Chili Duck with Crab and Cashew Sauce

This spicy dish would be delicious served with Thai rice, which is slightly aromatic.


serves 4 - 6
2.75 kg (6 lb) duck
1.2 litres (2 pints) 5 cups water
2 kaffir lime leaves
7.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
2 - 3 small fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
25 ml (5 tsp) sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) coriander seeds
5 ml (1 tsp) caraway seeds
115 g (4 oz) 1 cup raw cashew nuts, chopped
7.5 cm (3 in) lemon grass
2.5 cm (1 in) galangal or fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 shallots or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cm (3/4 in) square shrimp paste
25 g (1 oz) coriander white root or stem, finely chopped
175 g (6 oz) frozen white crab meat, thawed
50 g (2 oz) creamed coconut
1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish
boiled rice, to serve


1. Remove the legs from the duck, separate the thighs from the drumsticks and chop each thigh and drumstick into two pieces. Trim away the lower half of the duck with kitchen scissors. Cut the breast piece in half down the middle, then chop each half into four pieces.

2. Put the duck flesh and bones into a large saucepan and cover with the water. Add the lime leaves and 5 ml ( 1 tsp) of the salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, until the meat is tender. Discard the duck bones. Skim off the fat from the stock and set the stock aside.

3. Grind together the chillies, sugar and remaining salt in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor. Dry-fry the coriander seeds, caraway seeds and cashew nuts in a preheated wok for 1 - 2 minutes to release their flavour. Add the seeds and nuts to the chilli mixture, together with the lemon grass, galangal or ginger, garlic and shallots or onion and reduce to a smooth paste. Add the shrimp paste and coriander root or stem and mix well.

4. Add 250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup of the reserved stock and blend to make a thin paste.

5. Pour the spice mixture into the saucepan with the duck and mix thoroughly. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes.

6. Add the crab meat and creamed coconut and simmer briefly to heat through.Turn out on to a warmed serving dish, garnish with the chopped coriander and accompany with boiled rice.

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