Thai Duck Curry

4.89 from 17 votes
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One of my favorite recipes in my cookbook Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild is a Thai green duck curry. This red duck curry is an alternate version, one that’s every bit as popular in Thailand.

A bowl of duck curry
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I consider myself a pretty good cook, but whenever I venture outside my comfort zone I try to seek out people who know more about the food than I do. In this case, my friend Jax Phongsavath’s mom. Jax is as American as I am, but her mom is from Thailand.

Nervously, I ran my green duck curry past her. I was overjoyed to get the “Thai Mom Seal of Approval” for that recipe. Only thing Jax said to me was that her mom usually made Thai red curry with duck.

So here it is: Red duck curry with a Thai mom’s seal of approval. Hope you like it!

The highlights of this curry are, other than the duck, that great warm-rich feeling you get when you combine coconut milk and chiles, and the sweet-tart high notes of the pineapple chunks. If you hate fish sauce, you can skip it, but Jax’s mother will be sad. I prefer Three Crabs brand fish sauce, but Red Boat is also good.

Serve this with white steamed rice and a crisp beer, or an off-dry white wine such as a Gewurztraminer. Once you make this recipe, you can reheat it as leftovers for a few days.

A word on the curry paste. The store-bought ones are very good, especially if you can find Mae Ploy. But if you want to make your own Thai red curry paste, this is a pretty good recipe.

If you’re looking for something Asian, but a little different to make with your duck legs, try my Sriracha Honey Lime Duck Legs instead. And this Thai green curry works well with duck, too. 

Thai red curry duck
4.89 from 17 votes

Thai Red Curry Duck

You can make this dish with any wild or domestic duck or goose, and you can use either skin-on or skinless breast meat. I used skinless breast meat here. If you want to use skin-on, sear the skin side of the duck breast until it's crispy and set aside; don't cook the meat side. Follow the recipe as written from there. Most of the ingredients here are available at any major supermarket, and those that might be hard to find I've listed as optional. But each one adds to the authentic Thai flavor, so try to get them if you can. The curry paste is the most vital: If you can't find it in your market, you can buy red curry paste online.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass (optional, white parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly top to root
  • 2 to 6 small hot chiles, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 1 13- ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 pound diced, peeled potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (palm sugar if you can get it)
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 pound duck or goose breasts, sliced thin
  • Lime juice to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro


  • Heat the peanut oil in a wok or a heavy saute pan over high heat. The moment it smokes, add the lemongrass, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the onion and chiles stir-fry another minute or two, then mix in the curry paste. Stir-fry the curry paste until it begins to separate a little, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and stir well to combine. Fill up the coconut milk can with water and pour that in, too. Add the fish sauce and the potatoes and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When the potatoes are just about tender, add the pineapple chunks and the sugar. Add salt or more fish sauce to taste. Cook the pineapple for a minute or two before adding in the sliced duck breast.
  • The duck breast will release some juice in a minute or two. When it does, stir the curry well and add the cilantro and lime juice to taste. Turn off the heat and serve immediately over white rice.


Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 1284mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 2545IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 11mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

4.89 from 17 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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    1. Gary: The heat of the curry is what cooks them. I prefer my duck breast medium-rare, so that only takes maybe 5 minutes. You can simmer the meat longer if you’d like.

      1. i never leave a comment on Pinterest but i just have to here. I’ve make red thai curry a few times and it’s never satisfying. i always blame it on the store bought curry paste. but then i tried this recipe with the same paste and omg it’s soooo good. just like in Thailand and i went there 8x so i know. i was so happy and my husband was praising it. love

  1. This recipe was excellent, and so easy! I used breast and dark meat. The heat was perfect for my teenage boys with 3 Thai peppers. We will definitely have it again and again. Thank you!

  2. Hank, in the recipe it sounds like the goose breast strips only cook 1-2 minutes until the juice comes out then stir into the curry and call it good. so maybe 4 mins total which sounds right to me because wild game gets tough if cooked past med rare. . But in the comments your telling some to cook the goose for 90 minutes?

  3. Absolutely superb recipe. Perfect flavour combination and your recipe and instructions were easy to follow and spot on. Even non duck fans would like this, tender, melt in your mouth perfection. Thank you, nailed it.

  4. Hi Hank – can’t wait to try this recipe. Had a question – if I’m using duck legs, specifically diver duck legs, at what point should I be adding them into this to ensure they’re tender and fall off the bone? Or would it be better to slow cook those beforehand and then follow this recipe as it is? Appreciate your site and all that you do!

    1. Jordan: If you are using legs, you can do either. If you braise them in this curry, know that it will take about 90 minutes to 2 hours or so, so you will want to leave out any ingredient that will get hammered in that time until the meat is tender. Then add them in.

    1. Melina: Until it’s tender. Sorry, but with wild game the bird could have been a year old… or 30 years old. You never know. But with farmed ducks, about 90 minutes should do it.

  5. Absolutely delicious. I substituted rice for potatoes, and mangos for pineapple. Perfect blend of spice and flavour.

  6. My first recipe after a successful Arkansas duck hunt. A beautiful blend of authentic Asian ingredients, giving both a spicy and sweet flavor. I added a pinch of turmeric and chopped up the heart and gizzard giblets for extra flavor in the sauce. Well Done Hank!

  7. I just made this recipe the other night. It was extremely satisfying; it was at least as good as I would expect to eat in a restaurant, which always makes trying something new worth chancing. The recipe was easy, and the ingredients were not obscure or onerous to gather. Your recipes are consistently high-caliber. Another homerun, Hank. Thanks!