Spicy Braised Duck & Yam Curry

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This is an easy boiled curry and, although there are quite a few ingredients, it’s simple as well as delicious. You can use a chopped whole duck if you like, but I think the legs are best as they remain moist.

Ingredients

  • 4 duck legs, halved
  • 300 g (10½ oz) yam, diced
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, bruised and cut into 4 cm ( inch) lengths
  • tablespoons grated palm sugar (jaggery)
  • tablespoons fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime

Spice Paste

  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 8 candlenuts, roasted until golden, chopped
  • 4 long green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 small wild green chillies, chopped
  • 4 red shallots, chopped
  • 1 knob of galangal, chopped
  • ½ knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fingers of fresh turmeric, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method

Pound the spice paste ingredients in a mortar with a pestle to a fine paste. Or use a blender to process the ingredients, adding a little water if necessary.

Heat a wok until just smoking. Add the oil and, when hot, add the spice paste and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until the rawness has been cooked out and the paste becomes fragrant. Add 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water and bring to the boil. Add the duck pieces, lime leaves and lemongrass and cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until the duck is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Meanwhile, steam the yams over a pot or a wok of boiling water for 15–20 minutes, or until tender. Stir the yams into the curry, then season with palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to serve.