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This week’s recipe inspiration comes to you from the Vietnamese Australian farm workers themselves, on our local Heatherton and Dingley farms. They are all so lovely, always happy and smiling and I think I have discovered their secret weapon … their food! Many Vietnamese families enjoy this dish every week. I personally like it because it’s healthy, quick to make, fresh and so tasty. If the heat of the dish worries you, just tone the chilli down by using half a long red chilli and not the seeds. This allows the beautiful colour and flavour of the chilli to come through but not much heat. As the family get used to the dish, you can increase the chilli over time.

Nutritional benefits – Red chilies contain large amounts of vitamin C and some carotene (vitamin A). Yellow and  green chilies (which are essentially unripe red fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular. They are very high in potassium, magnesium, and iron. Their very high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the uptake of iron from beans and grains. A very large study published by the British Medical Journal found some indications that humans who consume spicy foods, especially fresh chili peppers, were less likely suffer from cancers or diabetes.

  • 200g noodles

  • 1 packet Peking Duck Legs (2 – 4 legs) or (quicker version) collect from your local Chinese take away

  • 1 large onion, quartered

  • 1 large piece of ginger, unpeeled, sliced

  • 4 cups tasty chicken stock

  • 2 cups water

  • 3 star anise pods

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 4 spring onions

  • 1 long red chilli

  • Small handful fresh coriander

  • Small handful fresh mint

  • 2 tbs. fish sauce (for a fresher, unprocessed option, use a finely diced anchovy)

  • 1 tbs. sugar

  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

  • 1 bunch fresh pak choy, cut into quarters

  • 1 wedge lime or lemon

  • Vietnamese Chilli Paste and Chilli Sauce to serve (optional)

  • Prepare the rice noodles as per packet instructions. Place the duck legs a large heavy based pot over medium heat. Add the onion halves, ginger, stock, cups of water, the star anise, cinnamon and chilli, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, thinly slice the spring onions and chilli and pick the coriander and Vietnamese mint. Drain the noodles. Add the fish sauce and sugar to the broth and boil 5 minutes.

  • If you’d like some mushrooms, you can add them at this stage too. Discard the ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick and onion. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning. Divide the noodles among the families bowls. Top with the duck broth, green onions, pak choy, herbs, bean sprouts, and additional fresh chilli if you like. 

  • Add the duck meat on top and serve with traditionally if you like with sambal oelek (hot hilli paste), ketjap manis (hot chilli sauce), lime and any remaining fresh herbs. (Thanks to Justine Schofield for this amazing recipe)


Have a great week ahead and happy local Bayside produce eating!

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