Red Curry Paste
- 25-30 small dried hot red chile peppers (up to 70 if you really like it hot, hot)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2-3 stalks of fresh lemon grass
- 2 1/2-3 tbspn shrimp paste (ka-pee in Thai)
- 10 mm piece fresh turmeric or 1/8 tsp. dried turmeric
- 1 1/3 cup coconut cream, reserve 2 tablespoons (30ml) for garnish
- 2 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 200g roast duck, thinly sliced
- 50g red curry paste
- 3 tblspn Thai fish sauce
- 1 tblspn (20g) palm sugar
- 3 kaffir lime leaves: 2 torn into pieces, discarding the stem and 1 finely shredded (for garnish)
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 cm pieces
- 150g fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces (1 cm cube)
- 6 small cherry tomatoes
- 10 seedless grapes (optional)
- 3/4 cup sweet basil leaves (reserve some for garnish)
Red Curry Paste
- In the mortar and pestle or electric blender, grind together the dried chiles and salt. Allow at least 20 minutes by hand, or a couple of minutes with a blender. It should be smooth with just a hint of chile pieces.
- Add the garlic cloves and pound until smooth.
- Cut off the very root end of the lemon grass. Remove outer leaves and discard. Cut the lemon grass crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces with a very sharp knife. Add to the ground chiles, along with the turmeric. Grind again until smooth. Your arm will tire, so take a break.
- Add the shrimp paste and blend together, mashing it into the chilies gently if you are using the mortar and pestle
- Pour the coconut cream into a wok or sauce pan and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the coconut oil begins to separate out.
- Add the curry paste, fish sauce, palm sugar and torn kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Add the duck and eggplant. Bring to a boil. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the grapes (if using) and sweet basil leaves. Turn off the heat and serve garnished with the remaining kaffir lime leaves, sweet basil and a few spoonfuls of thick coconut milk.