About this recipe:One of the courtly dishes of the Mughals, do-piaza combines onions and tomatoes with their fave spices as a foil for rich duck. Try serving with plain boiled long-grain rice or mirchi parathas.
500 g onions
700 g duck breasts
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 bay leaves, crumbled
4 green cardamom pods, split open at the top
5 cm (2 in) cinnamon stick, broken in half
½ - 1 teaspoon degi mirch
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic purée, or crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ginger purée, or grated ginger
1 teaspoon mirchi powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
125 g chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
To garnish: chopped fresh coriander, sliced cucumber and red onion
Peel and roughly chop half the onions and put them in a saucepan with 250 ml of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Purée them in a food processor or with a hand-held mixer and set them aside.
Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining onions. Remove the skin and fat from the duck breasts, then cut the flesh into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat and fry the duck cubes for 4 minutes, or until they just start to turn brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Take the pan off the heat so that the oil cools a little. Add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves and let them sizzle gently for 15-20 seconds. Return the pan to the heat, add the chopped onions and fry them, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes, or until they have softened and browned.
Stir in the cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, paprika and turmeric and cook for 1 minute. Then stir in the puréed onions, increase the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and continue to cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes. Then return the browned duck to the pan and add 175 ml of water. Cover, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, checking occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
Add salt to taste, cover and continue to cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the duck is tender and has absorbed the flavours of the sauce. Then increase the heat slightly and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken the sauce.
Add the garam masala and chopped coriander, simmer for 1 minute then serve garnished with coriander and slices of cucumber and onion.