This duck laksa recipe is a signature of Peter Gordon, and he explains how the dish came about: 'Laksa is a Peranakan dish originating in Malaysia, although Singapore and Thailand make wonderful versions as well. I first came across it when I was hitch-hiking around South-East Asia. What I loved was that there was always a wee tweak here and there depending on the cook making it. My current favourite laksa is on the menu at The Sugar Club in Auckland and the rich broth is tempered with smoked coconut milk, salmon caviar and a fish dumpling.'
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Begin by preparing the chilli paste. Add all of the ingredients to a small food processor or blender and blitz to achieve a fine paste. This paste can then be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days, or you can spread it thinly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze, before breaking into smaller pieces and keeping in a small container in the freezer
6 red chillies, roughly chopped (seeds included)
2 lemongrass sticks
2 knobs of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced against the grain
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 lime leaves, shredded
15ml of sesame oil
1 tbsp of coriander seeds, ground
2 tbsp of water
For the laksa, add the vegetable oil to a medium sized pan over a high heat and sauté the ginger, shallots and garlic until just starting to caramelise. Add 1-2 tbsp of curry paste (to taste) and cook out for 1 minute, stirring frequently until aromatic
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 knob of fresh ginger, thumb-sized, peeled and finely chopped
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Stir in the palm sugar and fish sauce and fry until a boiling syrup forms. Add the Szechuan peppercorns, lime leaves and tamarind paste and cook until the leaves soften
2 tbsp of palm sugar
2 tbsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp Szechuan pepper, optional but recommended
4 lime leaves, or use the peel and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp of tamarind paste, heaped
Stir in the coconut milk and 300ml of hot water, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place a deep-sided pan over a medium heat that is large enough to hold the duck breast. Add the duck, skin-side down, and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes to render down some of the fat, until the skin reaches a nice golden brown colour
400ml of coconut milk, unsweetened, or coconut cream
1 duck breast, skin scored with a sharp knife to create many ridges
Remove the duck from the pan, dust all over with garam masala and set aside until required. Add the corn halves to the pan with the duck fat and cook over a medium-high heat until nicely coloured all over
2 tsp garam masala
1 corn on the cob, cut in half
Remove the corn from the pan and set aside. Add the duck breast to the pan once more and cook for a further 2 minutes, skin-side down. Turn over the duck breast, cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Leave the duck to rest in the pan - this will achieve a nice pink finish
Meanwhile, add 2 litres of water to a pan and bring to the boil. Add the soba noodles, stir gently to separate the strands and return to the boil. Pour a cup of cold water in the pan, reduce the heat to achieve a rolling simmer and cook until the noodles are tender but with a little bite - this should take approximately 10 minutes
100g of soba noodles
Once cooked, drain the noodles, rinse off under cold water and cover with a little water to stop them sticking together while you prepare the rest of the dish. Slice the corn kernels off the cob and set aside. Pick the coriander and Thai basil leaves from the stalks and thinly slice the duck breast
2 2/3 handfuls of Thai basil, small
2 2/3 handfuls of coriander, small
Taste the laksa broth base and adjust the seasonings to taste, adding more palm sugar, fresh chilli, fish sauce or salt to adjust the heat and sweetness as necessary. Bring the broth to a gentle boil, then add the squid and cook for 20 seconds - after this time it is ready to serve
100g of squid, cleaned, head cut into rings, tentacles separated
Drain the noodles again and divide into preheated bowls. Divide the squid and broth between the bowls, then top with the sliced duck, corn kernels and herbs. Scatter some crispy shallots on top and serve immediately
crispy shallots, to garnish
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