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.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.