Main course: serves 2. Total time: 1 hour
Moong dal, the seed used here, is possessed of such lightness of starch that it can even display some of the characteristics of a fine biriani.

4 duck legs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little oil or duck fat
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 scant tsp ground cumin
a healthy pinch of dried chilli flakes
350g moong dhal, well rinsed and drained
40g butter
500ml of good chicken or duck stock
the thinly pared, pithless rind of 1 small lemon
2tbsp freshly chopped mint
1 lemon, cut in half, to squeeze over the finished dish

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C/gas mark 4. Season the duck legs and, using a lidded, cast-iron (or similar) oven-proof pot, gently fry them in the oil or fat, skin-side down, until golden and crisp. Then turn over and lightly colour the other sides. Remove to a plate.

Discard all but 2tbsp of the rendered fat and then add the onions and garlic. Gently fry until pale golden and then stir in the cumin and chilli. Add the butter and stir around for a little longer before tipping in the dhal. Coat the grains with fat, using a stirring and folding motion, until all are glistening. Pour in the stock all at once, bring up to a simmer and stir in the lemon rind and mint. Cut the duck legs in half through their natural joints and slide into the mixture, along with any of their exuded juices. Put on the lid and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, but leave the lid on for a further 10 minutes before peeking. Now lift off the lid, fluff up the grains with a fork and serve at once, with lemon halves alongside and perhaps a lightly dressed green salad.

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