A whole chicken can be used instead of duck for this beautiful spicy roasted meal. 






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (41 votes)


  • 1 whole duck         
  • banana leaf, for wrapping

Betutu spice marinade

  • 100 g large red chilli, chopped       
  • 13 g ginger, peeled and chopped        
  • 10 g fresh turmeric, chopped                
  • 20 g lesser galangal, (kencur), chopped
  • 24 g galangal (Laos), chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, chopped       
  • 200 g eschallots, chopped   
  • 45 g garlic, chopped
  • 8 g coriander seeds
  • 3 candlenuts, chopped
  • 8 g black peppercorns
  • 10 g shrimp paste, roasted
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 Bali lime leaves, finely sliced (makrut lime leaves can be used)
  • 2 bay leaves (salam leaf)
  • extra lime leaves
  • vegetable oil

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.


Take all the ingredients for the betutu spice marinade except for the extra lime leaves and bay leaves and place in mortar and pestle. Pound until the mixture forms a thick paste.

Add a splash of vegetable oil to a wok and fry the paste for about 5 minutes to release the aromas and oils. Correct seasoning, add the lime and bay leaves and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

When cool enough to handle, spread the paste inside the cavity of the duck and cover the outside. Any leftover marinade can be put into the cavity of the duck. Use a bamboo skewer to close up the opening of the duck to secure the flavours. Place extra lime and bay leaves around duck and wrap the duck in a banana leaf. Tie the parcel with string. Then place in the top of a steaming pot and steam for 35 minutes.

Transfer the steamed duck to a tray and place in an oven at 180°C for another 60 minutes or until cooked through.  

Unwrap and serve with sambal matah.