31 March 2011

Double Take: Red Thai Duck Curry via The Pioneer Woman

Thai red curry with duck over jasmine rice
I don’t know what it is about Thai food, but I start salivating just thinking about it. What I would give to have a plate of spicy noodles from Thai Sawatdee in Winston-Salem or a bowl of green curry from Yum-Yum Thai in Tucker! Words cannot describe my love of these dishes. But alas, Thai food is quite different here in Germany, and I have yet to find something that really makes my taste buds sing. Since Bender doesn’t care for Thai food, I don’t make it much at home either. But he’s out of town. Woot! Which means I get to make whatever I want for myself for two whole weeks (I’m desperately hanging onto this silver lining. Our tiny apartment feels ever so empty right now)! So when Tabitha pointed out this recipe for Red Thai Duck Curry, I immediately jumped on it. I’ve waxed on about my love of duck before, so I won’t bore you with the details again, but that just added to my willingness to make the dish. I was slightly put off by the peppers, and even more put off by the pineapple, but at the last minute I decided to throw in both (Amazingly, I found a pineapple for 1€, so I didn’t feel like I had a good excuse not to include it.)

The recipe I have listed here includes my addition of mushrooms, and I highly recommend adding more veggies that suit your palate. If you can find it, Thai eggplant is a must! As is Thai basil instead of the stuff you normally find. Broccoli and cauliflower would be good here, too. Oh heck, add any veggie you like. They are all yummy here!

I'm still in shock that I bought and added pineapple.

minimally adapted from Ree Drummund of The Pioneer Woman

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
½ frozen whole duck, deboned*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, store-bought or homemade (I used store-bought, which is much saltier and hotter than the homemade recipe provided here)
400ml coconut milk or 1.5 cans coconut milk
1 cup hot water (optional: use only if you like your curries on the thin side)
3 tablespoons fish sauce (use 4 if you use the homemade curry paste)
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (additional)
½ whole red onion, thinly sliced (I used white b/c my red ones had gone mushy)
½ green or red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ whole pineapple, cut into chunks (Make sure your chunks are bite-sized. I prefer them on the thinner side)
LOTS of fresh basil, chopped (I used ½ cup tightly packed basil)

Compare this curry paste to that at Pioneer Woman. This one is actually... pasty. 

Preparation Instructions:

Cook duck breast according to package instructions. The skin should look very crispy. When cool to touch, thinly slice and set aside. (Eat the crispy skin now and discard the fat if you add the duck as written here**)

Meanwhile, rinse jasmine rice in plenty of water to remove starch. Be sure to agitate the rice and rinse until the water runs clear. Cook rice in lots of water until al dente, as you would pasta (follow cooking time instructions on package). Strain, return rice to pot on stove (with the burner off), cover, and let sit five minutes to finish cooking. Remove from stove and set aside until you are ready to eat. Fluff with fork before serving.

While the rice and duck cook: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add red Thai curry paste to the pan and stir. Cook paste for several minutes to release the flavors (If you have a hood over your oven, use it otherwise you'll be sneezing up a storm from the chiles in the paste). Pour in the coconut milk, hot water (if using), fish sauce, and minced ginger. Stir and allow to cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a separate pot (Ree uses a dutch oven) heat oil over medium high heat. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook for several minutes. Make sure the pan is hot, then add sliced duck and stir. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add pineapple and cherry tomatoes and any other veggies that make you happy. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Taste curry sauce, which should be slightly thickened by now. Add more spice if needed. If it’s too spicy, add more coconut milk.

Pour curry sauce into the pot with the veggies and duck. Stir to combine and allow to bubble and simmer for a good 5 to 10 minutes. Add a little hot water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it needs more thickening. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

At the last minute, stir in lots of chopped basil. Serve immediately over jasmine rice. Spoon plenty of sauce into the bowl!

*You can easily use chicken or thawed duck, just follow the instructions from Ree found here. Shrimp or fried tofu would also be delicious.

**It’s very common to find the meat on the side instead of in the curry sauce here in Germany. This serving method works very well for duck with the skin and fat on because once the skin hits the sauce, it’s no longer crispy. The whole point of yummy duck fat and skin is crispiness. So, if you are going to cook the duck in the sauce, remove the fat first. Ree completely disagrees with me on this one, so try it both ways and stick with the one you like.

That's my definition of a LOT of basil. But you could easily add more. 

Store-bought red curry paste is much thicker than the homemade, so you may not need quite as much curry paste and fish sauce. I did change the recipe listed here to make up for that difference. Overall, though, I loved the dish. The leftovers reheated very well in the microwave for lunch the next day. While the smell of the fish sauce was pretty obvious after reheating, it did not detract from the flavor of the dish.

So how much do I like this recipe? Well,
I've already made it again. That's right. Two nights after I made it the first time, I made it again. I didn't want the heaviness of the duck since I'd fried potato dumplings the night before, so I lightened it up with a variety of veggies and some shrimp. Yum yum. I’ll be keeping this recipe on hand for whenever Bender goes out of town!

And the pineapple? It was perfectly fine. But I'm not going to rush out and buy a pineapple every time I want to make curry. In fact, I may never use it again in curry.

The water is listed as optional because some people like their curries thicker than others. The first time I made this recipe I used 1.5 cups of water, but that was way too much and made the sauce very thin. The second time I used not water and it was perfect!

Make-again-watching-the-salt-and-heat: 1 very enthusiastic vote

PS: I'm still on the lookout for a fabulous green curry recipe. Anyone have one they are willing to share?

Thai Red Curry with Duck, anyone?
To find out what Tabitha thought about Red Thai Duck Curry, head on over to Double the Garlic

1 comment:

  1. Loved this with tofu! Made this vegetarian by using soy sauce (gluten free for me) and a bit of sweetener in place of the fish sauce and it tasted deeeeelicious! Thanks so much for the recipe :)


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