I own many cookbooks. I love to reading them to learn about techniques, the use of ingredients and understanding how to cook different dishes. I use cookbooks as a source of inspiration to plan what dishes I want to learn to cook and I just love flicking through them and looking at photos of food. But I find that I don’t really cook many recipes from them. I generally don’t follow one recipe. When I want to cook a particular dish I like to google some info or browse through a number of cookbooks and look at a couple of different recipes to see what the essential ingredients are and the general process of cooking the dish. I want to understand how the ingredients come together, their contribution to the taste, and be able to visualize to the process by understanding the basic procedure. This is more important that route learning a recipe. I find that I learn more about cooking this way.
The cookbook that I find myself cooking the most from is David Thompson’s Thai Food, if I am going to cook a Thai dish I figure that if I follow a David Thompson recipe there will be nothing else that can beat it. I will pretty much follow the recipe to a tee.
I found a roast duck and lychee salad recipe in Thai Food and during the summer months I like to eat lighter foods like salads so this was just what I needed with Perth’s never ending summer.
I have to admit that I am a bit weird about cooked fruit and using fruit in salads. I’m not really a big fan of apple pies or Christmas cakes/puddings due to the use of fruit in them. I love eating fresh fruit but I am a little bit conservative when it comes to fruit consumption in cooking. However, I am slowly coming around to it as I experiment a bit more with my cooking.
When I had a roast duck red curry at Nahm Thai on Bulwer Street in Northbridge it had lychee in it and tasted great. The combination of duck and lychee works well, duck seems to go well with fruit like the classic French dish ‘duck a l'orange’ and whenever I eat Chinese BBQ roast duck I love dipping it in some plum sauce.
Roast Duck and Lychee Salad
(recipe from Thai Food by David Thompson)
• 200g (about a quarter of a roast duck), sliced
• 15 lychees, peeled and deseeded
• 3 spring onions, finely shredded
• 1 tablespoon shredded ginger
• 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, fried
• handful of coriander, chopped
• 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
• pinch of sesame seeds
(I bought half a roast duck from Hong Kong BBQ in Northbridge)
• 1 tablespoon plum sauce
• ~ ½ - 1 tablespoon palm sugar (to taste)
• 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
• 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons chicken stock or juices from duck
(When you buy roast duck from restaurants they always give out a little container of plum sauce)
First, make the dressing, it should taste salty, sweet and just a little sour. Combine all the remaining ingredients except the sesame seeds. Dress salad, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.