This dish combines two of my favourite things – curries and cooking on the fire. Plus, it’s a surprisingly easy meal to put together – always a bonus when you’re out and about. Don’t let me fool you though, whilst it may be easy, it is definitely tasty and full of textural delights.
Aside from taking great, this particular curry has one distinct advantage over other curries – it can be cooked and ready to be eaten in under half an hour. Perfect for a first-night cook if you are arriving at your destination later in the day or early evening.
There were a few extra ingredients that I played with here to get a different texture element and some more depth of flavour. I included canned pineapple cubes for sweetness along with canned lychees – which I must admit I haven’t cooked with before, although I definitely will be adding them to my camping list from now on.
The list below looks a tad long, but don’t forget you can make your curry paste at home before you leave – in fact, I’d suggest that you did. Of course, you can always take a shortcut and buy your favourite curry paste from the supermarket, though for me there is no substitute for freshness – even when camping.
What you need
- 2 duck breasts
- 1 teaspoon of oil
- 2 tablespoons of curry paste
- 400ml can of coconut cream
- Small tin (225g) of pineapple chunks
- Half a tin of lychees (about 250g)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
For the curry paste
- 12 – 15 dried red chillies
- 4cm piece of galangal (use ginger if you do not have galangal, or include both for even more flavour)
- 1 whole bunch of coriander – roots and all.
- 2 stalks lemongrass ( white section only). Smash the stalk with the back of a heavy knife and slice
- 10 kaffir lime leaves with stems removed
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 4 brown shallots
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste. This is often sold as belacan and is available in little individually wrapped squares.
- Dash of salt
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
What you do with it
- Flatten out shrimp paste in between 2 pieces of aluminium foil and roast over medium heat in a frypan for 2 minutes on each side. If you’re making this in your kitchen at home, open all windows and put the fan on as this will smell!
- Place chillies in a bowl of hot water for 10-15 mins, then drain
- Throw all the ingredients into a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste – or blitz them in a mini food processor. If you’re blitzing your paste ingredients, chop each roughly. If you’re going with the pounding method, make life easier on yourself and slice and dice more finely.
- Pop the lot into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It should make a cup. This paste also freezes well – pop it into an ice cube tray to freeze and then store in zip lock bags in the freezer.
Making the curry
- Do whatever it is that you need to do to get your heat source up to temperature. I like to use the Ozpig.
- Let’s get the duck skin nice and brown. For the best result (not burnt, or cooked too quickly), score the skin and pat dry the skin with paper towel. Place the duck on a cold skillet or frypan and heat over your fire source. There’s no need to place any oil in the pan as the duck fat will render.
- Cook until the skin is nice and golden, then flip and cook the other side for approximately 3mins. Once browned take it off the heat and allow to cool on a separate plate. Pour off the duck fat into a clean tin; you can save this for something else later – I’m thinking sauteed potatoes in duck fat…yum!
- Pour the oil into your pan and fry off the curry paste until fragrant.
- Now add the coconut cream and bring to the boil, then add the pineapple chunks and lychees. If you have other veggies you’d like to toss in eg beans, tomatoes, do it now.
- Whilst that is coming back to heat, slice the duck to your desired thickness and add to the curry to heat through. This should only take a few minutes – you don’t want to overcook it.
- To add even more depth, you can add the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice, though it is also well balanced without this.
- Serve with rice or in a bowl on its own.