A classic Balinese ceremonial dish that’s easy enough to cook in your barbecue. It’s full of flavour and incredibly moist. Thanks to Tjok Gde, a prince of the Balinese royal family, for the recipe. Serve with rice, steamed snake beans or Chinese greens, and a hot sambal.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (110 votes)


  • 1 duck (preferably free-range and organic, just like Balinese ducks) 
  • 1 cm-piece fresh turmeric, sliced
  • 200 g spinach leaves, blanched and roughly shredded 
  • 1 cinnamon stick or piece of cassia bark
  • 1 roll of banana leaves (optional) 

Seasoning paste

  • 10 shallots or 2 medium onions, chopped 
  • cloves from 1 head of garlic 
  • 4 candlenuts, crushed 
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste, roasted 
  • 1 cm-piece galangal
  • 1 cm-piece ginger
  • 1 cm-piece fresh turmeric 
  • 3 red chillies, roughly chopped (optional) 
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves discarded, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp grated palm sugar 
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed 
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed 
  • 3 tbsp lime juice 
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced 
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil 
  • 2 tbsp water 
  • 3 tsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat a barbecue with a hood (a Weber is ideal). Alternatively preheat the oven to 160°C. Wash the duck inside and out in a bowl of water infused with the turmeric.

Place the seasoning paste ingredients in a blender and blend to a chunky paste.

Combine half of the paste with the spinach leaves and set aside. Rub the remaining paste over the duck inside and out. Stuff the cavity of the duck with the spinach mixture and the cinnamon stick or cassia bark. Wrap the duck well in banana leaves or foil. Whether using leaves or foil, wrap the parcel in a final layer of foil. Place the parcel on an oven tray.

Cook the duck in the barbecue for 4 hours. Alternatively cook it in the oven for 2 hours, then turn down the temperature to 120°C and cook for a further 2 hours.

Remove from the barbecue or oven and drain the juices into a saucepan. Simmer until reduced slightly and combine with a little stuffing from the duck. Serve in a bowl alongside the duck.

Serve with rice, sambal, and steamed snake beans or Chinese greens (or both).