Crispy duck and watermelon salad with toasted cashews

Serves 4 Starters and mains

Crispy duck and watermelon salad



  • 4 duck legs
  • 1.5litres chicken stock
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 2-3tbsp tempura flour or cornflour, to coat

For the marinade

  • 100ml light soy sauce
  • 50g piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1⁄2 small bunch coriander stalks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1tsp Chinese five-spice powder

For the sauce

  • 50g piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed
  • 6 lime leaves
  • 150ml mirin
  • 150ml light soy sauce
  • 100ml hoisin sauce
  • 150ml maltose
  • 80g clear honey
  • 2tbsp cornflour

For the salad

  • 100g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 200g watermelon flesh
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1⁄2 small bunch micro coriander leaves


To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together. Put the duck legs into a shallow bowl and cover with the marinade, ensuring each part of duck is well coated. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Turn the duck every few hours.

The next day, take the duck out of the fridge and put into a large saucepan with the marinade. Cover with the chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 11⁄2 hours, or until the meat is tender and comes away from the bone easily. Remove the duck from the stock and set aside to cool. When cool, remove the skin and bones. Shred into large flakes and set aside.

To make the sauce, put the ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves into a pestle and mortar and bash until all the ingredients are crushed and the juices are extracted.

Pour the mirin, soy and hoisin into a saucepan. Place the ginger and lemongrass mixture into a sieve set over the pan and press down to squeeze all the juices from the ingredients. Discard the solids. Add the maltose and honey to the pan and heat gently until the maltose has melted, being careful not to let it boil.

In a cup, mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons cold water to form a paste, then pour half the paste into the saucepan. Return to a low heat and bring to a very gentle boil to cook out the cornflour, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add more of the cornflour paste if it needs to thicken further.

For the salad, toast the cashews nuts in a frying pan over the lowest heat possible, making sure they don’t burn. After about 5 minutes, add the sesame seeds and toast until golden brown. Set aside.

Pour enough sunflower oil to a depth of 6cm into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan or a deep-fryer and heat to 180C.

Coat the duck pieces with tempura flour and shake off any excess. Deep-fry the duck in small batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Once all the duck is cooked, put into a large bowl and mix with the hot sauce until it is nicely coated.

Cut the watermelon into bite- size chunks and quarter the spring onions lengthways. Arrange on 4 serving plates. Add the crispy duck and finish with the toasted cashew nuts, seeds and micro coriander leaves. You can drizzle on more sauce if necessary.

Recipes and food photographs taken from The Ivy Now by Fernando Peire and Gary Lee. Photography by Jenny Zarins. (Quadrille, £30).
Crispy duck and watermelon salad
Recipes and food photographs taken from The Ivy Now by Fernando Peire and Gary Lee. Photography by Jenny Zarins. (Quadrille, £30).


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