I've had duck in the fantastic Jino's Thai Cafe in Headingley before as one of the specials, served with a hot sweet tamarind sauce that perfectly balanced against the succulent, slightly pink, crispy skinned duck. So with that as my inspiration I headed to the huge asian supermarket in Leeds city centre to buy some ingredients, it's a fantastic place and I picked up everything I needed for the recipe that was formulating in my imagination.
The hot and sour Thai duck delivered on everything I'd hoped it would, hot, sour, sweet, salty crispy skinned duck, combined with creamy yet zesty rice. It's a fantasic combination, and all washed down with an In-heat Wheat by Flying Dog it was an absolute winner whilst soaking up the rays.
To make this you'll need
(This serves two, but with another one or two pieces of duck could easily stretch to serve 3-4 people as there was plenty of rice and sauce leftover and when the duck is sliced it goes a long way)
- 2 Medium duck breasts
- 1 Tablespoon of Tom Yum hot and sour paste
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Thumb size piece of ginger (finely chopped)
- Vegetable oil
- 100ml water
- 1-2 tablespoons clear runny honey
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- Juice of half a lime
- 2 inches of chopped coriander stems (from large bunch)
The rice and bok choi
- 300ml Thai Jasmin Rice (or basmati)
- 400ml coconut milk
- 400ml water (use the empty can)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 heads of bok choi, cut into bite sized pieces
- Soy Sauce
- Put the rice, coconut milk, lime juice and water into a large pan (that you have a lid for) and bring to the boil.
- Add plenty of salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and add the lid, then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes (stir after 15 and see if the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, if ready take off the heat and leave to one side with the lid on, it will stay warm for quite a while).
- Preheat the oven to 200*C
- To make the sauce, start by gently frying the garlic and ginger in a little oil for a few minutes (in an oven proof dish) until very lightly coloured then add a heaped tablespoon of the Tom Yum paste and fry for a further 2-4 minutes. (Note: Tom Yum paste is traditionally used to make Tom Yum hot and sour soup, but it works great in this recipe)
- Add the soy sauce, coriander stalks, water and lime then scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Let this bubble for a few minutes until it reduces very slightly. Then pour the whole thing into a wide bowl, add the honey and leave to one side. Remove the pan from the hob to cool but don't clean it as you'll be using it for the duck.
- Next prepare the duck by placing it skin side down on a chopping board and cut away any skin and fat that hangs around the edges, then flip it over and score the skin in a criss-cross pattern but don't cut into the flesh and season well with salt and pepper.
- Place the duck skin side down into the cold pan you cooked the sauce in and turn the heat onto medium-high. The fat should render out and then the skin will crisp up (about 5 minutes). Then remove the duck and place into the bowl with the sauce. Pour the duck fat out into a jar and save for future use (to make the best spicy roast potatoes ever!)
- Tip the duck and sauce back into the dish and turn the duck so it's skin side up.
- Place into the oven uncovered and cook for exactly 7 minutes for medium rare, 8 minutes for medium (that's how I cooked it), or 9 minutes for medium-well done
- Take the duck and sauce out of the oven and then lift the duck out of the pan and onto a chopping board to rest, the sauce will stay warm with the heat of the pan.
While the duck is resting stir fry the bok choi stems for 1-2 minutes then add the leafy parts and stir fry until just slightly wilted, then shake in a little soy sauce at the end and stir fry to coat.
To serve, slice the duck diagonally in thick slices and spoon over the sauce, squeeze a little fresh lime (use the remaining half lime) over the rice and sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander, with the bok choi on the side.
I had this dish with a bottle of Flying Dog's In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen, which was a decent match. Not a big aroma just a little yeasty note and classic wheat beer fruityness. It's lightly spicy with a little pepper and clove, big banana flavour and yeasty, slightly sour taste, plus a little sweet buttery note. It matches quite well with the ducks Thai spices and is rich and spicy, yet fresh and cleansing. Despite being unfiltered and really full of flavour it also manages to be clean and refreshing. This dish is about balancing hot, sweet, sour, and salty flavours so a hop bomb IPA that might work well with an indian curry is no good here as the flavours are more subtle and less chilli driven.