Kaeng Phed Ped Yang.
The red curry paste is best made at home. It has a base of a few ingredients, which can be ground and frozen. You can then build up the flavour to suit your own palate by adding further spices and herbs and your choice of meat—beef, chicken, or duck.
While generally, meats are used in red curry, a whole fish fried and served can be just as delicious.
The Red curry paste
10 dry red chillies
2 to 6 bird eye Thai chilli or any other red chillies - Thai chillies are extremely hot
1 tsp salt
Galangal - thumb size or a paste
2 hearts lemon grass - the white part in the root of the stalk
3 red shallots - ground to a pulp
1 pod of garlic
2 roots of the coriander leaf stalk
Zest of a lime
Toast and grind
10 white peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
optionally 1 tbsp of shrimp paste
You will also need
500 ml /16 oz coconut milk or cream
Kaffir lime leaves
Julienne of red chillies - non spicy
Handful of Thai basil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 kg/3.3 lb of duck breast, allowing it to poach and cook in the curry or already roasted and sliced thick.
In a large wok, heat a drop of oil and fry the other half of the paste. Once aromatic, pour in 500 ml of coconut milk or cream, keep stirring and bring it to a boil.
If poaching, add the duck and lower the heat; kaffir lime leaves, slit chillies or large green chillies; capsicum; Thai basil; palm sugar and fish sauce. Allow the duck to cook through. Lastly, add the lychees and the roast duck if using that. Cover and rest for 10 minutes before service.
Taste for balance.
Served with boiled rice.
Mango salad and papaya salad are great sides.
For the beef, it is recommended to marinade it in half the paste and add it while frying the paste. You do not include the lychee fruit with the beef.
The lychee fruit should not be cooked but just warmed through. Resting the duck will keep it moist and allow the flavours to be absorbed. Cut thick (against the grain) slices to serve.
The colour of the curry will be dependent on the red chillies used.
The deeper the red, the more traditional the curry!
Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala
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