Friday, 24 April 2009

The Thai Take-in

Finally, our clapped out old electric oven is down to its last wretched hot plate element, and we're about to permanently switch over to wood for the Raeburn cooker that heats our hot water as well in winter. However, there are those moments when you just want to boil the kettle for a morning cuppa or whip up a stir fry and can't be f*cked firing the bugger up. Enter the G-Man, a $160 double hob wok burner from the local camping store, 3 x $10 bits of old stainless from the dodgy brothers demolition recycling yard and voila! Thai take-in corner.

Only thing we won't have anymore is a griller, but we only used that for toast, and there's bound to be a couple of jaffle irons stashed up in Joe's shed. I never went for the froggy au-gratin thing anyway. In summer when it's too hot to fire up the wood stove, I've got a BBQ not far from the kitchen door and a camp oven with which, with a little practice, it's possible to whip up anything from a roast to a batch of scones.

We need the ashes for the garden compost (we have dense clay soil here and it helps to de acidify it), but it takes a bit of preparation to get the coals happening for roasting. With the gas burners I can now decide to do a pot roast without having to fire up the chainsaw.

Today's Thai treat follows:

This used to cost me a fortune in Sydney - here in Thai take-in corner, I can do it for about five bucks a head. (If you count feeding the bird for a few months - but I can get another meal out of it and then a stash of stock, so really, I reckon it's $2 a head all up, and about 50c worth of fuel.

Cooking with gas!

Red Duck Curry with Lychees
500g of boneless duck breast (I intend to try this with guinea fowl breast - I'm sure it will be the same, the meat is the same colour and texture)
1 tea sp sesame oil
2 tea sp light soy sauce
fresh root ginger
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
half a teasp ground allspice
One and a half tabsp sunflower oil
1 quantity of red curry paste (20-50 g of commercially prepared Maeploy is pretty good, but the recipe for the paste follows if you want to get all purist about it)
200 ml can of coconuy milk
200 ml vegetable stock
2 tabsp fish sauce
One and a half tabsp palm or coconut sugar
250g can of lychees ( I will have fresh ones come Summer, since my tree has started bearing - heheheh)
a handful of cherry tomatoes
5 kaffir lie leaves torn

To garnish - thai basil leaves and a long red chilli deseeded and finely chopped

Remove the skin form teh meat and slice thinly and marinade it in sesame oil. soy, garlic, ginger and allspice - marinatde overnight.

Stirfry red curry paste in sunflower oil till is becomes fragrant.

Add meat, coconut milk and stock - cook for a couple of minutes, then add fish sauce, sugar, lychees and tomatoes and cook for another coupl of minutes. Add kaffir lime leaves, pour into a bowl and garnish.

Red Curry Paste - 1 quantity

3-4 dried long red chillies each about 5" long, or 8-10 small red chillies
1 lemon grass stalk (white part only), finely sliced
1" of fresh galangal peeled and finely chopped
5 kaffir lime leaves finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 shallots roughly chopped
5 coriander roots, finely chopped
2 teasp shrimp paste
1 teasp ground coriander
1 tabsp paprika

Remove stems and split the chillis lengthways, discard seeds and roughly chop the flesh. Soak in hot water for 2 min until soft and drain.

Use a pestle and mprter or a blender to gring chillis, mlemongrass, galangal and lime leaves to a paste.

Add garlic, shallots and corander and grind together.

Add shrimp paste, ground coriander and paprika and finish it off to a smooth paste.


  1. the next time I shoot some wild duck I am sending it north for you to cook up...DAM THAT SOUNDS WICKED..I just need to figure out some logistical and food hygiene issues first..

    Pissed me self at the chain saw comment too..

  2. I am stealing the red curry paste - if i can figure out what galangal is and if i can get it here - in the centre of brisbane within walking distance of 2 (two) coles' but no decent "ethnic" grocers

  3. another winner of a meal to try.

  4. Any tips for plucking ducks hughesy? Mine took ages

  5. Havock
    Excellent my man.. Send up a brace of 'em. I'll organise the freight. (Sigh, every girl should have a game keeper).

    Galangal is a root corm - a kind of stronger, pungent ginger. Off the the Valley with you!

    Unless you pluck immediately after the kill, you'll ned to scald the carcass in a pot of boiling water. Not long enough to weaken the actual skin (or it will tear off the meat) - rather, just enough to soften the root of the feathers. Ducks have pretty thick down - maybe try it in stages first - scald the legs first and practice, then the back, then the breast.

  6. Oh, by the way - the source of all this is Fresh Thai by
    Oi Cheepchaussara, Hamlyn. London. 2006

    Love the Occer first name!

  7. I am sure the lychee dish will be delicious, but guinea fowl is NOT even close to duck - the fairest of the fowl. I love where I live in large measure due to the luck fact that so many around me are avid duck hunters and keep me well-stocked with duck.

  8. Sounds great. Love duck but it's difficult to get fresh over here.

  9. I love the home made stir-fry hob. Looks the part.
    Plucking ducks ain't much fun but the meat. The meat!
    Man, I'm so going to BBQ King soon.
    Duck pancakes.