Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dear Phil - the duck curry

When a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of sambal oelek you know you're really making a commitment to fiery curry - and also to wearing plastic bags over your hands while handling the marinating meat. The good news is that I could buy a jar of sambal oelek at the supermarket downstairs so I didn't have to make anything from scratch.


Actually this was a very easy recipe, which is all the better because dish itself was quite impressive.

There were two ingredients that I couldn't find. And given that we're stressing the EASY here, I think ou should understand that I'm absolutely surer I could have found them, if I had bothered to look a bit harder. But I went to exactly two supermarkets to make this dish, and refused to do any more desperate shopping than that.

One of the missing ingredients was chilli flakes. Given that there are two tablespoons of sambal oelek and three fresh chillies, I thought that the missing chilli flakes wouldn't really be missed (and boy was I ever right about that!).

The second missing ingredient was the duck. I thought I might find frozen duck bits at the fancy supermarket, but there were none. There was goat... In the end I used Australian lamb tenderloins. Quite expensive (around $20) but super delicious, and this was kind of a treat. Plus, I thought lamb would make a better substitution for duck than, say chicken or beef.

I was a bit nervous about how lamb and mango would go together. I could somehow easily imagine duck and mango, but lamb and mango?

You have to sort of simmer the curry paste on its own for ages -about 15 minutes. The recipe says until it turns a deep red colour. My kitchen is so dark, I wasn't sure if it was turning red or not, and kept calling Mr Martin over to evaluate the colour. while its doing this, the whole house gets infused with the smells of cooking. I opened a bottle of red to really make the most of it!

The recipe comes with another recipe for spicy rice to go with, but I just made brown rice, which I think was better anyway - spicy should come with a little plain.

Thank god for the mango! The dish was really hot, but the fragrant sweetness of the mango toned it down just a bit, so the heat of the chillis didn't drown out all the flavours. Would I make it again? Yes -but would use less sambal oelek because I'm a wuss. We have a lot of leftovers!





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