Quack … Quack …

I love duck! But I don’t like the changes they’ve made on the WordPress dashboard at all :(. I’ve had to re-acquaint myself with all the buttons and it’s taking me that much longer to post. That and the fact that my manuscript deadline is looming. I know I haven’t been posting as often but please be patient with me. The end is near!

Anyway, let me leave you with this very simple and very tasty Asian version of coq au vin. Well, not quite, but duck is also considered poultry, and if you think of soy sauce as wine … oh, and it’s braised in my very French Staub Dutch/French oven too! It comes from my good friend Angie’s mum, Aunty Rose, who hails from Singapore.

Teochew Braised Duck (Lo Ack)

Photo by Lara Ferroni
Photo by Lara Ferroni

As a newly-wed, Rosalind Yeo learned how to make this dish from her mother-in-law using a Chinese rice bowl as a measuring implement. The recipe is now a family favorite, often served at Chinese New Year as well as for everyday meals. While it originates in Chaozhou province, China, the addition of lemongrass and galangal is very Southeast Asian. The sweetness of the duck is contrasted sharply by the tart dipping sauce and you get a tingly sweet sour sensation in your mouth. You can also add fried tofu or hard boiled eggs 20 minutes before the duck is done. Or jazz up the meat a little with a medley of intestines, duck liver, or gizzards. Do I hear “yum?”

Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Makes: 4 to 6 servings as part of a family-style meal

One 4- to 5-pound duck, rinsed, and patted dry with paper towels
1 to 2 tablespoons coarse salt
4 whole cloves
4 whole pieces star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed (cut off bottom root end and 4 to 5 inches at the top woody end where the green meets the yellow, peel off loose outer layer), bruised and halved
One 1-inch-thick slice galangal, smashed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
Chili-lime dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Sprinkle salt on the duck skin and in its cavity.

In a 14-inch wok or 6-quart Dutch oven (or any vessel large enough to hold the whole duck), combine 2 cups water, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, lemongrass, galangal, sugar, peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Gently lower duck into the wok. There should be enough liquid to reach halfway up the duck. Top it up with water, if necessary. Baste the duck every 5 minutes or so for the first 20 minutes so that it colors evenly. Cover and simmer for another 40 minutes to 1 hour until duck is tender and the meat is falling off the bones. Halfway through the cooking process, flip the duck. If the sauce looks like it’s drying up, add more water.

To check for doneness, poke duck in the thigh with a chopstick. If the juices run clear, the duck is cooked. Or, use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.

Turn off the heat and leave the duck immersed in the sauce for another hour if desired.

Cut the duck into serving pieces and serve with rice and chili-lime dipping sauce.

Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce

1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 long fresh red chili (like Holland, Fresno or cayenne), or 1 tablespoon bottled chili paste (sambal oelek)
3 tablespoons lime juice (3 key limes)

Pound the garlic and chilies in a mortar and pestle, or pulse in a small food processor, until a coarse paste forms. Add lime juice and mix well.


16 thoughts on “Quack … Quack …

  1. I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with
    the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like
    this one nowadays.

  2. Pingback: Evie
  3. Oh and I forgot to mention that the dipping sauce was a perfect complement for this recipe. Adds such a great contrast and works so well.

  4. Turned out beautifully.. I used some duck pieces bought from the store rather than a whole duck. The meat turned out to be so tender from the long cook time and the flavor was amazing.

    I’m really loving this recipe.. and I imagine it may also work well with pork or chicken legs.. Have to try it out!

  5. Thanks for the recipe. I am making it right now for the first time. It is so simple.. takes about 10 minutes to prepare, then just waiting now for the duck to cook to perfection.

  6. Foodhoe, now is your opportunity to recreate the dishes. Remember, cooking is all about trial and error and all grandmothers cook the best food because they’ve been cooking for decades!

    Helen, you just need to invite some friends over for a duck/goose dinner!

    Marvin, this is probably the easiest duck recipe I’ve ever come across. And it’s oh-so tasty too!

    Eating Club Vancouver, thanks and please visit often!

  7. I’ve been trying to get initiated into duck and this looks like the perfect recipe!

    Haven’t made a duck dish ever and this seems to fit all our requirements: easy to make and a familiar taste-profile.

    Thanks for sharing!

    PS Love the blog and am enjoying looking and learning from all the grandmothers here.

  8. I’ve always been too intimidated to try preparing duck myself. But this recipe makes it seem pretty manageable after all. Mmmm, I could imagine that duck with the dipping sauce.

  9. Lovely recipe! My mother’s friend gave me a great recipe for Teochiu Braised Goose. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it at home, as my husband’s vegetarian. But I can imagine what the goose and duck must taste like!

    Helen Yuet Ling Pang

  10. wow that sounds absolutely delicious, especially with the dipping sauce. btw, I love the name of your blog. Growing up, my grandmother made the best food of all time and when she passed away we were left without anything but fond memories. My mother was too intimidated to learn the dishes that were made without measurements, what a shame…

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