I once read somewhere that everyone should be able to make three dishes really well. It doesn’t have to be Michelin Three Star – floating on dry ice type of shit, but three solid plates that you’re damn confident would impress a new love, friends, colleagues, or the Queen herself if you needed to. Whether it be stir fry, pancakes, or the world’s best bloody Frito Pie, as long as it’s your best, go for it.
Imagine the Queen eating a Frito Pie.
I bet she’d give Frito pie a right go.
This pan fried duck with Massaman curry sauce is one of my dad’s three dishes. The first time that G had this dish was when we were newly engaged and my dad busted it out to impress his future son-in-law. G loved it so much that it had to become one of my three dishes, or else he would have tried to marry my dad.
You can’t blame the man for having priorities.
Pan fried Duck Breast with Massaman Curry Sauce
Serves 4 and makes about 150ml of sauce
Ingredients for curry sauce
80g Massuman curry paste
1 can/400ml coconut milk
2 kaffir leaves, torn
1 lemongrass, bashed
1cm galangal, bruised
30g palm sugar
5g tamarind pulp or 1 tbsp lime juice
1tsp fish sauce or to taste
1 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
1 Star anise, broken
1 large handful of sea salt
1 small handful sugar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 duck breasts
Method for curry sauce
1 In a large bowl, thoroughly dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. Once dissolved, add the rest of the brine ingredients. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
2 If using tamarind pulp, dissolve the pulp in a small bowl filled with 50ml of water, strain and set aside.
3 Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium, add the paste and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add half of a can of coconut milk and turn up the heat and cook on high until the oil breaks (or splits) from the from the coconut cream (this is a tale tell tell sign of a proper curry). Making sure to stir regularly so the paste does not burn.
4 Add the rest of the coconut milk, kaffir leaves, galangal, lemongrass, tamarind water or lime juice, and fish sauce. Bring to the boil, then allow to simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the sauce is reduced by half (this takes about 30mins). Keep warm or set aside and reheat for later use.
Method for duck breast
5 Pre heat your oven to 180C/350F.
6 If you have brined your duck breasts, remove from the brine and pat each breast with kitchen paper until dry.
7 Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and place the duck breasts skin side down. Fry for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown making sure to drain off the fat occasionally. **
8 Remove the breasts from the heat, transfer to an oven safe dish and cook until desired doneness. As a guideline 7-8 minutes is medium.
9 Allow the duck to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving with rice and warm sauce.
*Brining the duck breast is totally optional. If you are not going to put in the extra effort skip to Step 7. Me on the other hand, I wanna be ready when the Queen pops by.
** For a better result, make sure the duck breasts are at room temperature before cooking.