burmese duck and potato curry : hsa*ba, myanmar cookbook

burmese duck and potato curry

The slow-cooking of the onion, garlic and chilli paste give this Burmese duck and potato curry a distinct flavour. Duck and potato are my favourite combination but it works equally well with chicken or just vegetables.


¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ medium-sized duck, cut into 3cm chunks
4 small waxy potatoes, peeled & cut into halves
1 large onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 whole dried chillies, soaked in hot water
½ teaspoon paprika
125ml peanut oil
150ml water


Put the ground turmeric, salt and fish sauce in a bowl. Add the duck and toss in the marinade. Leave covered in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the onion paste. Put the onion, garlic and dried chillies in a pestle and mortar. Pound to a coarse paste. It definitely makes a difference to the taste of the gravy if you use a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have one, just chop everything finely.

In a wok or saucepan, heat the oil. First fry the potatoes over high heat, turning regularly, for 2-3 minutes until they are just taking on colour. Remove from the oil and leave to one side. Next add the duck to the oil and let the meat brown slightly all over. Again remove from the oil and set aside.

In the remaining oil, cook the onion paste over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes. It may seem like a lot of oil but it’s important not to skimp here. If there is not enough oil, it will burn the onions and make the gravy bitter. Keep a close eye and stir frequently. When the mixture has caramelised and turned reddish brown, add the paprika and stir until fragrant.

Return the potatoes and the duck to the pan, give it a quick stir then add the water. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes, occasionally stirring the mixture until the meat is tender. It is ready when the liquid has reduced and the oil has separated from the gravy.

serves: 2
cooking time: 60-85 mins


  1. Hillary on February 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I’ve only eaten duck twice in my life but this looks outstanding. Would love to try it!

  2. mike on March 30, 2009 at 3:14 am

    I love duck, and I love curry, but I’ve never tried making a duck curry. Looks great!

  3. hlaing on October 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I cooked duck curry yesterday. I added some tamarind juice. The meat came out very tender and it’s taste was excellent.
    Thank for the recipe.

  4. Vicky on April 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This is an amazing dish. I’ve cooked it a number of times and it’s always good. I love it for it’s simplicity, very few ingredients but great flavour. It just takes a bit of time to make- well worth it though.

  5. David on June 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Would this go down well with other meats eg chicken, pork? I’m going to try it soon.

    • Cho on July 15, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Hi David
      Absolutely, you can use any other meat. It’s a great base recipe and you can vary it by adding a little cumin or ground coriander.
      – Cho

  6. Peter M on October 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Yesterday I went to a Burmese restaurant, had the most wonderful meal ever! (and I’ve eaten in many wonderful places around the globe). The owner of that restaurant recommended you book to me – I am passionate and excited to buy it and USE IT. Congratulations on a wonderful book and fantastic recipes, your contribution is amazing.

  7. Graham on August 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    This was absolutely wonderful Cho! The duck was so tender and as you said, the slow-cooking of the curry paste released the flavours so well. I also cooked the Tamarind Pork recipe, which was so juicy and delicious. I lived in south-east Asia for three years, and I love food like this. I was just wondering, if I wanted to cook a really traditional and authentic Burmese dish, like the national dish, what would that be? Thanks