Whether it is a whole-roasted bird for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or simply ringing in a festive occasion with delicious duck curry and appams, both – turkey and duck meats have been associated with celebrating through food.
Both, turkey and duck offer a different flavour profile compared to other meats. Their unique tastes make them a special treat for special occasions, adding variety to the menu. Being larger birds makes them suitable for serving a larger number of guests at gatherings and celebrations. The presentation of a whole roasted turkey or duck can be quite impressive, making it a centrepiece for special meals.
In many ancient cultures, turkey and duck have become traditional choices for special occasions. For example, in the United States, turkey is a staple of Thanksgiving dinners, while duck is often enjoyed during festive occasions in many countries. In India, duck and turkey continue to be enjoyed in many ways across the country including states such as Tamil Nadu, parts of North-eastern India and Kerala amongst others.
Often associated with celebrations and abundance – turkey, for instance, has become a symbol of Thanksgiving, a holiday that revolves around gratitude and sharing. Ducks are considered to be lucky in some cultures while also being symbolic with prosperity, making them a popular choice for celebrations. Both poultry meats can be prepared in a wide variety of ways, from roasting to grilling to smoking. The bland flavours of turkey, can in fact, be adapted to suit a variety of Indian preparations like the Rajasthani laal maas or even as a lean meat to enjoy in a slow-cooked curry. On the other hand, the rich, fatty flavours of duck meat enable it to feature in curries like the East Indian Moilee or even a coconutty Madras Curry.
The East Indian community inhabiting Mumbai – an ethnic group of Christians, have borrowed from various cultural influences that occupied then Bombay, and hence, duck has been part of their traditional treasure trove of recipes for decades.
Here is a recipe for a traditional-style East Indian Duck Moilee to recreate at home: