Kitchen Nerdery

Food experiments in an Asian kitchen in Wellington.
Claypot rice with lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and mutton bird. The salty and fatty mutton bird makes it perfect for the claypot and is a brilliant substitute for salted fish. So so delicious!! 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muttonbird

Claypot rice with lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and mutton bird. The salty and fatty mutton bird makes it perfect for the claypot and is a brilliant substitute for salted fish. So so delicious!!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muttonbird

So cute!!!! Mini cupcakes all ready for Petone Winter Carnival tomorrow. Fingers crossed the weather gets better!! #cupcakes

So cute!!!! Mini cupcakes all ready for Petone Winter Carnival tomorrow. Fingers crossed the weather gets better!! #cupcakes

Bak Kut Teh. The perfect antidote to a chilly winter’s night. Hot, garlicky porky broth, served with fragrant oily rice and simple veggies. Must eat with fresh cut tongue-zinging chillies!

Bak Kut Teh. The perfect antidote to a chilly winter’s night. Hot, garlicky porky broth, served with fragrant oily rice and simple veggies. Must eat with fresh cut tongue-zinging chillies!

Poached pear tart for Christmas lunch. Recipe from “You’re all invited” by Margot Henderson.  #christmas #food #sweets

Poached pear tart for Christmas lunch. Recipe from “You’re all invited” by Margot Henderson. #christmas #food #sweets

Tonight’s dinner - Dan Dan Mian. Inspired by Tampopo. #noodles #ramen

Tonight’s dinner - Dan Dan Mian. Inspired by Tampopo. #noodles #ramen

Part 1 (of many steps): Making a Peking out of a Duck

So after having a duck sitting in my freezer for about a month, I decided to finally thaw it out to attempt the Peking duck. Researching and reading up recipes was fun albeit a little confusing. I watched YouTube videos of how traditional Chinese chefs did them and they looked very intimidating - especially the blowing up bit. Not with a dynamite but literally, BLOWING into the duck to separate the skin from the flesh. (Skip to 2:01 if you want to just see the blowing bit) 

I finally settled on Andrea Nguyen’s recipe from her amazing blog VietWorldKitchen 

I decided to take her advice on scalding the duck with the glaze and drying it out in the refrigerator  instead of scalding it with hot water and hanging it out to dry. I didn’t have the space and was pretty sure the dog would get to it before we had a chance to cook it. 

Here’s how I adapted the recipe and steps: 

Step 1: Preparing the duck

Cut away the access skin and fat at the base of the duck. image

Next I scrubbed the duck down with fairly large sea salt crystals and pulled out any remaining bits of hair. Then I patted it dry with a paper towel. 

Step 2: Blowing up the duck 

For this task, I decided that the straw would be my blowing apparatus of choice. I didn’t want to have direct lip contact with a duck (never thought I’d say that!) and didn’t have a bicycle pump. So a straw it was.

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First I secured the loose skin around the cavity with a satay stick. Then I made an incision at the base of the neck. 

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Next, the moment of truth. I never thought I’d ever get so intimate with a naked duck.

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I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your skin out! 

It took quite a few deep breaths and blowing to get the duck puffy and balloon like. In fact, Shu had to help me because at one point, I was feeling a little woozy. At times, I had to cover up the neck area with my hand to keep the air contained. image

All in all though, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and rather satisfying! 

Step 3: Browning the duck 

I changed the recipe slightly from VietWorldKitchen and added molasses to the glazing mixture. Recipe: 

2 tablespoon soya sauce 

2 tablespoon dark soya sauce 

3 tablespoon ShaoXing rice wine

2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon molasses 

4 cups water

Put all ingredients in a small pot, bring to a boil then turn down fire to bring to a simmer.

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I scalded to duck with the mixture in a deep dish pan. You’ll need to pull out the wings to get the “armpits” of the duck. Turn it around gently and scald the other side too. 


Step 4: Airing out 

Next I put it in the fridge on an oven tray with a rack on top. The duck will be left in here for about 24 hours and be ready for a roast tomorrow! 

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Homemade lontong wei! Jangan main! #malay #food #tempeh

Homemade lontong wei! Jangan main! #malay #food #tempeh

Sam Buchanan. Putting me to shame with szechuan duck and mapo tofu.  Amazing!  #szechuan #food

Sam Buchanan. Putting me to shame with szechuan duck and mapo tofu. Amazing! #szechuan #food