January may be over but I had to post one last quirky but delicious recipe. And this is a beauty. You wouldn’t think to look at it that this duck curry is one of my Spice Peddler “Oh no, let’s go crazy” recipes. But it is. So please join me on a Hop, Step and a Jump around the world as we take a look at this yummy duck curry.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
The Hop – Reunion Island
So guess what makes this duck curry so kooky?
Well, it’s got duck….duh!!! And sweet potatoes. So nothing odd there. It’s got some sun-dried tomatoes which I have never used in a curry before but a tomato is a tomato right? But you know what else it’s got? Wait for it…..vanilla beans!
Who puts vanilla beans in a curry?
Well apparently the people of the island of Reunion do.
And you know what?
The Step – Tahiti
So from the Indian Ocean, we’re going to fasten our seatbelts and stow our tray tables because we’re now off to another tiny island but this time in the French Polynesian part of the Pacific Ocean.
I guess the original recipe would use Madagascan vanilla beans but the Tahitian Vanilla beans which I got from the team at the Spice Peddlers has a rich fruity, floral, slightly aniseedy flavour which I think combined really well with the vegetables and the ginger in the curry.
The vanilla flavour here is not overpowering, it is an undertone. Unless you were told there was vanilla in it you would know there was something there but probably not automatically guess it was vanilla. . As the people of Reunion and Tahiti may say, it just adds that certain “je ne sais quoi” to what would otherwise be a pretty standard curry.
The Jump – Iran
I served this with one of the recipes from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – the Chelo or Persian Basmati Rice. I was a bit disappointed by this as one of my favourite things from Vietnamese cooking is when you have claypot rice and you get those lovely chewy almost burnt bits of rice. I really wanted my chelo to turn out like that. Sadly that was not to be.
Mine looked like this:
You can see what it should have looked like here.
Still, I think I’m taking the failure pretty well….
Have a great week!
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, bean cut into pieces about 1 cm long
- 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 duck breasts
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium onion, chopped (4 cups)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
- 2 to 3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 1 whole clove
- To garnish (optional)
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped coriander
- Combine the vanilla seeds, curry powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Score the duck breasts on the skin side (ie run the knife over the duck skin to create a cross hatch pattern. Do not go through the skin to the actual meat.
- Rub the spice mixture on the duck breasts both skin and meat side.
- Lay the duck breasts, skin side down, in a dry heavy-based large frying pan and gradually turn up the heat. Fry for five to 10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown.
- Turn the duck breasts over and lightly brown the other side for a couple of minutes, or until they feel slightly springy when pressed.
- Remove the duck from the pan.
- Add the butter and allow it to melt.
- Add the onion; cook for 5 minutes, until it has softened, then add the garlic and ginger. Add the tomato, sweet potato, sun-dried tomatoes and the clove; cook uncovered until sweet potato is just tender then add the duck back to the pan and allow to warm through.
- Discard the clove and the pieces of vanilla bean before serving.
- Garnish with chopped peanuts and coriander.