Where We Are Going Today: Mr. Hakan’s restaurant in Jeddah

DUBAI: If you’re still looking for a showstopping dish for your upcoming festive celebration, Dubai-based FoodFund International (FFI) COO Chef Praba Manickam has you covered. 

The traditional slow-cooked duck breast with vanilla mash, chicory, cherry and gingerbread dish has been updated with Middle Eastern flavors with ingredients like sumac, rosewater and pomegranate molasses, to bring a special Arab touch to your table.

Chef Praba Manickam shared a sophisticated recipe for slow roasted duck. (Supplied)

Manickam’s journey with FFI began in 2008 in the Middle East, where he quickly rose up the ranks to become the Group Executive Chef. Under his leadership, FFI has expanded to a portfolio of brands across the Middle East and Europe. 



– 275g Duck breast (Barbary) 

– 3g Thyme 

– 5g Garlic 

– 30g Cherry puree 

– 10g Agar agar

– 20g Sugar 

– 10g Pain D’espice (gingerbread) 

– 150g Potato 

– 50ml Cream 

– Vanilla Pod 

– 90g Baby Turnips

– 120g Chicory 

– 15ml Orange Juice 

–  30ml Chicken stock

– 20g Butter 

– 10g Brown Sugar 

– A pinch of Saffron

– A pinch of Za’atar 

– Pomegranate Molasses 

– A pinch of Cinnamon 

– A pinch of Sumac 

– Pomegranate Seeds and Mint Leaves 



1. Mix 20g sugar with 10g agar agar and add to 1 liter of cold cherry puree. Bring to a boil while whisking. Pass through a fine sieve and allow to cool. When completely set, blend in a thermomix on number 5 at 60 degrees Celsius for eight minutes and set aside.

2. Cook the duck breast with thyme, garlic, cardamom and a pinch of sumac in a vacuum-sealed bag at 54 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes. 

3. Blend the Pain D’espice (gingerbread) into a fine powder.

4. Season the duck breast with Pain D’espice then place the duck breast in a cold pan on low heat, skin side down. Render the fat very slowly, occasionally removing excess fat from the pan. When the skin is brown and crispy, turn the duck breast over and increase the heat. Add butter, baste the duck breast, and remove from the pan and set aside.

5. In a separate saucepan, reduce the cream, butter, and vanilla until it thickens. Separately, boil the potatoes until soft, then mash. Mix the cream mixture into the potatoes until desired consistency is reached. Add saffron threads for a luxurious touch and set aside.

6. Peel and blanch the baby turnips in salted water, add a pinch of za’atar and set aside.

7. Cut the chicory in half and color them in a pan with olive oil. Add brown sugar and butter, then caramelize. Incorporate a dash of pomegranate molasses and cinnamon into the chicory glaze then add chicken stock and orange juice. Slowly cook the chicory, then cool, remove the stem, trim the edges.

9. Assemble, garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Drizzle with cherry puree and serve.


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