Recipe – duck vindaloo
Apparently the Portuguese used pork, which for obvious reasons I have not tried. But the British liked duck. Not sure when and how the Sylhetis turned it into a beef dish, but I like duck.
Soak a dozen or so dried red chillies* in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and then grind using a mortar-pestle (yes, you can use a food processor, but I like mortar-pestle). Add a dozen or so black peppercorn, one teaspoon cumin seed, one tablespoon coriander seed, and half a teaspoon fennel seed to the grind. Once you’ve ground all that to a paste, add one tablespoon tamarind water and one tablespoon white vinegar. Keep grinding until the paste is very smooth.
Cut the bird into 2cm cubes. Place the cubes in a wide, flat dish and evenly coat with the paste. Scatter one decent sized cinnamon stick, three bay leaves, three star anise and six cloves. Stir really well. Set aside for at least an hour, longer if possible.
Fry couple of medium-sized onions, chopped, in four table spoons of mustard oil in a heavy based pan. Add the marinated bird cubes and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, for three minutes or so. Add water to barely cover, salt and jaggery to taste, cover, and cook in low heat until cubes are meltingly tender.
*Use more if you want to turn up the heat, keeping in mind that the spices interact in a non-linear way in this dish.