Soy bean and tofu stir fry with pickled cabbage, better known as BBC.

The ingredients.

We all know and love the BBC from Ying Chow- don’t we? Well I have had a few requests for this dish and Sarah spotted it in the background of the last post on smoked duck so I thought I would give you my recipe made up from eating there so many times, and from frequent cooking, it is shaping up to be quite good. My freak of a vegan sister loves it and out of anything (I can cook) in the whole world she asked for BBC for her birthday ‘treat’. Weird.

Anyway, instead of buying fried tofu I buy firm tofu, slice it like haloumi, dry it in paper towel and fry it in peanut oil to get a nice golden colour and texture happening. After more time on paper towel to absorb the oil I slice it into the size shown in the photo below for the dish.

I should clear up the BBC thing, it stands for broad bean, bean curd dish, even though they mean soy beans.

To the recipe:

2 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

1 cup pickled cabbage, rinsed well and squeezed dry in paper towel

½ tsp sugar

2 (roughly) 6 x 6cm pieces of firm tofu, sliced into rectangles 5mm thick, press onto paper towel to remove moisture

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

2 spring onions, white part only, sliced

1 cup fresh soy beans, (they come frozen in Chinese supermarkets)

1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 fresh birdseye chilli, sliced (optional garnish)

Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of the oil in a wok and fry the pickled cabbage for a minute. Add the sugar and stir until incorporated. Tip the cabbage onto a plate and put aside for now.

Heat another tablespoon of oil and fry the tofu slices until golden brown, remove and slice ready for the dish.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and fry the ginger for 10 seconds then add the spring onions and fry for another 10 seconds. Add the soy beans and stir fry for a minute then add the soy sauce. Return the cabbage to the wok and stir through then put the tofu into the wok, give it a stir around then take it off the heat once the tofu is hot enough and has absorbed some of the flavours. Serve straight away with smoked duck, or not. If you are vegan, just have it with a nice glass of water and some brown rice.


Green tea and spice smoked duck.

Ok, well it has been a long time between ducks I know, so here is a quick little recipe to whet your appetites again. Steamed, smoked and roasted duck. Allow 2-3 days.

Inspiration came from the recent Chinese new year celebrations (have a good year all you dragons). Before I start here is two things you should know about smoking duck inside your house (and I have learnt from experience) use an extraction fan, and when I say line your wok with tin foil, you should really do it.

You will need: 1 duck, 2 tblsp. Sichuan salt and pepper, 3 slices ginger, 3 star anise plus 1 tblsp. for the smoking (you can use broken ones for this), 1 tblsp. Shoaxing, 4 tblsp. green tea, 1 brown cardamom pod, 1 tblsp whole mace blades, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sugar.

To start with you need to rinse the duck under cold water and dry with paper towel then chop off the tail, wing tips and neck so she will fit on a plate in your steamer. See here for my steamer set up on a different post. Sprinkle the inside and outside of the duck with 1 tblsp. Sichuan salt and pepper. Put the ginger,  3 star anise and shoaxing in the cavity of the duck, put the duck on its plate in the steamer and steam over plenty of water for 1 1/4 hours. Reserve the juices from the plate and the cavity for later.

To smoke the duck, line a wok with two layers of tin foil, put the tea, rest of the star anise, cardamom and mace in the bottom of the wok. Put a round wire cake rack in the wok 2 or 3 cm. above the tea and spice (you may need to cut it to size with tin snips). Rest the duck on the rack, put the wok over a high heat, turn on your extraction fan and wait for the smoke. When there is smoke happening, put a lid on the wok and smoke the duck for 10 minutes. Turn your oven on to 220 degrees or crank it as high as you can.

This is before smoking:

Next you need to roast the duck to render more fat and brown the skin. So to roast the duck, put it ion a rack in an oven tray lined with foil and roast for 20 minutes, rotating, or until you get an even brown, crisp skin. Reheat the reserved juices from steaming the duck and mix with the tsp. of soy sauce and the sugar to make a sauce for the duck.

Chop the duck and serve with the Sichuan salt and pepper and the sauce you just made if you were listening properly. I have served this duck with a soy bean and tofu stir fry that I will tell you about on the other blog at some time.

Clay pot duck with salted plums, (for Cheryl).

Hi Lucy, one of my favouirte dishes from Cafe Kowloon is their bayberry duck, am having trouble finding a recipe to try and create it at home – any ideas? do you sell bayberrys at Jagger?
See you at the market

I responded with this:

Hi Cheryl, I am on to it. Firstly there is such a thing as a bay berry but it is only used for making candles, not duck recipes. I have been talking to the staff/ owner of Cafe Kowloon and the main flavouring in this dish is the salted, dried plum. The bay berry name is just the name of the sauce (their name anyway). I have ordered the duck and am having it tonight but from a quick tasting, and it is yum, I can make something up for you that you can make at home. I will send you my findings asap and will probably post a recipe as well. Lucy

Turns out I was quite wrong! Bay berries are grown in China and Japan, I even bought some when I was in China, they were a beautiful looking strawberry coloured fruit served in a newspaper cone and had a tart strawberry flavour. I guess this is where Cafe Kowloon got their name for the dish even if it does not contain the actual fruit it is the sweet and sour flavour that is important and it comes from salted plums, soy sauce and rock sugar.

This recipe can take either one or two days depending on your time. What you need: 1 duck, 3 cm ginger roughly sliced, 1 clove garlic crushed, 2 pieces tangerine peel, 1 piece licorice root, 2 star anise, 1/2 tsp whole white pepper corns, 2 tsp shoaxing, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 1/2 tblsp dark soy, 15 salted dried plums, pitted, 2 walnut sized pieces yellow rock sugar, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle.

I bought a Waechters duck from Feast in the Market. Rinse the duck in cold water, pat dry with paper towel, cut the extra fat from the cavity. Heat a pan with a little oil and brown the duck all over. Put the duck, breast down, in a Chinese Clay pot or other oven pot with a lid. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough cold water to reach the 3/4 mark on the duck.

Put in a 150 degree oven and cook 2 hours, turning over after 1 hour. Leave overnight to develop flavours, again, if you have the time. Cut the breast off the duck and slice. Serve the legs chopped Chinese style, through the bone or just in two pieces sliced through the joint

Neil Perry’s ‘Crispy-pressed duck with mandarin sauce’.

I have been calling it 3 day duck (for the last 3 days). And look, I know that it is not what you would call normal to want to go home after a long day at work and chop a duck in half lengthways, marinate it overnight, steam it the next day, de-bone it completely, press it under a 4k weight for another night, coat it in whisked egg white then flour, steam it again, have you lost me already?  It does not stop there, next you deep fry it, chop it and serve it with a mandarin sauce. Not normal behaviour really, but  Niel Perry makes it sound so simple. What I will attempt to do with this post is give you photos for some of the steps as a photo tells a thousand words, or the extra few hundred we need to make it actually simple, not just theoretically simple. Broken down into 3 days does actually make it less daunting. Thank you to Kasia, the generous provider of such a stunning cook book and to Neil Perry of course.

Day 1, Get your whole duck, chop it in half and marinade it overnight (preferably, but you don’t have to which would cut the process back to 2 day duck): Make the marinade first as it needs to cool before being rubbed over duck.

Marinade: 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce, 3 tbsp shaoxing (Chinese rice wine), 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced, 2 pieces dried tangerine peel, 1 knob ginger, peeled and chopped, 1 star anise, crushed, 1 tbsp yellow rock sugar, crushed.

Dried tangerine peel can be sold as dried citrus peel or orange peel. The rock sugar is easy to find in Asian supermarkets as well and both the sugar and  star anise can be crushed in a mortar and pestle. Heat all the marinade ingredients in a saucepan and simmer a minute to infuse the flavours, then cool.

To prepare the duck firstly chop off the neck and the wings to the first joint. Using a heavy clever and I use the wooden pestle from my mortar for extra muscle, using knife in one hand and bashing down on the clever with the pestle in the other hand, firstly chop through the breast bone. Then remove the back bone by chopping down both sides. This will remove the tail as well which wont fit in the steamer anyway. Now you have two halves of duck with breast and leg, when removing the back bone try not to cut away any of the thigh. Put the duck on a plate that will fit in a steamer and rub the marinade all over the duck. Cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2, Steam, de-bone and press duck: I have cut the bottom out of one bamboo steamer to get a double height, so two on top of each other then the lid on top of that, it is the only way to fit in a whole duck. The bases are sold separately to the lids so you can pile them on top of each other and they are not expensive. The other option to steam a whole duck is the metal steamers from Chinese shops. Put the plate with the duck and all its marinade in the steamer and steam for 1 hour (from the time when the water is boiling). Let the duck cool enough to handle then turn skin side down and remove the rib bones and leg bones with a small sharp knife, remove the wing entirely if it is easier. You are trying to achieve two pieces of boneless duck without cutting through the skin. Wrap each piece loosely in cling film and place on a chopping board that fits inside a plastic container. You need another container that fits in the first one. On top of this you need 4k of weight, I used my mortar and pestle filled with some rice, pasta, flour etc. To the fridge overnight again. Here is my set up and the finished pressed duck.

Day 3, Crust duck, deep fry and make sauce: You need 2 egg whites, 4 Tbsp corn flour and 2 Tbsp rice flour (I used brown rice flour) for the crust and 1 litre of oil (I used grape seed) to deep fry. See below for the sauce as you should be ready to make this while the duck steams again.

Unwrap the duck and put the 2 halves back on the steamer plate. Sift the flours together. Whisk the egg whites until fluffy but before soft peaks form, coat the skin side of the duck halves in the egg white then sift the flour onto the egg white coated duck, blowing off the excess. Steam again for 25 minutes.

For the sauce you need: 5 mandarins, 4cm ginger, 3 tbsp grated palm sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce. Peel 2 mandarins with a vegetable peeler then julienne the peel. Peel off the rest of the peel and rub the pith off the outside of the 2 mandarins then slice between the segments to remove each segment without the adjoining white pith. Juice the remaining 2 or 3 mandarins to make 2 1/2 tablespoons of juice. Peel and julienne the ginger. Heat the palm sugar with 3 tbsp water in a sauce pan until the sugar dissolves. Add the julienne mandarin and ginger and cook until the sugar is a deep, almost burnt brown, then add the juice, fish sauce and segments of mandarin. Take off the heat but keep warm or zap over a high heat for a few seconds again when serving. Use a good fish sauce like the Megachef brand endorsed by David Thompson, there is so much of it in the sauce it needs to be good.

Heat the grape seed oil in a wok to 180 degrees and deep fry the duck until attractively golden brown and crisp, about 1 1/2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to take out of the oil and put on paper towel on a chopping board. Slice into 2-3cm thick slices and serve with the sauce, some on top but most on side to keep the duck crisp. I didn’t fry them together because the oil would have cooled too much.

Sichuan salt and pepper duck with steamed buns.

I think it was my favourite meal in China. A Sichuan restaurant in Shanghai where I ordered the crisply fried duck which arrived with steamed buns, cucumber and a chilli sauce. The restaurant was also memorable, though not as much as that duck, but because it was simply massive. It was so huge yet so popular, arriving at around 7pm (about usual for dinner you would think) there was not a seat in this maybe 1000 seat establishment. The next night I arrived at 5pm and got a seat AND a friendly, helpful waiter. He told me to eat the duck, cucumber and sauce in the steamed bun, I just had to work out how to organise this using chop sticks.

This is a quick, non-Chinese way to cook this dish. Non-Chinese because a Chinese cook would cook the whole duck and serve it on the bone and quick because the duck breast takes 8 minutes to steam whereas the whole duck or just the legs as I would normally cook take 1 1/4 hours.

Sichuan salt and pepper

1 tblsp Sichuan pepper

3 tblsp sea salt flakes

In a hot, dry fry pan heat the salt and pepper until just smoking. Tip into a mortar and pound with a pestle until roughly ground.

2 duck breasts

1 tblsp shoaxing

3 slices ginger

2 spring onions, chopped

Marinate the duck breasts overnight in 1/2 tsp of the Sichuan salt and pepper blend, the shoaxing, ginger and spring onions. The remaining salt and pepper goes on your table to sprinkle on the cooked duck.

For the duck you also need:

cornflour for dusting

grape seed oil for deep-frying

Ok they are not the prettiest steamed buns you have ever seen but they are easy to make and so good with the crisp, tasty duck. Actually I like them just dunked in the chilli sauce too.

Steamed buns

1/4 cup warm milk

1/4 cup warm water

3 tsp castor sugar

1 tsp dry yeast

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

peanut or grape seed oil

Put the milk and water in a glass and stir in the sugar and yeast, leave for 10 minutes until frothy on top. Put the flour in a bowl make a well in the middle and add the yeast liquid plus an extra tablespoon of water. Stir with one finger in a circular motion until the dough starts to come together then get your whole hand in and form the dough into a ball. Knead for 5 minutes. Smear a clean bowl with some oil and leave the dough here, covered with cling film, in a warm place, for 1 hour.

Knock the dough down then pull and twist the buns from the dough to make irregular rather ugly looking buns like I did.

Put the buns on small pieces of grease proof paper and steam for 10-12 minutes.

Back to the duck

Steam the duck on the plate with the marinade, in a steamer over a wok, for 8-10 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Rest the duck another 10 minutes then slice on an angle. Save the juices that form on the plate in the steamer, they go in the chilli sauce which you can make while the duck is resting.

Chilli sauce

2 tblsp chilli soy bean paste

2 tsp chilli oil

1 tsp sugar

Mix the chilli paste with the chilli oil, sugar and about 3 tablespoons of the juices from steaming the duck.

To fry the duck heat 2 cups of grape seed oil in a sauce pan. Have some paper towel and a slotted spoon at the ready. Coat the duck slices well in the cornflour then add carefully to the hot oil. The oil is hot enough if a slice of duck bubbles up well when it hits the oil. I twice fried the duck for extra crispness but it works well to fry once until golden brown then drain on the paper towel. Serve absolutely asap.

Duck dumpling soup.

This is a quick post just to let you know that I have really done this duck justice. From the last post I had a few duck dumplings that we just could not manage to eat, no matter how hard we tried, so I froze them. The bones were left as well, so I made a stock/ soup. Here you have it, duck dumpling soup, with some purple basil, spring onions and young indeterminate leaves from the garden (beetroot or silverbeet or spinach.) The dumplings cooked just as well boiled in the stock as they did fried.

For the soup: the bones from a Cantonese roast duck, 500 ml duck stock, 2cm ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 onion. Add cold water to cover the duck and simmer all ingredients together, 30-40 minutes.

Pan fried duck dumplings (duck jiaoza)

Ducklicious warns that some images in this post may be offensive to vegans, so if you are my sister, hit the back button now. Oh, too late? You saw it? So sorry Pops.

This rather handsome chap came from Hong fat Cantonese bbq restaurant on Grote st, Adelaide. There are quite a few Cantonese restaurants in and around China town that have the bbq pork, soy chickens and roast ducks in the window and a chef ready to chop your roast treats to order. I usually go to this one, Bbq city on Gouger St, it has a really high turnover and is one of the closest to my end of the Central Market.

A roast duck costs $24. This is the first meal I made from it, a not-really Peking duck with pancakes. An easy mid-week meal.

The star of the show came Saturday night when I realised I was not meant to be at Kasias birthday dinner (see you next week, can’t wait!) and suddenly I had some time to play.

Duck Jiaoza

4 small chicken thigh fillets or 2 large ones

1 tsp ginger, finely grated

1 tsp garlic, finely grated

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

2 spring onions finely chopped

1/4 of a large chinese cabbage or 1/2 a small one, finely sliced

1 tblsp salt

1/2 Cantonese roast duck

1 packet gow gee wrappers, sometimes called dumpling wrappers, always round

oil for frying, peanut or grape seed

Put the chicken into a food processor and blitz a few times. Add the ginger, garlic, soy, sesame, pepper and blitz again to make a fairly course mixture. Add spring onions and combine. Leave for 20 minutes to blend flavours.

Add the salt to the cabbage and leave in a ceramic bowl for 20 minutes.

Take the meat off the duck and chop into a small, rough dice.

Rinse the cabbage really well, dump onto some paper towel and squeeze the water out. Add the duck and cabbage to the chicken and combine. This is your filling.

To make the dumplings take a wrapper in one hand, spoon a large teaspoon of filling into the middle, wet the edge of one half of the wrapper and encase the filling into a semi-circle, crimping the edge to seal. I am no expert at wrapping dumplings and I can’t tell you how to do it properly, as long as you end up with the crimping at he top and a flat bottom to fry you are doing ok.

To cook the dumplings heat a fry pan with a coating of oil to a medium high heat add the dumplings, flat bottoms down and fry until they are golden brown. This will take under 2 minutes. Fill the fry pan with water so that the water comes half way up the sides of the dumplings then put a lid on the fry pan. The water will bubble up and reduce down to nothing cooking the dumplings over about 3 minutes. Take the lid off once the water has evaporated and the dumplings will resume frying again. Let them crisp up on the bottoms then serve.

The dipping sauce is just soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame oil. A chilli paste and chinkiang vinegar is usually served as other options in dumpling restaurants. This recipe made plenty for two people as a meal or could do four or six as a starter. I still have the bones and a leg so I can also make a noodle soup. Thrifty!