A savoury tropical fruit salad

A savoury tropical fruit salad

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

The distinctiveness of most fruits compels me to enjoy them without too many embellishments. I was inspired to decide which tropical fruit might best be described as ‘versatile’ and for me it is the pineapple. The pineapple can be savoured as a sweet or savoury ingredient, as in this recipe, inspired by a hawker-style salad called Rojak.

For the duck salad


Quantity Ingredient
2-2.5kg duck
1 banana flower
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 pineapple, peeled and c ored, cut into 1.5 cm pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white pepper

For the marinated onions

Quantity Ingredient
100ml rice vinegar
4 pickling onions

For the dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 red chillies
1 tablespoon blachan, roasted, (see glossary)
4 tablespoons gula melaka, (see glossary)
1 tablespoon heiko
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, mixed with 170 ml water and passed through a sieve
110g peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground


  1. Prepare the duck:
  2. This initial preparation should be done about 12 hours in advance. Cut the legs off the duck and trim off the wings, reserving these for another use. Cut away the tail part of the duck so the cage is exposed. Dip the duck in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds and hang to dry in a cold spot with circulating air (ideally, a coolroom).
  3. Prepare the marinated onions:
  4. Prepare these at least 1 hour in advance. Have the vinegar in a bowl. Peel the onions, halve them and separate out into leaves. Blanch in boiling salted water, then drop into the vinegar, adding salt to taste. Toss to coat well.
  5. Make the dressing:
  6. Pound the ingredients with a mortar and pestle as you would see done in the open air markets. Pound the chillies to a fine paste. Gradually add the blachan and then the gula melaka, pounding constantly. Mix in the heiko, lime juice, salt and tamarind water. Gently incorporate the peanuts (you want to keep their texture). Taste that the flavour is hot, sweet, sour and salty and add more salt if desired.
  7. Prepare the banana flower and pineapple:
  8. Remove the tough or discoloured outer petals of the banana flower, separate out the remaining individual petals and thinly slice lengthways. Place in acidulated water if slicing ahead of serving. Place a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Sprinkle with half the sugar and melt to a light caramel brown. Spread the pineapple pieces over the surface and let the caramel colour the pineapple. Remove the pineapple and add the remaining sugar. Melt as before, and this time colour the other side of the pineapple. Finish by seasoning the pineapple with salt.
  9. Roast the duck:
  10. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Score the skin of the duck breasts. Remove the breasts from the carcass and fry, skin side down, in the oil until the skin is golden and crisp. Place on a tray, skin side up, and roast for 15–18 minutes. My preferred cuisson (degree cooked) is medium-rare. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes in a warm spot before carving.
  11. Assemble the dish:
  12. Carve the duck across the breast and arrange slices on each plate. Place a teaspoon of the dressing around the duck. Scatter the pineapple, banana flower and marinated onion about the plate.
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