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Bebek Hijau (Duck in Green Chilli Sauce)

Duck in Green Chilli SauceThis is sometimes called Gulai Bebek Padang, and is another well-known West Sumatran dish. It improves if it is kept for 24 hours so that the fat can be skimmed off. bebek Hijau needs a lot of green chilli to give it color, and this of course makes the taste hot and strong. You can moderate it somewhat by using the largest possible chillies, on the principle that the big ones are always gentler.

  • 1¾ kg (4¼ lb) duck
  • 12 green chillies
  • 10 kemiri (candle-nuts)
  • 12 shallots or 2 large onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground Laos (galingale)
  • 3 tbs tamarind water
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (bruised) or ½ tsp sereh powder
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1¼ cups cold water
  • 2 tbs chopped chives

Clean and cut the duck into 8 pieces, and discard most of the skin. Seed and chop the chillies, and blend them into a smooth paste with the kemiri; alternatively, mince and then pound them together. Slice the shallots and garlic finely.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the shallots and garlic until slightly browned, then add the chilli-and-kemiri paste. Stir for 1 minute, and add the ginger powder, turmeric, Laos and lemon grass (or sereh powder). Stir this mixture, and put into it the duck, tamarind water, Kaffir lime leaves, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Stir again and cover the pan. Cook on a low heat for 45 minutes. Take the lid off the pan, add the water, increase the heat and let the this bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chives and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Remove the lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves and bay leaf before storing in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Next day, skim off the fat, re-heat and serve hot.

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