Saturday, 2 March 2013

Duck & Mango Curry

I’m not a massive fan of the fruit / savoury combination (in fact I’m not a massive fan of dried fruit in cooking generally: Christmas can be a bit of a nightmare with all that pudding & cake as well as mince pies being handed out left, right and centre) but there are a couple of exceptions. Tagines with chopped apricots &/or dates I can definitely handle and duck legs slow cooked with tart plums can also be a winning combination.

I felt a little apprehensive then the first time I tried this Ottolenghi recipe, pulled from the Observer or Saturday Guardian, I can’t remember which, some time ago. But it was good. Very good in fact. So good I’ve made it a few times now. I’m not sure if it will overtake Duck Jungle Curry as , my duck recipe of choice but it does have the advantage of having easier to source ingredients, most of which I will have anyway. No trips to Chinatown for fresh green peppercorns, krachai and holy basil.

The recipe below states 2 medium duck breasts, but you will see that on this occasion I had picked up a massive single Barbary duck breast from Lidl so that is what I used.

Duck and Mango Curry
serves 2

2 medium duck breasts, scored on both sides
3 tbsp sunflower oil
20g palm sugar
150ml coconut milk
140g green beans, trimmed and blanched
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1” dice
2 tsp lime juice
For the curry paste
⅓ tsp dried chilli flakes
4 tsp sambal oelek
2 medium-heat red chillis, roughly chopped
15g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 lemongrass stalks, top third and tough outer leaves discarded, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
6 small shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp shrimp paste

Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a food processor, or as I do, into my trusty spice grinder, and work to a smooth paste. You could do this by hand if you like using a pestle and mortar - but it will take ages, and you will likely be exhausted.

Put 75g of the paste in a medium bowl (set the rest aside) and mix in ⅛ tsp of salt and a tbsp of oil. Add the duck breasts and rub the paste in well. Cover and pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Put a large, heavy sauté pan on a medium heat and scrape any excess paste from the duck, adding it to that you reserved.

Lay the duck, skin side down in the hot pan and sear for about 3 minutes each side until well browned. Remove the duck to a plate and wipe the pan clean with a kitchen towel.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and when it is heated up add the curry paste and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously. It should turn a deep red in colour. If it starts to catch, add a splash of water.

Return the duck to the pan, skin side down and add 125ml of water and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 6 minutes, turning once.

Remove the duck again and add the sugar, coconut milk, beans and chunks of mango and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile cut the duck into 
½cm slices.

Return the duck to the pan along with the lime juice and cook for 3 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt carefully, if needed.

Serve with basmati rice, cooked with some fresh curry leaves, and a nice glass of Riesling.

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