Duck legs, like chicken legs, are a more muscular part of the bird and therefore tend to have more flavour than the breast, but as the muscle makes them tougher they benefit from being cooked slowly, as in this braising method. French duck confit (cooked in its own fat over a low heat for many hours) is perhaps the most common of European ways of cooking the leg, but I have had far more delicious legs in northern Thailand, where they were simmered in a wok-like pot in lots of duck fat with the addition of copious amounts of star anise, garlic and ginger. Either way, the lengthy cooking process required to get them tender is well worth it. If you don’t have the time, head to your nearest deli and buy some duck confit.
Black cardamom pods have a lovely earthy taste that imparts a subtle smoky flavour; if you can’t find them, don’t despair, simply use regular green cardamom and perhaps a pinch of pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika).how to extract coconut meat from the shell.
Mix the cashew nuts with the honey and oil and spread in a single layer on a tray lined with non-stick baking parchment, then bake for 12–15 minutes. The nuts burn quite easily, so you need to keep an eye on them, lightly mixing them on the tray from time to time. Once they’ve turned golden (it pays to break one open to make sure it’s coloured right through), take from the oven and let cool completely on the tray before storing in an airtight jar.
Grill or roast the peppers to blacken the skins, turning frequently, then place in a sealed plastic bag and leave to cool. Once cool, peel off the skin, discard the stem and seeds, and cut the flesh into strips.
Prepare the noodles by pouring barely boiling water over them in a heatproof bowl and leave to soak. Juice 2 of the limes and cut the third into quarters.
Once the duck legs are ready, remove the dish from the oven and take out the legs. Strain the coconut mixture through a fine sieve into a
When the legs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and skin from the bones and break or cut it into chunks – you’ll find it comes away easily. If you don’t like the idea of eating the skin then discard it, but it is very tasty.
Drain the noodles and mix with the peppers, cabbage, spring onions and half the cashew nuts, then divide between 4 plates. Mix the duck meat with half the coriander, and place this on the noodles. Scatter on the remaining nuts, coriander and coconut, place a lime segment on the side and serve the coconut dressing in a jug.
© 2005 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.