This simple soup of braised Chinese vegetables with smoked duck is even better the day after making, but it’s worth the wait. Jap chai is Thai and Chinese for "what’s been caught" and here that refers to the best vegies at the market on the day, so any Asian greens will fit the bill perfectly.
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 tbsp garlic cloves
- pinch of salt
- pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) yellow bean sauce (see Note)
- 1 small wombok (Chinese cabbage), coarsely chopped
- 1 small bunch gai larn (Chinese broccoli), chopped
- 1 bunch spring onions (Chinese green shallots), chopped
- 1 long daikon (Japanese radish), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch Siamese watercress (morning glory), chopped
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) oyster sauce soy sauce, to taste pinch of sugar
- 1tbsp dtang chai (preserved vegetables)
- sliced smoked duck (or Chinese roast duck), to serve
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.
Standing time overnight if time permits
Soak the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain, then cut off the stems and coarsely chop.
Pound the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle into a paste.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds or just until golden. Stir in the yellow bean sauce and fry until fragrant, golden and nutty. Add the chopped vegetables and mushrooms and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, preserved vegetables and 2 litres water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 40-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. You may need to add a little more water to the pan during cooking to prevent the bottom from catching. Remove from the heat, stand until cool, then refrigerate overnight if time permits. Re-heat gently, then ladle into bowls and serve topped with sliced smoked duck.
• Yellow bean sauce is made from fermented yellow soy beans. In Thailand it is usually used in sauces and soups that have a Chinese influence such as this soup. The sauce comes in both creamy white and honey-brown varieties and this dish uses the latter. Look for a sauce which contains unbroken beans and rinse if desired, for a purer flavour.