Red Thai Curry with Duck and Persimon

Kaeng Phed Ped Yang

To my eternal shame, I ignored these persimon* over the Christmas period. Plenty of fruit came and went and throughout, these unusual, slightly alien-looking, bright orange globes simply waited there, patiently in the bowl. No doubt whenever anyone approached the bowl, with hand hovering over, there were steadfast whispers of - 'This is it chaps One of us is going over the top. Good luck!' And yet time and time again, hopes were dashed, with bitter accusations to follow:

'What's wrong with us?'

'Apples, it's always the apples. Bastards.'

'It could be worse, we could be plums. Look at that poor fella over there, all wizened underneath those bananas. It's like he's been forgotten altogether. Look, he's beginning to weep.'

'Those aren't tears Barry.'

Poor persimon, getting the cold shoulder.

Persimons of neglect.
There was a good reason for this though, as persimon falls into that category of fruit that likes to ripen on a whim. They can remain rock hard for weeks, or so it seems. However, if you don't inspect them daily, nay hourly, there is the danger of missing that small window of opportunity; when the fruit is just starting to yield to the touch and just starting to emit a sweet perfume. After that, it's sticky thumb time.

Maybe I am going overboard with all the examining and scrutinising here. I mean I definitely don't go through any sort of daily ritual of thrusting fruit under my nose like the man from Del Monte. I simply pick and go. But I have been burnt before with persimon. After plucking one and shining on my lapel and then biting into it, I am sure that I turned into the veritable picture of child-like disgust afterwards. You know the face. One eye closed, cheeks scrunched up, mouth gurning with half masticated gunge spilling off the tongue. To land splat, on the floor.

I needn't have worried about these persimon. The variety was Rojo Brillante, harvested in Valencia, Spain and are noted for their firm flesh and lack of astringency (I know this because I kept the pamphlet) and true to the script, they deliver on that. Once I tasted one, giving it the thumbs up to the rest of the brood (a bit like the man from Del Monte actually) they were soon devoured and I am sure we will make the best of the season when it rolls around next time. Which is October to January, should you need to know.

I deliberately kept one back though, as I had an idea that the underlying tartness would go well in a spicy red curry, with duck and aubergine. Or Kaeng Phed Ped Yang, as it is known down at my local Thai restaurant.

Alright, so I am basically taking a fairly well known recipe and swapping out the pineapple for persimon here. I don't expect applause. I don't expect flowers. But the sweet persimon really did deliver when I rustled it up for lunch the other day. Where pineapple usually helps to cut through the rich coconut with it's harsh acidity, the aromatic flesh lends a more delicate, redolent quality to the curry.

Other fruit, such as grapes or lychee apparently also work well with Kaeng Phed Ped Yang but stick with persimon, should you want to try this out. Just because it's a bit mysterious still. A little bit 'ooooh' and a litttle bit 'aaaah' if you like. Definitely not 'uuuuuuuuuuuggggh' anyway. I think that sort of persimon is a thing of the past.

*When I first posted this recipe, I was spelling persimon as 'persimmon'...which is a correct way of spelling. But persimon without the added 'm' relates specifically to the Rojo Brilliante by way of trademark, including a much lauded D.O status. The Valencians are obviously very protective of their beloved persimon and rightly so.

Chunks. Duck. Another shot of some persimons.
Red Thai Curry with Duck and Persimon - serves 2

2 duck breasts
2 tbs Thai red curry paste (I used ready made, don't shoot me)
2 tbs sunflower oil
400mls coconut milk
250mls chicken stock
1 persimon, cut into large dice
1 aubergine, cut into large dice
8-10 cherry tomatoes
2 tbs fish sauce
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbs palm sugar or soft brown sugar
1 long red chilli, one half finely chopped, one half sliced
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper
Coriander, for garnish.


First cook your duck breasts by placing them skin side down into a cold frying pan and then place on the hob over a medium to high heat. As the pan heats up, the fat will start to render out and the skin will start to crisp up. Fry skin side down for 5 to 6 minutes and then flip and fry for another 4 to 5 minutes. Depending on the size of the duck breast, this should cook it medium. Leave the duck to rest.

Next, place a wok or saucepan on the hob over a high heat and add the oil. Once it has heated up, add the Thai red curry paste and stir constantly for about about two minutes to cook the paste out. Then add the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and half of the finely chopped chilli and stir, reducing the heat to a simmer.

Throw in the aubergine and cook for about 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and persimon. Cook for a further 2 minutes and the curry should be done. Taste for seasoning and add the lime juice in at the end, stirring through.

Ladle the curry into deep bowls, slice the duck breast on the diagonal and spread across the top and then add a scattering of chilli and coriander for garnish. Thai basil would be a better option, but I couldn't get hold of some.

Serve with boiled jasmine rice.

This picture is a little bit rude. Sorry.


Ginandcrumpets said…
The big question Danny, is when did Sharon fruit become persimmon and for why?
Food Urchin said…
Ginandcrumpets - Sharon got fed up with her name being bandied about all the time.
Unknown said…
oh my word this looks delicious!
ferdiesfoodlab said…
Persimmon always been a bit of a mystery to me, good reminder to try it more often!!

I think Sharon is a reference to the region that the Persimmon comes from! A trick that Rojo Brilliante crowd have missed!! Hardly going to call it X├║quer Valley Fruit though eh!

Did a red curry paste assist for you to try with this rather tasty looking recipe!!

Popular Posts