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Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Dry-fry the duck legs in an ovenproof frying pan or casserole dish on a low heat for a good 10-15 mins, turning once, until coloured all over. Remove from the pan. Add the sugar to the fat in the pan and cook until caramelised, then add the curry paste and cook for few mins until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and half a can of water. Simmer and stir until everything is combined, then add the fish sauce and lime leaves.
Slip in the duck legs, cover the pan and cook in the oven for 1½ hrs until the duck is really tender. Lift the duck legs into a serving dish and remove fat from the sauce, if you like. The curry can be prepared to this stage up to 2 days ahead and left in the fridge, in which case it will be easier to remove the fat.
Place the pan back on the heat, add the pineapple and simmer for 2 mins. Adjust the seasoning, adding more fish sauce for salt, and more sugar for sweetness. At the last moment, stir through half the chilli and half the Thai basil leaves, if using, pour over the duck, then scatter with the rest of the chilli and basil. Serve with jasmine rice