15 December 2017

Food, glorious food!

Thai Red Curry With Roast Duck

Food, glorious food! There is a lot of wonderful spiritual food on offer in this edition of ‘Rejoice Always’, but I`ve been given the task of whetting your appetites for the other kind of food! Having lived in, and been associated with Asia for over 30 years, it was natural to acquire a love for Asian food. The variety is amazing. From Japan, with its sushi and incredible variety of noodles, to Thailand, with its equally amazing variety of spicy dishes and tropical fruit desserts laced with Coconut Milk and Tapioca. Asia is a gourmet paradise. As a single missionary in Japan I had to learn to cook by myself, or starve. That changed somewhat when I married Eileen, though I often cooked for both of us because I enjoyed the culinary experience so much.

Now for this month`s delectable offering. Thai Red Curry, cooked in the authentic Thai style. Once you have tasted the real thing on the streets of Thailand you could never settle for anything ‘Europeanised’. You will get the real thing on this page. Thai-style cooking is not difficult. So, if you fancy something different, why not have a go at making this delicious and healthy Thai dish, just like the Thai people make it? Don`t worry, you can adjust the level of spiciness to your own particular palate! This is how I learned to cook it in a Bangkok Royal Thai Cooking School.

(Kaeng Phed Ped Yang) Serves Two. (You can also use your own choice of meat – but remember to cut into small bite-sized slices. In this case, the duck is pre-cooked, but chicken, prawns, beef, pork or lamb can be added to the curry mixture raw.)

THAI RED CURRY WITH ROAST DUCK

Ingredients for Garlic Paste

1 Coriander Root

2 Cloves of Garlic (peeled)

General Ingredients

150 Grams of Roast Duck (sliced)

60 Grams of Pineapple (preferably fresh, cut into small pieces)

10 Cherry Tomatoes (Cut into halves)

12 Red Seedless Grapes

1 . Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

1 Packet of Thai Red Curry Paste

1 Teaspoon of Roasted Ground

Coriander and Cumin Seeds

1 Can of Coconut Milk

1 Piece of Dried Kaffir Lime Leaf (Hand torn into pieces)

25 leaves of Sweet Basil

1 or 2 pieces of Bird Eye Chillies (either angle sliced, with or without seeds) (with the seeds makes it more spicy)

Ingredients for Seasoning

2 Tablespoons of Thai Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)

1 . Teaspoons of Palm Sugar (Ordinary sugar will do just as well – less sugar if using canned Pineapple)

Garnish

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Cream

1 Sprig of Sweet Basil (top of the stem)

2 Bird Eye Chillies (Sliced)

METHOD

1. Crush the garlic cloves, then using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and coriander root, then add coriander and cumin seeds and pound into a paste. Set aside.

2. Using a medium sized saucepan or a wok at medium heat, add the vegetable oil and paste from the mortar, then the red curry paste.

3. Stir-fry until an aroma develops. Add 2 tablespoonfuls of coconut milk and bring to the boil.

4. Key point: watch carefully until you can see the cooking oil starting to bubble through the mixture, then add more coconut milk, a little at a time, until half the can is used. Each time, watch for those bubbles, before adding more!

5. Add the fresh pineapple and cherry tomatoes. Then add the roast duck slices and grapes before adding the remainder of the coconut milk.

6. Add the kaffir lime leaf pieces and the red chilli slices. (Tip: adding the chillies later means your curry is less spicy.)

7. Season with the thai nan pla fish sauce and the sugar.

8. Finally add the sweet basil leaves and mix them well. Turn the heat off.

9. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a splash of coconut cream, sliced red chillies and the sprig of basil. Now your Thai red curry is ready to eat! Serve with previously cooked Thai rice, and enjoy the experience!

Note: if you want to dilute your curry a little to make it go further, or to make it slightly less spicy, try using a chicken stock cube mixed in boiling water, then mix in the curry.

Noel Hamilton