Chinese Beer-braised Duck
Beer-braised Duck is a common home-cooked dish that it’s hard to categorize which cuisine it belong to. Beer is used to tenderize the meat and to reduce the gamey taste of duck meat.
Why duck meat
Though chicken seems more popular worldwide, I prefer duck and goose, for their deeper meaty flavour. The colour of duck meat looks slightly darker than chicken but it is still categorized as white meat. Actually duck meat is a healthy choice of meat for it offers more protein than chicken per 100g, and contains Vitamin B and selenium.
Cantonese believe in ‘eat in season/不时不食’, a famous line in The Analects of Confucius. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, duck is the suitable poultry for summer. Duck meat is considered a ‘mildly cold’ food and can eliminate wetness in the body. Believe it or not, like most Cantonese, I have respected and followed many of these food theories that have been practiced from generation to generation.
How to cook in Chinese way
A lot of people are reluctant to cook duck, for it seems to be a fatty and chewy meat. But I quite like its strong gamey flavour. Though duck has thicker fat under the skin since they stay in water most of time, the majority of the fat comes from the thick skin, so just remove as much as you want before cooking. I usually remove the skin and fat on the neck, tail and some on thigh. No matter roast, grill, pan-fry or stir-fry, the key theory is to crisp the skin and reduce the fat.
In many other cuisines, usually only duck breast and thighs are consumed. Chinese wouldn’t allow any food waste. Take the most famous duck meat dish, Peking Duck for example, the tasty duck meat and crispy skin would be for wrap and the bones would be in soup with winter gourd. Moreover, Cantonese Roasted Duck is always with bones. Meat with bones tastes better. Even internal organs and blood can be delicious. Such as Soy Sauce Marinated Duck Liver and Intestine, Duck Blood and Vermicelli Soup. In summer, my family would make whole duck soup with some Chinese herbal medicine, such as adlay and Chinese yam, leaner type of duck is used.
Duck meat is thick and chewy thus the most common way to cook is braising, usually in soy sauce based seasoning and with lots of dry and fresh herbs. Dry herbs such as Chinese pepper, star-anise, cassia bark, clove, and more, are used in braising meat, particularly gamey meat. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to mix and match them. Pre-packed bittern ingredients can be easily obtained in Asian grocery store. Sometimes I would grab half handful of them casually, no matter what they are.
- Duck, 1, about 2kg
- Carrot, 1, optional. I use carrot for sweetening so I don’t add more sugar later
- Green chili pepper, 5
- Chinese celery, or called leaf celery, a bunch. If it’s unavailable, use green onion, garlic sprout or coriander.
How to do –
- Ingredients preparation – duck chopped to big pieces, tail removed, also trim off some fat skin and fat, you may also remove the head, neck and feet, but most Chinese would keep them, bones give more flavour; carrot also cut to chunks; ginger thickly sliced; garlic and shallot peeled; green chili peppers and Chinese celery roughly chopped;
- Heat a little oil in a big skillet, in medium-high heat, skin side down first, pan-fry the duck pieces till golden brown and crispy; remove them from the skillet; strain the duck oil with a tea strainer. Keep them for later use, such as roasted potato;
3. Heat a little oil (or duck oil) in a big wok or casserole, in medium-high heat, stir-fry the dried herbs, red chilies, ginger, garlic, and shallot, till fragrant; put the duck and carrot in, toss and stir-fry till ingredients mixed well;
4. Add soy sauce, Douban sauce, and beer in, bring to boil in high heat and have a taste, adjust with more salt if necessary; lid on and simmer in medium heat for half an hour or a little longer till the duck meat is tender to your preference; stir once or twice;
5. Reduce the sauce to your preference in high heat, but make sure you have some tasty sauce for the rice or noodles. Add green chili peppers and Chinese celery in, toss and stir well, and it’s good to serve. I sometimes save the sauce to hotpot lettuce.
- 肉鸭 1只，约2千克
- 胡萝卜 1根
- 姜 50克
- 蒜 10瓣
- 红葱头 5个
- 红辣椒 5颗
- 干辣椒 10颗
- 八角 2颗
- 草果 1颗
- 桂皮 1块
- 香叶 4片
- 青尖椒 5个
- 唐芹 1小把
- 啤酒 500毫升
- 生抽 5汤匙
- 老抽 2汤匙
- 豆瓣酱 2汤匙
- 糖 适量
- 盐 适量
- 备料 – 鸭肉剁成大块，我一般会去掉一部分皮和脂肪，例如鸭脖、鸭腿根、尾部；姜切大片；胡萝卜斜刀切块；唐芹切段；青尖椒斜刀切段；