Zarafa Camp: From the Kitchen

Located in Selinda Reserve, Botswana

One of the great joys of travel is experiencing a destination with all of your senses; learning its rhythms, exploring sites both everyday and extraordinary, and sampling its flavors. Food is a touchstone for discovering a place and its culture, and at National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, cuisine plays a central—and scrumptious—role. We asked chefs from our lodges for recipes that capture the flavors of their destination. We hope you enjoy bringing these tastes of the world into your own kitchen.

Pan Roasted 5 Spice Duck

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 large duck breast
  • 2 tablespoons five-spice
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 stems of broccoli or rapini, blanched
  • 1 cob of sweet corn boiled (or ¾ canned or frozen corn)
  • 4 peppadews, also called cherry peppers
  • 8 mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 purple basil leaves ( Optional )
  • 1 cup arugula

Carrot Ginger Puree

  • 4 carrots
  • ½ inch  ginger root, sliced
  • 2 cups milk

Chilli Caramel

  • 1 cup palm sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 fresh chilies
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400F.

1. Place duck breast on paper towel and pat dry. With a very sharp knife, remove all sinew. Score the skin of the duck from one corner to the other. Turn the breast 90 degrees and score again corner to corner so that you have a crisscross effect. Rub both sides with olive oil and then with five-spice. Set aside to infuse.

2. To make the chili caramel, heat the palm sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely melted. Let it simmer until it starts to get thick. Halve the chilies lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice very thinly and add to the caramel along with the lemon juice.

3. Cut the corn kernels from the boiled cob and set aside.

4. To make the carrot-ginger puree, peel carrots and ginger and place in small saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the carrots are soft. Blend to a smooth puree and set aside.

5. In a cast iron (or other oven-friendly) pan, add a small amount of olive oil. When the pan begins to get hot, place the duck breast in the pan skin side down and render out the fat until the skin is nice and brown. Turn it over and then put the pan in the oven for about 7-8 minutes until the duck firms up a bit. Be sure not to overcook it—the meat should not be completely firm to the touch.

6. While the duck is in the oven, sauté the broccoli, mushrooms, and corn. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the puree slowly.

7. Remove the duck from the oven and let it rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.  

8. Now it is time to assemble the plate. First start with the puree, then the vegetables and pepperdew.  Slice the duck breast into 3 pieces and place on the plate as desired. Drizzle the chili caramel over the duck and around the plate.  Garnish with arugula and basil. 

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