I realised a couple of months ago that I don’t seem to cook as much Asian food as I used to. You know, things like the everyday stews, clear soups and light meat dishes I grew up on. My diet has evolved into a quasi-British-Mediterranean one with lots more rich, fatty, carb heavy foods involved, inevitably to the detriment of my silhouette.
So now I am resolved to get in more Asian-type dishes bursting with flavour and textures in my repertoire, plus they’re usually healthier anyway. On the other hand, I didn’t want to faff around the kitchen too much prepping for these meals. Not asking for much am I?
Anyway, I found this really simple recipe from Vietnam in Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. When you think of Vietnamese cuisine, you typically associate it with pho, banh mi or rice spring rolls. This dish is surprising in that it is quite rich (oops) and requires a generous amount of braising time.
I halved the amount of duck the recipe called for but kept all the others the same. This is sufficient as a main dish together with other side dishes for a table of four.
Duck braised in Spiced Orange Juice (Vit nau cam)
1.25-1.5kg of duck, jointed into large pieces
50g garlic, crushed
50g peeled ginger, thinly sliced
1 litre freshly squeezed orange juice (I cheated with Tropicana)
4 tbsp fish sauce (umami goodness!)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 star anise
4 red bird’s eye chillies (leave whole, the spiciness comes through from the long braise. I only had green ones this time)
2 fat lemongrass stalks, core finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whites of spring onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
Use the remainder green tops sliced lengthwise thinly as garnish
1/2 tsp cornflour
1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Dry fry the duck pieces, skin-side down for 5-6 minutes until golden. The fat from the duck will melt and seal the meat. Turn over and cook for 2-4 minutes until brown. Set aside on a plate.
2. Lower the heat. Use 2 tbsps of the duck oil to fry the garlic and ginger until lightly golden, but not crisp.
3. Add all the other ingredients except the spring onions in. Season with black pepper. Return the duck pieces into the wok and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, turning the duck over occasionally.
Edit: Top tip – to ensure you have enough sauce to spoon over your duck when eating, keep topping the stew up with orange juice so it doesn’t dry out.
4. Add the white part of the spring onions in and cook for a further 30 minutes until the duck is tender.
5. Now this is where Rick says to remove the duck and simmer the sauce vigorously until reduced but I found that my sauce had already done that by now. Mix the cornflour with 1 tsp cold water, stir in and simmer to thicken a little more.
6. Serve with the sliced spring onions.