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.
Reprinted with permission from Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes by Katie Chin. Copyright 2013. Published by Tuttle Publishing. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced galangal or fresh ginger
- 1 fresh hot red or green chili, preferably Thai (deseeded for less heat), ﬁnely sliced
- 3 tablespoons thick red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons ﬁsh sauce (nam pla)
- 2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
- 2 kafﬁr lime leaves, torn in half (optional)
- 8 ounces (250 g) roast Chinese duck, thinly sliced
- 1 Asian eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced crosswise into wedges
- 2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
- 1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups (337 g) diced fresh pineapple
- 8 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 tablespoons fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
- 4 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add the thick red curry paste, stirring to break it up, about 1 minute. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and cook for 2 minutes, while stirring to combine.
Add the duck, eggplant, coconut milk, and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes, simmer for 2 more minutes. Add the basil, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves; cook for 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Dish out and serve immediately with jasmine rice.