Have I mentioned how good Food Safari is? Every week Food Safari profiles a different national cuisine by going right to the source: the home cooks and local chefs who have been cooking it all of their lives. There's no manufactured slickness, it's just honest food by Australians from different backgrounds and it completely rocks. What makes it even better is the fact that 80% of the videos are available online. You could easily lose an evening on that website, and I recommend you do.
When I saw them make this red duck curry on the show, it didn't jump out at me as something I have to try. I love both duck and pineapple but rarely buy them, and lychees are hardly a kitchen staple. Then I went to the Star of Siam on Gouger St (it's a hell of a street) and ordered a serving of this curry that blew me away. It was the perfect Thai balance: the gravy was hot and salty, the fruits sweet and sour, and the duck juicy and tender. Once the restaurant's serving bowl was licked clean, I immediately ran out of the restaurant and dashed home to make this for myself.
The curry recipe is a great one but I wasn't completely satisfied with the curry paste, it seemed to be missing something. I'm not sure what, but I'll find out and get back to you.
Kaeng ped pett yang (red duck curry)
- 300g roast duck meat
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 tbsp red curry paste
- 300ml coconut cream
- 2 tbsp lychee juice1
- 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 4 canned lychees
- 8 small pieces of fresh pineapple2
- 100g apple eggplants
- 100g pea eggplants3
- 1 long red chili, sliced finely
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 large handful of thai basil leaves
1. Cook the curry paste in peanut oil over a high heat for about 1 minute. Stir through about half of the coconut cream and cook, stirring, until oil begins to bead on the surface.
2. Add the lychee juice, fish sauce, lime juice, duck, lychees, pineapple, remaining coconut cream, and 1/4 a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplants and chili and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the eggplants still have a little bite.
3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the kaffir lime and basil leaves. Serve with steamed rice.
(1) Don't pull your hair out trying to find a bottle of lychee juice — it simply refers to the syrup that canned lychees come in.
(2) Fresh pineapple is important as it brings some necessary sourness that canned just doesn't have.
(3) If you can't find these (or apple eggplants, either), by all means substitute with some regular eggplant or zucchini.