Duck Egg Curry

Myanmar (Burmese) Duck Egg Curry

Myanmar Duck Egg Curry

Egg curry is a new idea for me, and it really surprised me that I hadn’t considered it before! I tend to bake more than I cook so always have eggs in the house. But often the eggs go passed their best as I struggle to use them up. The main reason I don’t do much cooking is because I don’t like to cook unless there is someone else to cook for. These days my partner is living away as he has gone to university as a mature student, so I find myself having dinner at my sister’s or my mum’s house. Cooking for one can be pretty dull since I tend to stick to a few one-pot recipes.

This Duck Egg Curry I tried for the first time on a recent trip to Myanmar has become my new ‘one pot curry’ recipe! It’s also a tasty way to use up all those left over eggs without having to break out the butter and sugar to bake a cheeky cake… Best served with fresh boiled rice and some stir fried greens!

This dish is commonly found in Myanmar and is a very popular lunch time meal as it is very cheap to make as well as being a quick meal to cook in the morning. I was only in Myanmar for a couple of weeks but learnt that there is still very much a culture of shopping in local wet-markets first thing in the morning. There are more supermarkets popping up in the cities but not many people have refrigerators and electricity is temperamental so it still isn’t practical to stockpile perishable foods.

There are very few ingredients in Duck Egg Curry so can be made from store-cupboard  ingredients if there is no time to visit the market in the morning before the working day starts. In Myanmar it is still the norm that women in the household do the shopping and cooking. As wages are low, it is common to see workers carrying metal tiffin lunch boxes to work in the morning, usually a layer of rice, some curry and some stir fried vegetables. When my colleagues brought out their lunches, I was always excited to see what they had prepared that day. It was so much more exciting than the standard English lunch of sandwiches!

Myanmar Egg Curry

Myanmar Egg Curry

*Recipe courtesy of Harmoneat

Ingredients:

  • 6 Duck Eggs
  • 3 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Shrimp Paste (can fish sauce instead or omit for a vegetarian version)
  • Water
  • 2 tbs Vegetable Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • 6 Inches Ginger Root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

Method:

  • Soak the dried chilli in some warm water for 10 minutes to soften
  • Boil the duck eggs for 5 minutes until hard boiled, once boiled peel the eggs and cut in half horizontally then set to one side
  • Make the curry paste by pounding the re-hydrated chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots in a pestle and mortar until you get a smooth paste (use a blender if you want to be are short on time)
  • In a deep sided frying pan (with a lid) stir fry the curry paste in the vegetable oil to release the fragrance of the spices, around 3 minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, shrimp paste, and a cup of water. Stir to combine and make a thick curry sauce
  • Place all the egg halves face down into the sauce in one even layer and simmer for a few minutes, before turning all the eggs over so the yolks are facing upwards
  • If the sauce is very thick, add some more water before putting the lid on the pan and simmering for 10-15 minutes. Add salt for seasoning
Duck Egg Curry

Duck Egg Curry

I have cooked this recipe using chicken eggs as a substitute very successfully, as duck eggs are a bit harder to come by back home in the UK! This dish is pretty healthy as not a huge amount of oil is used and the eggs yolks bring richness to the curry. It still tastes great without the shrimp paste for vegetarians; I once forgot to add it! 😉

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

This red curry paste is a very simple recipe that forms the basis for ‘red’ curries in Myanmar. Make a big batch and keep a home made jar in the fridge sealed with a layer of oil for an fresh curry paste free from preservatives! 😀

For more recipes from Myanmar, check out Harmoneat’s website where you can find downloadable recipe cards. 😀

Macau ‘Portuguese’ Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

There are lots of different types of custard tarts all from different countries and cultures, all with a slightly different list of ingredients and cooking method. Yesterday I was reminded of the deliciously buttery ‘Portuguese’ custard tarts I had in Macau, an island of the main land of China, which is an ex-Portuguese colony. Due to the history of the island, Macau is a fantastic place to visit to for it’s Chinese-Portuguese fusion food and exploring the what remains of the colonial town. In contrast, post-colonial Macau is also full of over-the-top 5 star hotels and is said to have a gambling industry seven times the size of Vegas!

These custard tarts are made from a buttery puff pastry and are baked until they are caramelised, almost burnt, on top. Not being able to get the Portuguese custard tarts out of my head, I set about finding a recipe and go to work on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon…

Portuguese Custard Tarts - Pasteis de Nata

Portuguese Custard Tarts – Pasteis de Nata
Flaky puff pastry and not a soggy bottom in sight!

After quite a bit of internet searching, comparing recipes for the original Portuguese recipe and the Macau recipe, I decided to go for the one on allrecipes.com due to the rave reviews and the helpful suggestions on how to adjust the recipe. Luckily for me, most recipes I found called for using ready made puff pastry, so who am I to question this? 🙂

After researching this recipe so much I made some changes to the recipe, so this is the final list of ingredients I used:

  • 300 ml whole milk
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla paste (I don’t have vanilla pods, too expensive!)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500g pack of puff pastry

The method I used was pretty much the same so no need to tell you about that!

Mini Portuguese Custard Tarts

Mini Portuguese Custard Tarts

The recipe was for 12 cupcake sized tarts, however I had pastry and custard left over so I ended up making some mini ones too in a mini cupcake pan. Great for little kids who don’t ever finish a whole dessert for themselves…

These tarts are so delicious and buttery, however even though I halved the sugar suggested in the original recipe they were still really sweet! So next time I’ll reduce the sugar event more and maybe add even more double cream to make them extra rich!

Macau Portuguese Custard Tarts

Macau Portuguese Custard Tarts

Since making this recipe, I have come across a  which includes a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice in the custard. Definitely worth a try to balance out the flavours…

Actual Portuguese Tarts bought in Macau (January 2012)

Actual Portuguese Tarts bought in Macau (January 2012)

As you can see from the photo above, there are different versions of the tarts available. I think we bought three custard flavour, two coconut milk flavour and one ‘sharks fin’ flavour from a well known bakery. They were straight out of the oven and I burnt my mouth on them, but boy were they worth it!