Sunday, 4 August 2013

Thai Red Duck Curry (Gaeng Pet Phed Yang)

My very best friend Hayley just so happens to be Australian, before you ask NO she does not live in England she lives in Sydney, we have had what you may call a long distance friendship, thank goodness for whatsapp and viber.
 What is unusual about our meeting is that we did not meet in Australia or England, we actually met in Koh Tao Thailand and have continued to visit each other back and forth over the years.    I'm sure that my husband will back me up that when we get together we act like a couple of idiots, and we do think that we are the funniest pair on the planet much to the dismay of people in close proximity to us. Hayley recently came to visit and met the new addition to our little family and also to get up to a little mischief in the process. One of our favourite past times is cooking, I cook, she gets out her notepad and asks a million and one questions, as a regular reader of my blog she did point out my tendency to sometimes over complicate recipes by using ingredients that have to be sourced (guilty), she pointed out that not everyone has the time or energy to go to specialist stores, sometimes it is easier to buy it all under one roof, I could not agree more.

 On our very last day of mischief we decided to channel our inner goddesses by having  fantastic thai Massage (a memory of our first meeting) followed by a wonderful lunch, Red Duck Curry, an absolute classic and a much celebrated thai dish, one that I ate in abundance throughout Thailand, so it was only obvious this would be a recipe that I would recreate. 
 I have kept my promise, this recipe delivers on flavour whilst being super fast and easy to prepare and also you can get all of the ingredients at any supermarket, RESULT, this ones for you H.P!!

(All the measurements are in cups for ease)

You will need:
1 cup of Pineapple cut into large chunks (you can use tinned)
1/2 cup of french beans cut into batons
1/2 cup of red pepper cut into large chunks
1 sliced red chilli (use birds eye if you like it hot)
1/4 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup good quality red curry paste (easily available now)
1 bruised lemon grass
3 finely chopped fresh kaffir lime leaves or zest of two limes
20ml of lime juice
1 tbsp of fish sauce
1/4 cup palm sugar or 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of thai sweet basil (substitute with 2 tbsp of tarragon and 1/4 cup of normal basil)SEE NOTES
400ml of coconut milk (a can)
1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp of caster sugar
1/2 tsp of maldon sea salt
2 Cooked duck breasts (this can be cooked up to a day ahead)

Start by preparing all of your vegetables and place it on your board or a plate ready to use.
In a medium saucepan cook the curry paste in the oil until it begins to soften, Curry paste is a raw product, therefore needs to be cooked out to mellow the harsh flavours of the garlic and chilli etc. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the paste to soften it, at this point I usually add 100ml of the coconut milk to soften the paste even more.
 Add the lemon grass, lime leaves or zest, peppers and the remaining coconut milk, once the milk is starting to boil add the sugars, fish sauce, pineapple, salt, chilli and french beans, allow this to cook together for five minutes and remove from the heat and add the lime juice and herbs. Slice the ready cooked Duck and either serve this on top of the curry sauce or you can re-heat it in the curry sauce.
Serve with microwaveable thai rice for true ease!

NOTE:Sweet Thai basil is a very difficult herb to locate, some chefs would say to use normal basil but normal basil does not have an aniseed flavour like Sweet basil, my suggestion is to use tarragon and basil to mimic the flavour effectively.

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