I remember this dish, with its wonderful aroma, from my first visit to Bali
in the early 1980s. It makes an ideal main course for a special occasion,
and once the spice paste has been made,much of the work is done. The
lovely savoury spices make a delicious contrast to the rich duck meat,
producing a truly memorable feast. It takes a little time, but the end result
is worth it! Serve with plain rice.
1 x 2.75kg (6lb) duck, fresh or frozen
for the spice paste
2 fresh sticks of lemon grass
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 shallots, peeled
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh galangal or root ginger
6 red chillies, de-seeded
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. If the duck is
frozen, thaw it thoroughly. Rinse well and blot it completely dry
with kitchen paper.
Peel off the tough outer layers of the lemon grass
sticks, leaving the tender, whitish centre. Crush with the flat of
a knife, then cut into 7.5cm (3in) pieces. Put the lemon grass in
a blender or food-processor with all the remaining spice paste
ingredients and blend as smoothly as possible.
Transfer the spice paste to a saucepan and simmer
over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until thoroughly cooked,
adding more water if the paste begins to stick to the pan.
Now rub the paste over the duck, inside and out.
Carefully wrap the duck in several layers of foil, sealing it well.
Place the wrapped duck on a rack set over a roasting tin, pour a
little water into the tin to prevent the fat splattering, and cook for
1 hour.Then reduce the heat to 140°C/275°F/gas 1 and continue
to cook for 2 hours.
Remove the duck from the oven, unwrap it and pour
any liquid into a heatproof glass bowl. Allow it to stand for a few
minutes, then discard the surface fat, saving the juices. Leave the
duck to stand for at least 10 minutes before you carve it. Using
a cleaver or a sharp knife, cut the skin and meat into pieces; it
should be very tender. Arrange on a warm platter and serve at
once, with the juices poured over the pieces.