck meat which is itself quite arose your appetite. Keep the gravy as per your requirement.
Check the amount of salt. Generally my family loves to enjoy the duck meat with less gravy, basically the kosha style Bengali mutton curry. Though I don’t recommend to keep it too much dried but rather keep a considerate amount of gravy.
Duck meat tastes best with steamed white rice and a dash of lemon and green chilly. Since the amount of cooking time is little higher I prefer cooking duck meat on Sundays or holidays. A delicacy like duck meat must be enjoyed with our family and loved ones on those special days.
Hope you have liked the recipe. Share with your friends and let me know if you have prepared following this recipe at home.
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