The best duck curry I had was in Bangkok at the Oriental Hotel (of course!). My friend, Karen and I loved the duck curry at Sala Rim Naam — between our marathon massage sessions, we would take the river taxi across the Chao Praya just to have the duck curry. The river ride adds to the eating experience!
Well, on this side of the Pacific, I take the short cut of using store-bought roasted duck from Chinatown and whip out a quick red curry sauce. Don’t worry about making your own curry paste – the Thais use the bottled ones, so why don’t we, too.
Chef’s tip: Save the bonier parts of the duck for other uses. The five spice seasoning in the carcass sometimes overpowers the curry. Thai Kitchen’s brand fish sauce and curry paste are pretty good.
½ cup of coconut cream
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 cups coconut milk
5 pieces of kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade finely
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon palm / brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1 cup mini Thai eggplant (or 1/2 Japanese eggplant cut into 3/4 inch length)
1 zuchinni, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 roasted duck (from Hong Kong-style delis)
10 lycees or grapes
10 cherry tomatoes
A sprig of basil
1. In a medium saucepot, heat 1/2 cup coconut cream on medium high till it begins to bubble. Add curry paste and sliced garlic. Fry till fragrant, red and oil has separated, about 5-7 minutes
2. Add remaining coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes
3. Finely shred kaffir lime leaves, reserves a generous pinch for garnishing
4. Add shredded kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Add eggplant and zuchinni. Simmer uncovered until gravy has thicken.
5. Cut duck into 8 pieces (reserve bones and wings for other use) and add to the curry. Simmer 3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Add grapes/lycee and tomatoes.
7. Garnish with kaffir lime leaves and basil.
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