Thai Red Duck Curry
For the spice base
- 4 large dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 white peppercorns
- 4 cardamon seeds
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 4 slices dried galangal, soaked in warm water until softened
- 1 teaspoon grated kaffir lime zest
- 4 slices fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons sliced lemongrass stalks
- 2 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 4 stalks cilantro roots, rinsed well
- 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 1 one-inch piece cinnamon bark
For the stew
- torn cilantro leaves
- Thai basil
- Using a large mortar and pestle (see notes after the recipe), grind together all the ingredients for the spice base until pasty. Set aside.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wide thick-bottomed pan.
- Spread the duck pieces in the hot oil and allow the undersides to brown.
- Flip the duck pieces over and brown the opposite sides.
- Stir up the duck and continue browning, with occasional stirring, until fat has been rendered.
- Scoop up the duck pieces and set aside.
- In the mixture of remaining oil and rendered fat, saute the spice base. Stir often until the solids separate from the fat.
- Return the duck to the pan.
- Pour in the coconut milk and broth.
- Stir in about two tablespoons of fish sauce.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the duck until the meat is tender and easily separated from the bone, about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the age of the duck (see notes after the recipe).
- While the duck cooks, taste the broth occasionally and add more fish sauce, as needed.
- When the duck is done, stir in the coconut cream.
- Taste the sauce, add more fish sauce if needed, and allow the stew to come to a simmer.
- Scoop out the duck pieces and transfer to a serving bowl, ladle the sauce over them and sprinkle with Thai basil and cilantro before serving.
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