This duck curry, from Katie Chin's new cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking, is perhaps one of her richest: the generous pour of coconut milk and fat-laced duck meat definitely take the dish into stick-to-your-ribs comfort territory. Still, the bright sweetness of the pineapple and tomatoes, combined with the abundant fresh herbs and spicy curry paste, lightens the dish just enough to make it enjoyable, even on a sunny October day. Using pre-roasted Chinese duck makes the curry a total snap to prepare, and perfumes the broth with the fragrance of anise and pepper.
Why I picked this recipe: Chin calls this curry one of the most popular in the Thai cannon, but I had never eaten it before.
What worked: I loved the interplay between the earthy richness of the duck and the brightness of the fruit and herbs. The coconut milk broth was the perfect canvas for both, giving the dish an undercurrent of sweetness.
What didn't: It took me an additional 5-10 minutes to cook the eggplant through. Next time, I'll let the eggplant cook on its own for a bit before adding the duck.
Suggested tweaks: I bought my roast duck from a deli in Oakland's Chinatown. If you don't have access to a store or restaurant that will sell you roast duck, you could use any other leftover poultry. Or, roast off a few duck legs beforehand and use their meat in the curry.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.