One of the things I love about Malaysian food is its patchwork of influences from migrants and neighbours. This recipe, with its soy sauce and mushrooms, flags the strong Chinese hand played in the food here, particularly on the west side of the peninsula. Get your butcher to chop the duck into small or ‘curry’ pieces. It’s an easy wintery dinner but one I’d eat all year round.
1 duck (about 1.8k) cut into about 24 pieces
40ml light soy sauce
40ml dark soy sauce
12 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for minimum 30 mins
75g ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (about 0.3cm)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 green onions (scallions), cut into 4cm lengths
30g soy bean sauce (tow cheong)
4 cups water
10g sesame oil
black pepper to taste
10g tapioca flour blended with 20ml water
20ml rice wine
Place duck pieces in a large bowl and toss with 20mls of each soy sauce, reserving the rest for seasoning later.
Cut the mushroom stems out with a small knife and cut the caps into bite sized pieces. Small ones can be left whole. Slice the ginger into 0.3cm slices, chop the garlic finely and cut the green onions into 4cm lengths.
Now make the braising liquid: add the salt, sugar, sesame oil, pepper and remaining soy sauces to the water and stir well.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok and fry the duck pieces in small batches until brown. It’s vital not to overcrowd the wok because everything will just steam and you’ll never get the colour you’re after. Discard any remaining oil which will be pretty murky and rinse the wok.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok and cook the garlic and ginger til golden then stir the soy bean paste through, frying that for a minute. Add the duck, mushrooms and braising liquid. Cover the wok and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until the duck is tender.
If there’s still lots of liquid by the time the duck is cooked, boil quickly to reduce. When you’re happy with the sauce quantity, thicken it with the tapioca flour and water mixture. Ensure you keep stirring as you add the slurry to keep the sauce smooth and cook for about a minute until you can no longer taste the flour. Check for seasoning, adding a splash more light soy if necessary then finally add the rice wine and the green onions.