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DUCK WITH SUGAR CANE
(Vit Tiem Mia)

1/2 c shelled peanuts, red skin removed
1/2 c chestnuts, either fresh or dried
1/2 c ginkgo nuts, canned or fresh
1/2 c dried lotus seeds
1/2 c red dates (jujubes)
1 duck (about 5 pounds)
salt
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh gingerroot
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 18-inch pieces sugar cane
clear water from 1 coconut
1 tsp. rock sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce
3 scallions, both green and white parts, cut into 4 pieces crosswise
black pepper to taste
fresh coriander, chopped

Prepare the various nuts, the lotus seeds, and red dates as follows:
Soak the peanuts in hot water for 30 minutes; drain and set aside.
If using dried chestnuts, boil for 20 minutes, drain, and set aside.
If using fresh ginkgo nuts, remove the shell and blanch to remove
the thin inner skin; set aside. Soak the Chinese mushrooms in hot
water for 20 minutes, then drain, remove the stems and cut into
quarters; set aside. Boil the dried lotus seeds for 20 minutes;
drain and set aside. Soak the red dates in hot water for 30 minutes.
(If they are very dry, boil for 10 minutes.) Drain and set aside.
Rinse and clean the duck. Rub salt over the duck and rinse off;
let dry for 10 minutes. Combine the ginger, shallots, and 1 teaspoon
salt. Rub the inside of the duck with the mixture. Combine the
peanuts, chestnuts, ginkgo nuts, lotus seeds, and 1 teaspoon salt
and stuff the duck. Sew the duck closed with heavy white thread,
or else use skewers. Peel the sugar cane and cut into thin lengthwise
strips, the same length as the duck. Place 3 pieces of white
kitchen string on a flat surface, long enough to tie the slices of
sugar cane around the duck, covering the entire surface. Bring
the string around and tie as you would a roast. Turn the duck over
and slide the remaining strips under the string, covering the entire
duck with the sugar cane. Pour the coconut water into a large pot.
Put the duck into the pot and add enough water to completely cover.
Add the rock sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and
remove the scum continuously for 15 minutes, then turn the heat
down, cover, and keep at a lively bubble for 2 hours. Turn the duck
every 30 minutes. After 2 hours, remove the duck from the pot;
untie and discard the sugar cane. To the liquid remaining in the
pot add the mushrooms, red dates, 1 teaspoon salt, and the fish
sauce. Boil, covered, for 15 minutes, then remove the duck to the
broth, cover, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the
duck and add the scallion pieces to the broth. To serve, break
the duck, with the bones, into 8 pieces. Put the pieces in individual
bowls and add broth, some of the various nuts that were stuffed
into the duck, red dates, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with black pepper
and chopped fresh coriander.

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