Smoked duck breast with Thai red curry

This in an incarnation of a dish I had on the menu when I was the chef at a Thai restaurant in my past life. I am a big fan of the combination of the deliciousness of duck, red curry for the heat, lychees for a little bit of that exotic sweetness and Thai basil and shredded kafir leaf for the fragrant gift they give. Oh, and baby corn can go into exactly every Thai curry I make as far as I’m concerned.

I have smoked the duck breast slightly using the oh-so-vogue method of hanging above the fire because I like looking at fire and it is always something that gets the folks talking.

You can certainly serve this with more chopped chilli on the side if you are that kind of animal.


4 duck breasts
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 knob galangal, sliced into 3 pieces
2 lemongrass, bruised but kept whole
8 kafir lime leaves, plus 1 extra to shred for garnish
2x 400ml tins coconut cream
1x 560g tin lychees
1x 400g tin baby corn
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice 1 lime
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
Shredded kafir leaf and Thai basil, to serve
Steamed rice, to serve

Season duck breast with salt and pepper and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Hang duck breast over some smoky coals for 45 minutes to an hour until it is licked with smoke and only just starting to cook. You can skip this step if you don’t have the time or inclination, just cook it for a little longer in the pan to reach desired doneness.
For the curry sauce place a pot over medium heat. Add a splash of oil and curry paste and stir pretty consistently for a couple of minutes until it’s smelling aromatic and good.
Add coconut cream, galangal, lemongrass and kafir leaves and cook out for 20 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid burning.
Add lychees and corn and cook out for another 3-4 minutes.
Season with fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Keep curry warm while you finish your duck. Maybe cook some rice now too.
To finish the duck breast, heat a pan over low-medium flame.
Place duck breasts into pan skin side down and cook for 4 minutes until skin is golden brown. Flip breasts and cook the other side for 2 minutes or until duck is medium-rare.
Remove pan from heat and allow duck to rest in pan for 2 minutes.
Once duck has rested, place on a cutting board and slice into 5-6 pieces.
Spoon curry sauce into a bowl and place duck on top so it looks all pretty and shit.
Garnish with shredded kafir leaf and Thai basil.
Serve with rice on the side.

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