Fried Coconut Rice with Duck, Prawns and Cucumber Pickle

This recipe came about following frequent visits to the Castagna Vineyard in Beechworth, Victoria, where my habit is to arrive with two or three Peking ducks, pancakes, green prawns, and other ingredients that you simply can’t get in rural Australia.

On our first night we usually have a bit of a Chinese feast, and sometimes (only sometimes) there are a few things left over. With those leftovers, I started putting together a simple fried rice for a quick lunch, and the combination of coconut rice, duck and prawns was so delicious, that eventually I wrote the recipe down so I’d have it on hand when I feel the need for it.

It is infused, as you would expect, with all the wonderfully clean flavours of duck, prawns and coconut. Simple and fresh, with only a few additions, a pretty dish, without the muddiness that fried rice can sometimes have.  Add a little soy if you want a more assertive taste, but on the side please, and don’t overcook it (you just want a little crispness to it) Remember, this is seriously fast food if you have everything ready to go, but still an absolute treat for the taste buds. Enjoy.

Coconut Rice

  • 350g Basmati rice
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 3 cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt

Rinse the rice, drain and tip into a heavy based pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Take off heat and leave to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves and spices, fluff the rice with a fork, and leave to cool. This makes around 4 cups, you’ll need 3 cups loosely packed rice for this dish.

Preferably make this a few hours before starting to prepare the fried rice.

Cucumber Red Onion Pickle

  • ½ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut in half lengthways and finely sliced
  • 2 red Asian shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 small hot red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

In a small saucepan over a medium heat simmer the vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a bowl, add cucumber, shallots and chillies, stir to combine and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes.

Fried Rice

Serves 4

  • 300g chopped Peking duck
  • 300g shelled and chopped raw prawns
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender part only, sliced
  • 3 cups loosely packed coconut rice
  • 1/2tbsp sesame oil
  • 2tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • ½ bunch spring onions, sliced
  • 1 handful each of mint and coriander sprigs
  • Wedges of lime, and cucumber red onion pickle to serve

In a wok over a medium heat sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in the coconut oil until fragrant and soft. Add the chopped prawns, cook until pink, then toss in the duck, stirring constantly for a minute or two, then add 3 cups of coconut rice. Turn up the heat, combine well with other ingredients, and fry for about 3-4 minutes.  When hot, and slightly crispy, add sesame oil and fish sauce, stirring through. Taste, adding more if you think necessary. Fold through chillies, lime leaves and spring onions. Spoon onto a platter and top with pickled cucumber and onion, and sprigs of fresh herbs.

Serve with wedges of lime on the side.