Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thai Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with Crispy Asian Duck

Today I finally booked my Thanksgiving trip to Thailand (followed by a short work trip to Hong Kong!) to visit the Mistress of Spices in her new home!! Since she's moved there, I've been eyeing her pictures in jealousy and dreaming of cheap eating in the food stalls I love so much.  There's nothing better than food stalls in Asia.  Give me a steaming, fragrant bowl of noodles on the side of a street, balancing on a rickety stool in the middle of a bustling street market over a fancy four-star restaurant any day!

My friends who are reading this might be laughing a bit at this point because there is also nothing else I love more than checking out a new hotspot in town from a celebrity chef.

But Anthony Bourdain put it best in the article I was reading on the way home this afternoon in the new Bon Appetit issue: "the value of a dish is the pleasure it brings you; where you are sitting when you eat it -- and who you are eating it with -- are what really matter."

Great family and friends makes for great eats anytime, anywhere. And I am looking forward to some great eats to finish up 2012, filled with vibrant memories of the native Thai culture and its infamous heat!

In preparation for my upcoming trip, I've been experimenting with different flavors from Thai ingredients such as kaffir lime and yellow curry paste.   I still had some leftover yellow curry paste from the Thai yellow curry fried rice I made last month and decided to finish it off in a spicy coconut noodle broth topped with a crispy-skin duck marinated in an Asian five-spice glaze. For the noodle, I used dried instant ramen noodles since I don't have easy access to fresh egg noodles unless I go to Chinatown.  If you are able to find it easily, definitely use it versus the dried noodle for authenticity.
Vegetarians, take heart and just skip the duck and you have a perfectly delicious and hearty Thai noodle soup.   It is the perfect blend of two Asian cultures.  Until November, this tasty noodle soup will tide me over nicely. Sluuurrrrppp!!!

Serves 2

For marinade:
1 1" piece ginger, peeled and smashed
3 cloves, garlic peeled and whole
1 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 duck breasts

For the broth:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2" inch slice ginger, peeled and smashed
6 bok choy leaves, sliced diagonally
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms
6 baby corn, halved
2 1/2 tbsp yellow curry paste
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 whole star anise
2 servings dried instant ramen noodles

Sriracha (optional)
Fresh lime wedges (optional but recommended)
Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

For duck:
1. Mix all ingredients for marinade in a large non-reactive bowl.  Reserve 4 tbsp of marinade in a separate small bowl.  Add duck to large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinade overnight.

2.  The next morning, remove duck from marinade and place on a covered plate to dry out for a few hours in the refrigerator. Removing the wetness of the marinade will allow the duck skin to get crispier.

3.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prior to putting duck breasts in oven, make sure to score the skin to allow oil to cook out. Roast duck breasts for 1/2 hour, draining oil to ensure crispiness.

4.  Raise heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for another 1/2 hour. Within the last 10 minutes, glaze the duck with the reserve marinade. Don't worry if the duck becomes slightly blackened on top as this is a result of the soy sauce and honey in the marinade and only adds to the crispiness.

5. Remove from oven and top noodle immediately.

For noodle soup:
1.  In a large pot, warm oil over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and ginger and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Add bok choy, mushrooms, corn, curry paste and lime leaf.  Stirfry together for another few minutes until fully mixed.

2.  Add coconut milk, water, salt, fish sauce and star anise to the mixture.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer for roughly 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together in the broth.
3.  Add noodle to broth, cover and remove from heat.  Allow to stand until noodles are soft. Pour into a large bowl and top with duck. Serve with cilantro, lime and sriracha and top as you like. The broth will already be spicy, so only add the sriracha if you really want some intense heat.


  1. Absolutely gorgeous dish! I love the combination of ingredients that you used here!

    1. Thanks Renee! It was my first foray into making duck. Looking forward to trying again since its one of my favorite proteins.