Heat up a medium-sized pot and sauté the shallots, ginger and garlic in the vegetable oil until just beginning to caramelise. Add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute, stirring often, until it releases its aromas. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce and fry until they form a boiling syrup. Add the lime leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and tamarind paste and cook until the leaves soften. Add the coconut milk or cream and
Heat up a deep-sided pan large enough to hold the duck breast and place the duck in, skin-side down. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes to render some of the fat from it and to colour it golden brown. Remove the duck and dust it on both sides with the garam masala.
Place the corn halves in the pan and cook over a moderate-high heat in the duck fat until it’s coloured all over. Remove from the pan and return the duck, continuing to cook for 2 more minutes on the skin side, then turn over and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave it to rest in the pan and it will be nicely pink when you eat it.
While the duck’s cooking, bring
Cut the corn kernels from the cob and put to one side. Pick some Thai basil and coriander leaves from the stalks and thinly slice the duck.
Taste the laksa broth for chilli heat, sweetness and seasoning, adding either some fresh chopped chilli, palm sugar, fish sauce or salt to taste. Bring it to a gentle boil and stir in the squid. Count to 20 and it’s ready to serve.
Drain the noodles and divide amongst preheated bowls. Ladle on the broth making sure everyone gets some squid, then place the sliced duck, corn, Thai basil and coriander on top. Scatter on the crispy shallots and it’s ready.
© 2010 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.