The slow-cooking of the onion, garlic and chilli paste give this curry a distinct flavour. Duck and potato are my favourite combination but it works equally well with chicken or just vegetables.
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ medium-sized duck, cut into 3cm chunks
4 small waxy potatoes, peeled & cut into halves
1 large onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 whole dried chillies, soaked in hot water
½ teaspoon paprika
125ml peanut oil
Put the ground turmeric, salt and fish sauce in a bowl. Add the duck and toss in the marinade. Leave covered in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make the onion paste. Put the onion, garlic and dried chillies in a pestle and mortar. Pound to a coarse paste. It definitely makes a difference to the taste of the gravy if you use a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have one, just chop everything finely.
In a wok or saucepan, heat the oil. First fry the potatoes over high heat, turning regularly, for 2-3 minutes until they are just taking on colour. Remove from the oil and leave to one side. Next add the duck to the oil and let the meat brown slightly all over. Again remove from the oil and set aside.
In the remaining oil, cook the onion paste over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes. It may seem like a lot of oil but it’s important not to skimp here. If there is not enough oil, it will burn the onions and make the gravy bitter. Keep a close eye and stir frequently. When the mixture has caramelised and turned reddish brown, add the paprika and stir until fragrant.
Return the potatoes and the duck to the pan, give it a quick stir then add the water. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes, occasionally stirring the mixture until the meat is tender. It is ready when the liquid has reduced and the oil has separated from the gravy.
cooking time: 60-85 mins