Shanghai soy duck

Shanghai soy duck

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  • 4 or more as part of a Chinese meal
  • Easy
  • Dairy free
  • 15 minutes
  • 45 minutes


  • 1 whole free-range Pekin duck (about 1.8kg)
  • About 10ml (2t) salt
  • For the master stock
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 slices ginger, smashed
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • 1 T Sichuan peppercorns
  • ½ cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup dark soy sauce
  • ½ cup yellow rock sugar

Cooking Instructions

Rinse the duck, then drain. Remove any visible fat, the parson’s nose, and excess skin. Blanch the duck in a large saucepan of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse it in cold running water and pat it dry. Season the inside with salt.

Place it in a pot with all the ingredients for the master stock. Add enough water to cover the duck.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat but leave the duck to cool in the liquid for 2 to 3 hours. Once cool enough to refrigerate, do so. (It can be made a day ahead.)

To serve, drain and chop through the bones into bite-sized pieces using a cleaver. Serve at room temperature or hot, reheated in the stock.

Serve it with the stock or soy, or with black vinegar mixed with crushed fresh ginger, for dipping.

Cook’s tip: On the side, shiitake mushrooms braised in the master stock are great, as is steamed or stir-fried bok choy. You could use the duck in a salad or deep-fry the pieces in hot oil until crisp, and serve with plum sauce.


TASTE’s take:

A whole duck is cooked in a master stock, which varies from chef to chef, but is usually based on soy sauce, rice wine, rock sugar, fresh ginger and star anise. The nice thing about it is that it can be kept and used again and again, simply freshened up with some new spices.

Strain the stock and bring it back to the boil, then cool it and store it in the fridge or freezer. Remarkably, it matures with age. In Cantonese cooking, a whole chicken is cooked in the same way

Phillippa Cheifitz Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz
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Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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