Thai Mango Curry Duck
Served with steamed jasmine rice, our Mango Curry Duck is a delicious, Thai-inspired dish that’s very simple to make at home.
Many Thai restaurants include a variety of duck dishes on their menus and there is a good reason for that. Duck is a distinctly flavorful meat that can really hold its own when paired with the bold, fragrant spices of Thai cuisine.
If you really don’t care for duck though, you can replace it with pork tenderloin and we’ve included instructions for that in the recipe notes.
This dish is made in two steps. First, the duck is pan-seared until the skin is crisp and golden and set aside for slicing while you make the sauce.
We combine a pre-made red curry paste (see notes) with coconut milk, fish sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice and a bit of sugar, then simmer that mixture along with stir-fried garlic and red bell pepper.
The finishing touch is to add the mango, sliced duck and a handful of chopped scallions and coat them all with the creamy sauce.
- 4 boneless (8 ounce) duck breasts (Pekin/Long Island)
- 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1-1/3 cups coconut milk
- 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons red curry paste (or more to taste - see notes)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 4 servings steamed jasmine rice
- Being careful not to cut into the meat, score the skin on each duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern at 1/4-inch intervals. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a heavy frying pan over medium heat (about 275°F) to render the fat. You want to see the fat begin to melt and sizzle slightly, but you are not trying to achieve a quick sear at this point.
- Without turning, continue cooking the duck for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the majority of the fat has rendered from the breast and the skin is golden brown and crisp.
- Once the duck skin is crisp, pour off the fat and turn the breasts over. Raise the heat slightly and continue cooking until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 125°F (medium-rare), 3 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- While the duck is cooking, add the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice to a bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Taste and add more curry paste if desired. Set aside.
- Return the pan you cooked the duck in to the stove over medium-high heat.
- Add the minced garlic and red bell pepper strips and stir-fry just until the garlic is fragrant, 1 minute.
- Stir in the coconut milk mixture and bring it to a slow simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, then add the mango and scallions.
- Return the duck to the pan, coat in sauce and simmer just long enough to heat through.
- To serve, plate individual portions of jasmine rice, duck, mango and bell pepper. Spoon some sauce over each serving and garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Transfer the remaining sauce to a serving bowl to pass at the table.
About Thai red curry paste:
How much curry paste you add to this dish is a matter of taste that depends on the brand you use and how spicy it is.
There are a number of brands of pre-made Thai curry paste on the market. Our favorite is called Hand Brand, a product of Thailand that can be purchased in Asian grocery stores or online from ImportFood.com.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can also make your own curry paste. Import Food has a base recipe you can use for a variety of Thai curries including red, green, yellow, panang and massaman and they sell all the ingredients you'll need.
Substituting pork tenderloin for duck:
This recipe can easily be made with pork tenderloin. Simply trim the fat and silver skin from a 1 to 1-1/4 lb pork tenderloin, season with salt and pepper and roast it at 425°F for 20 minutes.
Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.