We learned how to cook this at a street food stall in Hong Kong, using the traditional clay pot. It’s fine to use an ordinary casserole dish or a sauté pan with a lid – the food will still taste great. You can get the clay pots here but you have to handle them carefully on the heat so they don’t crack.
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (you can also use fresh)
- 2 large duck breasts
- 40 ml soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 15 ml Shaoxing rice wine
- 15 ml oyster sauce
- ½ tbsp cornflour
- 7 g dried wood ear mushrooms
- groundnut oil (or peanut oil), for frying
- 25 g fresh root ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
- ½ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 garlic clove, cut into slivers
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced (reserve 6–8 slices for the garnish)
- 2 spring onions, each cut into 3 at an angle
- 6 stems of fresh choi sum or some pak choi
- flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
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.
Soaking/marinating time 30 minutes
Put the mushrooms in a bowl of hot water to soak for 30 minutes. If using fresh shiitake mushrooms do not soak them.
Remove the skin from the duck breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, oyster sauce and cornflour to make a marinade. Stir everything well, then add the pieces of duck breast and stir until they are all well coated. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the duck in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Once the mushrooms have finished soaking, drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Using a sharp knife, thinly shred the wood ear mushrooms. Remove the stalks from the shiitake mushrooms and discard them, then cut the caps in half.
If you don’t have a clay pot, use a casserole dish or sauté pan with a lid and place it on the hob. Heat 30 ml oil, add the ginger and cook until it has softened slightly. Push it to one side of the pot.
Remove the pieces of duck from the marinade and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Reserve the marinade liquid. Add the duck to the hot pot and fry to seal on all sides, then add the Sichuan pepper. Now add all the mushrooms, the garlic and chilli, then pour in the reserved marinade. Turn down the heat and cook for 10–12 minutes, depending on the size of the duck pieces and how well you like your duck cooked. Be careful not to cook the duck for too long, though, or it will be tough.
A couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time add the spring onions, choi sum, (or pak choi) and stir. Pop the lid on and cook until the greens are slightly wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – but remember that the soy sauce is salty so go easy. Garnish with the reserved slices of chilli before serving.
Recipes and images from The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $39.99, hbk, available here)