Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Roast Duck in Red Curry

A few months ago I was reading one of those liftouts from The Age which had lots of Melbourne's "best of's". One of the things that caught my eye and seemed to stick in my mind was the 'Melbourne's best Curry' selection. It was the Roast Duck in Red Curry from Pearl. After reading the review on this dish, I wanted to try the curry there and then. But after getting onto Pearl's website and finding that the curry was $40, I decided to do what any good cook in my (broke) position would do. Cook it myself!

A quick trip to the North Melbourne library and I managed to find Geoff Lindsay's book (now out of print - I confirmed this with Pearl directly) 'Chow Down'. I had a quick look at the book and lucky for me- the recipe for the Duck Curry was there. However it seems someone liked the recipe that much, that they ripped out the page for the Red Curry paste for themselves. So, I improvised and jumped on the net and found an easy red curry paste recipe.
I'd never cooked duck before, or really eaten it for that matter. I had really eaten it once, but it was about 3am at China Bar in Russell St, in the City. I was a bit worse for wear and I think the duck was too.
I got a small sized duck from the Vic Market, which cost about $12. The lady behind the counter told me it would easily feed 2 people.
Geoff's recipe called for the duck legs to be taken off the carcass and cooked seperately. Having never cooked or dealt with a dead duck before, I had to assume taking one apart was like dismantling a chicken. It wasn't too different and I don't think I did too bad a job.

Apparently, the breasts were meant to be kept attached to the carcass while being cooked and the drumsticks cooked in another tray. Both were to be cooked for 20 mins at 180c and then the breasts were meant to be removed and the oven turned down to 160c. The drumsticks should continue to be cooked for another 40 mins.

I did this, but because I'd never cooked duck before, I wasn't sure, but it didnt look like it was cooked to me. I decided to change the roast duck recipe to a pan fried recipe. I cut the breasts from the carcass and fried them for a couple of minutes until they were golden, in a frypan, with a little butter.

I then fried the red curry paste which I had previously bashed up in a mortar a pestle for a couple of minutes with a little olive oil.

Once the paste was toasting nicely and was fragrant, I added a tin of coconut milk and let it simmer slowly for about 10 minutes, just to let it reduce a little. It's at that point you can taste it for seasoning, adding a little fish sauce if needed for saltiness or maybe some crushed palm sugar for sweetness.

I then took the curry sauce out of the pan and sautee'd some yellow capsicum and some ginger until the capsicum has softened.

Then return the sauce to the pan, add the meat and add your Thai Basil and some Vietnamese mint. Bring to the simmer and heat until the meat is heated through.

Now you can plate up your duck, maybe with some coconut rice and garnish with some Thai Basil leaves and flowers. A very tasty dish indeed. I'd always heard that duck was fatty, but never realised quite how true that is. As much as I liked the Duck Curry, I'm sure it was nowhere near as good as the one served at Pearl. Hopefully I get to try the real version soon! Can't wait!

No comments: