Bebek cabe hijau is a dish inspired by itiak lado mudo, a specialty from Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatera. I was craving for a Padang-style duck curry, but I didn’t want to go out because of the spike in Covid-19 cases. To satisfy my craving, I cooked a lighter and less intense version of bebek cabe hijau, compared to what you get at Padang restaurants.
Bebek cabe hijau means “duck in green chilli”. As the name implies, the dish is literally made of duck cooked in tons of green chillies. A huge amount of freshly-ground green chillies is used, draping the duck like a green, juicy blanket when served. You can hardly see the succulent meat beneath it.
Compared to other types of chillies commonly found in Indonesian cooking, green chilli is pretty mild. It’s often used as a main spice for both meat and plant-based proteins. Green chilli gives a distinctive flavour to the dish and it’s not that spicy, making it palatable.
For this recipe, I used 100 gr fresh curly green chillies, which is more than enough to deliciously flavour the dish. It doesn’t quite produce enough chilli sauce to create a beautiful green blanket over the meat. The dish is lusciously complex. The onion lends sweetness and the whole array of spices and herbs embellish the duck with flavours and fragrance.
Boiling the duck
For me, the trickiest part of cooking this dish was the boiling duck. Different kinds of duck require different boiling times. Sometimes it’s hard to identify what kind of duck you’re handling as it’s not always stated in the packaging. Free range and old ducks tend to need longer cooking times, as the meat is tougher. I would suggest testing the doneness after 45 minutes of boiling. The duck doesn’t need to be boiled until tender, as the cooking process will continue on to the next stage. The boiling part is a process to remove the odor from the duck meat, and we don’t want to over or under cook it.Print
Bebek cabe hijau is a Padang dish that’s also known as itiak lado mudo. Here, the duck is boiled and subsequently stir-fried in a paste of green chillies, shallots, garlic, and other spices.
- 1 duck (weighing around 1 kg), cut into 8–10 pieces
- 1 lime/lemon, extract the juice
- 0.5 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 turmeric leaf (optional)
- 1 cm fresh turmeric (optional)
- 4 cm fresh ginger, peeled, bruised
- 4 cm galangal, peeled, bruised
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam)
- 1.5 lt water
- 100 gr curly green chillies (or big green chillies), remove the stalk, chopped
- 8 shallots, peeled, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
- 4 candlenuts, chopped
- 1 onion, peeled, sliced
- 2 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 3 cardamoms
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- Rinse the duck meat thoroughly, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt, white pepper powder and the lime/lemon juice. Rub thoroughly all over the meat and marinate it for around 15 minutes.
- When time’s up, rinse the duck meat all over again until it’s really clean.
- Place the meat in a cooking pot, add the water, salt, turmeric leaf, turmeric, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and daun salam.
- Heat over medium high flames until it boils, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pot and boil the duck for about 45 mnts to 1 hour (depending on the meat). Skim the scum regularly to avoid an unpleasant taste, and add hot water if necessary.
- Using a blender or food processor, blend into a fine paste: green chillies, shallots, garlic and candlenuts.
- In a wok or non-stick cooking pot, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat and fry the onion until fragrant, around 4 minutes.
- Add the cloves, star anise and cardamoms. Fry for another 2 minutes.
- Add the spice paste and fry for around 4 – 5 minutes until it smells fragrant and nicely cooked.
- Add the duck meat (and all the herbs inside, optional) and ladle some of the broth to the duck spice mix (around 300 ml).
- Adjust the seasoning.
- Cook further until the liquids are evaporated and the meats are tender, around 15-20 minutes.
- If the liquid has evaporated, but the meat is still tough, add a little bit more broth.
- When the meat is tender and the oil is separated forming a shinny green chilli gravy, the duck is done.
- Transfer the dish onto a serving plate and enjoy!
- The amount of green chillies can be reduced or added, according to your preference.
Keywords: Spicy, candlenuts, star anise, cardamom