So, it’s a classic Trinidadian favourite for lunch today; curried duck and dhalpuri. Initially I did not want to do two curries in a row on the blog, but since this was on the lunch menu today, I thought I might as well kill 2 birds with one stone.
Now let’s start with the dhalpuri, shall we?!
- 2 lbs split peas/dhal
- 1 teaspoon saffron/turmeric powder
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chadon beni/cilantro
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- 2 teaspoon ground geera/cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
Let me start off by saying, if you have a mill like your grandparents or parents used, let this be your primary utensil for grinding the dhal and the other ingredients. Nothing beats dhalpuri made this way in my humble opinion. If you don’t however, fear not as modern technology has come to our rescue. A good old food processor will do.
- Boil the dhal in water for about 20 to 30 minutes until tender, drain, and set aside, allowing it time to cool.
- Grind the cooked dhal until it is almost the consistency of powder. You want to get this as smooth as possible.
- Remove from food processor.
- In a bowl, combine the dhal and all other ingredients together and set aside.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1.5 cups water (approximately)
- Combine all the dry ingredients together.
- Add the water, and knead into a dough. You may need to add more water as you go along. You want the consistency of your dough to be firm, but not tough.
- Allow your dough to rest for about 25 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces, forming each piece into the shape of a ball as you go along.
- Flatten out each piece and place in the palm of your hand, making a cup shape with your hand, so that the dough itself has a well in the middle.
- In the centre place about 2 tablespoons of the dhal filling.
- Enclose the flour casing around the filling and pinch to seal at the top, so that it again forms the shape of a ball.
The above steps take some practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right on the first try.
Cooking the Dhalpuri:
For this step we need:
- A tawa
- A rolling pin
- Vegetable oil
- A pastry brush
- Using the rolling pin, roll out each of the dhal filled doughs into about a 9-10 inch circle.
- Place the tawa onto the stove on a medium high heat and allow to heat up.
- Brush some oil onto the hot tawa.
- Add the rolled out doh onto the tawa, allowing it to cook for about 30 seconds, then flip it to the other side using a spatula.
- Brush the side facing up with oil and flip it again, so that the oiled side in now facing down on the tawa, and allow to cook for 35-45 seconds.
- Brush the remaining side with oil, flip it again and allow it to cook for a further 35-45 seconds.
- Remove from the tawa and allow it to cool on some paper towels.
- Repeat the process for each piece of dough.
- 4 pounds duck – plucked, roasted, cleaned out, washed and cut into 2 inch pieces.
- 1 onion – sliced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- 4 pimiento peppers – chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chandon beni/cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon whole geera/cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground geera
- 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons amchar masala
- ½ tablespoon salt or salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ¼ cups water
- Season the duck with the salt, crushed garlic, chives, pepper and chadon beni, and allow it to marinate for a few hours.
- In a pot, over medium heat, add the oil and it allow to heat up.
- Add the whole geera and allow it to fry for one minute, so that it flavours the oil.
- Add the curry powder, ground geera, and amchar masala.
- Add quarter cup of water and cook the curry mixture until all the water has evaporated and the paste has become “grain-like” in texture. This step is to ensure that the curry is thoroughly cooked, so that you don’t get the “green” flavour that no one likes.
- Add the duck and turn the heat down. Cover the pot, as this will allow the duck to spring its own juices.
- When this juice is almost dried out, add the onions and pimientos and allow it to cook for one more minute.
- When all the liquid is dried, add the two cups of water allow it to cook until the meat is tender.
- The remaining gravy can be left to your discretion.
Note: After the duck is plucked, it is recommended that the skin is roasted over an open flame. This serves the dual purpose of giving the duck a better flavour, and removing any excess feathers that may have been missed during the plucking stage. Happy cooking!