Coconut & Duck Leg Curry on Coconut Rice with Pickled Plums

Rate this recipe


Preparation info

  • For


    Main Courses
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

The plums need to be made at least three days ahead, but they’re best after ten. Covered, they will keep in the fridge for three months. There is no chilli in the recipe; add some if you want. To make the coconut rice, use the recipe for red rice but leave out the tomato paste and replace half the water with unsweetened coconut milk.


  • 6 large duck legs, on the bone
  • 450ml (¾pint) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 50ml (fl oz) Asian fish sauce
  • 12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 stems of lemon grass, lightly bashed at the fat end
  • teaspoon saffron
  • 3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 thumbs of ginger, peeled and finely julienned
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, lightly crushed

Pickle Plums

  • 1kg (lb) very sweet ripe red plums, cut in half and stoned
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • ½ red chilli
  • ¼ cup finely grated peeled ginger
  • 500g (18oz) unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.3 litres ( pints) water
  • 700ml (24fl oz) cider vinegar


Set the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Put everything except the duck, coconut milk and fish sauce into a roasting dish large enough to hold the legs comfortably. Mix it all well and lay the legs on top. Now stir the coconut milk and fish sauce together and pour over the legs; the cooking liquid should come two-thirds of the way up the legs, so add some boiling water if necessary. Seal the dish tightly with foil and place in the top third of the oven. The legs should be cooked in 90—100 minutes – they are done when the flesh just begins to pull away from the bones. Take the foil off the dish after 90 minutes and keep cooking until the duck skin turns golden brown; the liquid should be bubbling, but it must not boil dry.

For the pickle, put everything except the plums into a pot and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Fill a large preserving jar with hot water and leave it until the 5 minutes is up. Tip the water out and pack the plums in, then pour the pickling liquid and its contents over the plums. If there isn’t enough to cover the fruit, boil some water and vinegar (in a ratio of 2 to 1) and add to the jar. Seal immediately and leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Serve the curry on top of the rice, with some pickled plums on the side.