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Crispy Duck and Watermelon Salad with Toasted Cashews

Made at The Ivy | Serves 4

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For the duck
4 duck legs
1.5lt chicken stock (a good quality stock cube is fine)
Sunflower oil for deep frying
Tempura flour to coat (use corn flour if you can’t find tempura) (available at specialist oriental shops or online)

For the duck marinade
2 star anise
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
50g (approx. 5cm) ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ small bunch coriander (use the stalks for the marinade and save the leaves for the salad)
1 tsp five spice powder
100ml light soya sauce




For the sauce
50g (approx. 5cm) ginger, peeled
2 lemongrass stalks
6 lime leaves
150ml mirin
100ml hoisin
150ml light soy sauce
150ml maltose (available in specialist food shops and online)
80g runny honey
1 tbsp corn flour to thicken (use more if necessary – the sauce should coat the back of a spoon)

For the salad
100g watercress, washed and spun dry
200g watermelon flesh, cut into bite size chunks
6 spring onions, peeled, trimmed and quartered lengthways
½ small bunch coriander (you’ve used the stalks for the marinade!)
20g sesame seeds, lightly toasted
100g unsalted cashews


For the duck & marinade
For the marinade, mix all the ingredients together. Put the duck legs into a shallow bowl and cover with the marinade, ensuring that each part of duck is well coated (use your hands to do this!). Cover with Clingfilm and put into the fridge overnight.

The next day, take the duck out of the fridge and put into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with the chicken stock and simmer gently for an hour and a half. Check to see if the meat is tender and comes away from the bone easily. If it doesn’t, cook for a little longer. Remove the duck from the stock and set aside to cool. When cool, remove the skin and discard. Then, remove the meat from the bones into flakes and keep to one side.


For the sauce
For the sauce, put the lemongrass, lime leaves and ginger into a pestle & mortar and bash until juices are extracted and the ingredients are crushed. Put the mirin, soy and hoisin into a saucepan and onto a low heat. Add the honey and maltose and stir gently until the maltose has melted. Be careful not to boil. Sieve the liquid, squeezing all the flavour from the ingredients and put into another saucepan. Put a tablespoon of corn flour into a cup and add some cold water, mixing into a paste. Pour the paste into the saucepan and put back onto a gentle heat. Stir until it thickens to coat the back of a spoon.

Coat the duck pieces with tempura flour and shake off any excess. Pour 6cm of sunflower oil into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan or a deep fat fryer. Heat to 160°C. If using a saucepan, please be careful as the oil will be very hot. Fry the duck pieces in small batches until golden brown. Remove with tongs and place onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Once all the duck is cooked, put into a large bowl and mix with the sauce until it is nicely coated.


For the salad
To toast the cashews and sesame, put a large frying pan onto the lowest heat possible and add the cashews. You have to keep turning these and watching them, because they burn really easily. After about 5 minutes, add the sesame seeds. Toast until golden brown and remove from the heat.

Scatter the watercress on 4 individual plates and arrange the watermelon and spring onions on top. Add the crisp, braised duck and finish with the toasted seeds and cashews and coriander leaves. You can drizzle on more sauce if necessary.

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