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  • 4 duck marylands, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 small winter melon, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Thai preserved lime, halved
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and stems discarded
  • freshly julienned ginger
  • garlic chives


  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
  • 1 x 4 cm (1½ in) piece ginger, peeled
  • 8 white peppercorns
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) Chinese cooking wine
  • 60 g (2 oz) rock candy, pounded
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) oyster sauce
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) yellow bean soy
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For better flavour, make this soup the day before it is served. Leave the soup to settle so that the fat floats to the top, solidifies and seals in the soup. Before reheating, skim off the film of solidified fat.

To make the soup, pound the garlic, coriander roots, ginger, peppercorns and onion in a mortar and pestle until well combined and a uniform paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot. Add the paste and fry until it smells crisp and nutty. Drain off the excess oil and deglaze the pot with the Chinese cooking wine. Add the rock candy, oyster sauce and yellow bean soy and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and skim. Strain the stock and keep warm.

Set a large steamer over boiling water. In a bowl that will fit into the steamer, place the duck pieces, winter melon, preserved lime and mushrooms. Place the bowl in the steamer, then pour the strained stock almost to the top of the bowl. Cover with a layer of baking paper, then with foil. Steam the soup for 1½ hours, checking the steamer’s water level throughout, refilling with boiling water as necessary.

When done, take the ingredients out of the steamer and check that the duck is cooked through. The meat should fall easily off the bone and the winter melon should be almost translucent. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To serve, ladle the soup, duck and winter melon into bowls. Top each with ginger and garlic chives. Serve hot.


Recipe from Longrain: Modern Thai Food by Martin Boetz, with photographs by Jeremy Simons. Published by Hardie Grant Books.