You know you are a foodie when…
You try to hit every restaurant when it opens, and you have an opinion about all of them. You spend the lion’s share of your hard-earned salary dining out, drinking wine, and shopping at City super. You look up for good restaurants on the fork/ urbanspoon /opentable and mark your mealtime on the itinerary before you travel to a new city. You know what’s important in life, and it is all about saving your food quota for excellent things…
I guess foodie genes run in the family, I was born in a family that appreciates, or, more precisely- celebrates good food. Despite everyone’s busy schedule, we try hard to gather round dinner table to share a meal (and complain about work) at least every week. I have always believed in the power of food to magically create intimacy, conviviality and community. Weekly dinner with my parents is still a ritual that I hold dear and near to my heart after I got married and moved out. Returning home for familiar dishes that I enjoyed as a kid makes me feel connected to the family. Just like any master home cook, my mother rarely uses recipe. Very different from my obsessive, strictly regimented method of cooking, she cooks everything from memory. In my mother’s kitchen, there are no scales, no measurements, yet no mistakes.
She’s never really taught me how to make her signature curry, but here’s my version.
2 duck legs
2 tbsp light brown sugar
6 tbsp red Thai curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
50ml of water + 100ml of chicken stock
4 lime leaves
6 cherry tomatoes halved
half can of lychees
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Pierce the duck’s skin all over with a toothpick. (This step allows a well-crisped skin!)
3. Pan-fry the duck legs in an ovenproof pan on low heat for 10-15 mins, turning once, until coloured all over.
4. Remove duck leg from the pan. Add the sugar to the duck fat in the pan and cook until caramelised, then add the curry paste and cook for few mins until fragrant.
5. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock and water. Simmer until everything is combined
6. Add the fish sauce, tomatoes and lime leaves.
7. Slip in the duck legs, cover the pan and cook in the oven for 1½ hrs until the duck is tender.
8. Cooked uncovered in the oven for an extra 30mins.
9. Place the pan back on the heat, add the lychee and simmer for 2 mins.