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

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

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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39 Comments

  1. Is the duck supposed to be cooked through when done? I’m not seeing the juices like the recipe says. Other than that – this is so delicious.

  2. One thing about goose curry, the leftovers are ever better than the dinner. On an annual fall trip to the Canadian prairies, provisions for goose curry is a must. I think everyone enjoys it more when we come in after the morning afield and reheat it for lunch. There are never any leftovers left over.

    Mitch

  3. I’m drooling while reading this. I have my ingredient list ready for the store. I’ll be trying it with goose. One question I had…how are leftovers? I’ll be eating this batch solo while the family is out of town, so I want to be able to reheat in a pot over the next few days.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I wanted to try something different with duck breast. OH MY! This is my go to duck recipe. Slicing the breast so thin and adding it at the end it was perfect. This receipt needs no adjustments, all I can say is Bon Appetit and
    thank you for sharing your recipes.

  5. Just wanted to throw in my $0.02, this recipe was great–used on skin-on Mallard breasts and was one of the better duck recipes I’ve made.

  6. Another winner Hank! A good hearty winter meal. Made this with a goldeneye and a scaup. I enjoy spicy food, but two serranos were plenty–six and you’d be hearing from my attorney. Thanks for posting this recipe, and for such a helpful site.

  7. I made this Tuesday night, using dried lemongrass, dried shallots in lieu of the yellow onion, 2 tiny dried sweet chiles, and dried cilantro. I used about half of the called for amount of the dried stuff, and man-o-man it was awesome! I had 2 mallard breasts to toss in – the duck tasted great as did everything else. Will make this again as soon as I get more duck!

  8. Made your Thai Red Curry Duck (I used wild mallard I got opening day) and it was awesome! Even my dad who does not like spicy and sweet together cleaned his plate. This was my first time cooking anything with duck, and the recipe was easy to follow with great results. I’ve used some of your other recipes and have not been disappointed yet. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  9. I just want to be clear. I have skinless goose breast. I am cooking the thin sliced breast IN the curry right? It is not precooked at all? And this only takes a few minutes?

  10. This is the second time my partner has cooked this for me. First he cooks the duck in a crock pot before stripping the carcass for the curry. Delicious…I have enjoyed it both times and I’m pretty fussy(says hubby:)
    He doesn’t cook often but this one I could honestly say is FAIL proof…lol

  11. Well my step dad made this for us and it actually tasted quite nice since it was my step dad who made it.

  12. I’m looking for a mango/chicken curry recipe. Do you think It would taste good with this curry sauce?

  13. This Thai red curry duck looks very delicious. By the way, I’m looking forward to your duck and goose cookbook.

  14. I think no duck curry – green or red – is complete without pea aubergines. Those little bullets of bitterness really work against the rich meat!

    there are a host of fantastic South East Asian duck recipes; a personal favourite is duck braised in spiced orange juice. I had it in Can Tho and ended up eating three dishes of it!!!

  15. Damon: Yes, it would work GREAT with that kind of duck. Just make sure to trim away all the skin and fat.

    Melanie: Actually the Thai mother test was with the green curry, so I don’t actually know if real Thais use pineapple in their red curry duck. I like it, too, though, so I am keeping it. 😉

  16. It’s funny, I lived in Thailand and had curry with duck as a staple – but never with pinapple in it. I had been led to believe that it was an American addition.. But if it passes the Thai mother test of approval, it must be a regional difference. I ADORE the taste of it with the pineapple! I think this is an easy way to start a non-duck lover on the path to enlightenment. Nice Job, Hank!

  17. Hank,

    You also “almost” have several copies of your duck cookbook sold! Press, print, and shelve, so that we the fans can start shelling out to make them disappear. We can’t wait for the book release! The recipe looks delicious and can’t wait to try it, along with all the new recipes in your Duck Cook Book. Tell your publisher that the cookbook zombies are hungry for recipe brains. Thanks for using us as Guinea pigs on this recipe!

  18. Do you think this recipe would work well for shovelers or other strong flavoured ducks? Looks tasty, can’t wait to try it.