½small Jap pumpkin, cut into wedges2tbsp each of mirin and sake1 tbspolive oilFor deep-frying:vegetable oil1Chinese roast duck, cut into 12 pieces (see note)2cups (loosely packed) watercress sprigs50 gm (½ cup)walnut halves, roasted1 tspwalnut oil (see note)Caramelised vinegar plums65 gm (¼ cup)light palm sugar60 ml (¼ cup)cabernet sauvignon vinegar4plums (such as red), cheeks removed
Preheat oven to 220C. Combine pumpkin wedges with mirin, sake and olive oil on an oven tray, toss to coat evenly, then roast, turning once, for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Set aside.
Meanwhile, for caramelised vinegar plums, place sugar in a saucepan over high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until light caramel, add vinegar, return to the boil, add plums cheeks, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute or until plums begin to just soften. Cool.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan to 190C. Deep-fry duck, in batches, for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and deep golden, then drain on absorbent paper.
Arrange watercress, pumpkin and duck on plates, spoon caramelised vinegar plums over, scatter with walnuts, drizzle with walnut oil and serve immediately.
Note Chinese roast duck is available from Chinese barbecue restaurants and some Chinese butchers. Walnut oil is available from select delicatessens and supermarkets. Substitute with good-quality peanut oil.