Celebrity Chef Thomas Zacharias Shares His Easy-Peasy Comfort Food Recipe

Curry bowls that bring tears of nostalgia to your eyes or gooey, chocolatey muffins that touch the heart—the celebrity gourmand shares what he eats when he needs a culinary hug. 

Ammini’s Duck Curry

Thomas Zacharias 
Executive Chef and Partner, 
The Bombay Canteen

“Growing up in Kochi, Kerala, food was an integral part of my upbringing, and my best memories include time spent in my ammini’s [grandmother] kitchen, learning how to cook and appreciate food with her. Christmas was that lovely time of the year when the entire family would get together at her home. Right after an entire morning spent opening gifts from under the Christmas tree, we would all sit together and relish the incredible festive spread. She would cook a whole bunch of our favourite dishes, and the dining table would be filled to the brim with all kinds of meat and seafood.
 My favourite of these dishes was her duck and potato curry, cooked with shallots, green chilli, vinegar and lots of black pepper. Being rich, unctuous and almost a luxury (duck is expensive!), this dish was reserved only for special occasions, and we would look forward to eating it each time. At The Bombay Canteen, we do a slightly refined version of it, where the flavour of the curry is still reminiscent of the original, along with egg appams on the side, to mop up the curry.”

Ammini’s Duck Curry


1.5kg duck meat (cut into small pieces), 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced), 1.5 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 2 cups onions (sliced), 2-3 green chillies (slit), 1 tbsp ginger (thinly sliced), 2 cups coconut milk, 2-3 potatoes (diced and boiled), salt and vinegar to taste.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil, and add the thinly sliced shallots. Fry till brown. Now add the ground masala, and sauté on low heat till it is cooked. Next, add the sliced onions, ginger, and green chillies, and sauté till translucent. Then, add the coconut milk, duck pieces, vinegar and salt, and continue cooking. When almost done, add the potatoes and adjust the seasoning with salt.