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When it comes to designing a new restaurant dish, the trend seems to be to take an ingredient that is internationally known and then to coat it with local flavours to bring it a more homely feel.

“This is what I have tried to accomplish with Tanda Tula‘s new stuffed duck recipe. I like to use duck hind quarters because I think they have more earthy, strong flavours than can be found in a duck breast. Add to this the fact I love to incorporate dried fruit with poultry and voila; I ended up with dates. The cashew nuts add a bit of crunch to the mix and the ginger brings it all together with a fresh, more oriental feel. The sauce to finish everything off was a bit of a tough one. I wanted to ground the dish with something that screams ‘South African’, so the typical duck jus was not going to cut the mustard. So I settled on the Chakalaka. It’s tomato, curry spiciness compliments the duck’s date and ginger sweetness, without overpowering it. On top of this, it also rounds off the pap quite nicely and there you have it, Duck stuffed with dates and cashew nuts, served with Chakalaka.” says Ryan Mullet, the head chef at Tanda Tula Safari Camp.

Here is his recipe:


Duck hind quarters stuffed with dates and cashew nuts, served with buttermilk pap and chakalaka


Hind quarters:

• 4 duck hind quarters

• 60g dates (soaked in hot water)

• 50g cashew nuts

• 75g chicken breast

• 10g fresh ginger

• 4 cloves fresh garlic

• salt and pepper to taste

Chakalaka sauce:

• 1 medium onion

• 2 medium tomatoes

• 2 carrots

• 1 medium capsicum green pepper

• ½ cup green beans

• 4 cloves fresh garlic

• 5g fresh ginger

• 10ml curry powder

• 5ml paprika

• 15ml tomato paste

• salt and pepper to taste

Buttermilk pap:

• 250ml buttermilk

• 250ml fresh full cream milk

• 250ml mielie meal


1. Preheat oven to 150°C

2. Chop the dates, cashew nuts and chicken breast into small dice and mix together in a bowl along with the garlic and the ginger. Season to taste (grate the garlic and the ginger on the small raspier on a cheese grater).

3. Debone the thigh part of the duck hind quarter. To do this, cut along and around the thigh bone and then cut through the cartilage between the thigh and the drumstick. Leave the drumstick bone intact. Cut off the knob on the top of the drumstick.

4. On a piece of plastic wrap, lay out the duck hind quarter. Stuff the filling into the hole created from the thigh bone and roll up in the plastic.

5. Place in a deep baking tray along with 1 cup of water and the duck thigh bones. Wrap the top of the tray with tinfoil and bake for about 1 hour.

6. Allow the duck to rest for 2 minutes before removing the plastic

7. To make the Chakalaka sauce:

a. Dice the onion, tomato and green pepper and place in a saucepan. Grate the carrots and add to the onions.

b. Fry over medium heat until the onions go clear in colour.

c. Add the curry powder and paprika and continue frying for a further 10 minutes. You want to smell the aroma of the curry.

d. Add the tomato paste, green beans and 1 cup of water, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off.

8. To make the pap:

a. Bring the buttermilk and the milk to a boil in a deep saucepan. (Do not worry, the milk will look like it has split)

b. Slowly stir in the Mielie meal until the milk has thickened.

c. Simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on

9. To plate:

a. Place a portion of pap in the center of the plate and pour some Chakalaka over the top.

b. Slice the thigh part of the hind quarter and arrange around the pap.

c. Spoon some of the duck stock (from the roasting pan that the duck and bones were cooked in) over the duck.

d. Serve immediately.


Chef’s tips:

  • Be sure to time the cooking of the duck so that it goes from oven to plate quickly to prevent the duck from getting cold and going tough. 
  • If you are worried about deboning the duck, ask your local butcher to debone it for you. Just tell him how you want it and he will be sure to help you.
  • The duck filling is flexible so if you don’t like nuts, or cannot eat nuts, you can substitute with another ingredient such as mushrooms, spring onions, apples etc. Just try to keep it local!

View other recipes from Tanda Tula here.

Tanda Tula

Located in the Timbavati Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park. Tanda Tula Safari Camp features 12 luxury tents nestled in riverine forest overlooking a riverbed while the Tanda Tula Field Camp is an exclusive use 4 tented walking safari camp, modelled on the early explorer camps with modern comfort. The Tanda Tula camps are owner-managed.