I always thought that since I am a Teochew, I should be proud of and able to cook some of the traditional Teochew dishes. And one of them is of course the Braised Duck. I remembered when we were young, my mum used to cook this dish on special occasions. Without fail, she will also make the Teochew Png Kueh/Teochew Glutinous Rice Dumpling (潮州饭粿/潮州红桃粄) and we will also be able to enjoy this treat the following day, when these kuehs are fried and then served with the braised duck sauce.
Those times ducks came with loads of feathers on them and my mum will soak the duck in a pot of water then assign one of us to pluck the feathers before she can braise that duckie. Mind you, we had to work hard before we can enjoy the fruits of our labour! Nowadays, it is so much easier for us to braise a duck as most of the feathers are removed and you can buy decently clean ducks either in the wet markets or supermarkets.
Once the duck is braised for about 45 minutes or an hour, the aromatic smell of the duck in the braising liquid will permeate the whole house. Somehow, you will begin to feel hungry.
I have been braising duck the way my mum does it and hope that you will enjoy it as much as my family does.
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Serves 4 to 6 persons
For the duck:
1 whole large duck
3 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon five spice powder
2 tablespoons superior black soya sauce
For the braising sauce:
40 grams of white sugar
100g galangal (cut into thick slices)
½ teaspoon five spice powder
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anises
5 cloves of garlic
1-1.5 cups superior dark soya sauce
1 cup superior light soya sauce
Water (sufficient to slightly cover the duck)
Optional (quantity will depend on how many you want to add)
Hard boiled eggs
Firm bean curd
4 Bean curd puff
Garlic Chilli Vinegar Dipping Sauce:
7 cloves garlic (chopped finely then pound)
2 bird eyes chillies (chopped finely then pound)
10 tablespoons of white vinegar
Preparation for the duck:
- Rub salt over the whole duck and let it marinate for half an hour or more to get rid of some of its odour.
- Wash off salt and also wax from the under wing and thighs of the duck and remove any feathers.
- Drain well.
- Rub the black soya sauce and five spice powder all over the duck including the cavity and let it marinate for an hour.
Braising of the duck:
- Heat up wok and add sugar till caramelized.
- Transfer duck and coat the breast side first with the caramelized sugar and then turn to the other side and repeat till the whole duck is nicely coated with the sugar.
- Then turn back the duck, breast side down.
- Next, add the rest of the ingredients.
- Add in any of the optional ingredients at this point.
- Bring to boil and lower to medium heat, cover and let it braise for an hour. Turn the duck every 30 minutes.
- Turn the duck again and braise for another 10 minutes. The meat is usually cooked by now and the meat is firm. If you prefer the meat to be softer, braise for another 10 minutes.
Making the dipping sauce:
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Serving the duck:
- Once the duck is cooked, let it rest for at least an hour or more in the gravy.
- Then take it out from the gravy and drain before cutting it into pieces. Transfer them on a serving plate.
- Cut any additional ingredients such as eggs, gizzards or bean curd puff and transfer them to the same serving plate as the duck and pour some gravy over them and garnish.
- Goes well with the traditional garlic chilli vinegar dipping sauce.