Duck in Coconut Curry

Succulent sliced duck breasts provide an excellent base for the sweet, hot and tangy curry sauce.

Slideshow: More Incredible Duck Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • Four 5-ounce duck breast halves, skin on
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups thick unsweetened coconut milk (See Note)
  • 3 tablespoons Panaeng Chile Paste
  • 2 cups thin unsweetened coconut milk (See Note)
  • 1 tablesppon tamarind concentrate dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla) (See Note)
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar (See Note)
  • 8 canned lychees, drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise (See Note)
  • 1 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced (See Note)
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Steamed jasmine rice, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the broiler. Deeply score the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern. Rub the soy sauce and oil over the breasts and season with salt. Arrange the duck, skin side down, on a baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes. Turn the breasts and broil for 3 more minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the meat is medium rare. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice the meat across the grain 1/4 inch thick.

  2. In a large saucepan, bring the thick coconut milk to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the Panaeng Chile Paste, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tamarind liquid, fish sauce and palm sugar.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the lychees, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Add the duck to the curry sauce and cook over moderate heat just until warmed through. Transfer the curry to a shallow bowl and garnish with the lychees, Thai chile, lime leaf and basil. Serve with steamed rice.


Thick and thin unsweetened coconut milk, tamarind concentrate, Thai fish sauce, palm sugar, red Thai chile and kaffir lime leaves are available at Asian markets, well-stocked supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Suggested Pairing

Red wine is the classic choice for duck; choose one with a fruity spiciness to match the coconut accents like a California Zinfandel or Australian Grenache.

Published October 1996

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