Search this blog


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Five-Spiced Duck Legs with Lotus Root

Today is Father's day.  If I were lucky enough to spend the day with my father, I would most likely treat him to one of my numerous culinary creations.  I probably would not make any Sichuan recipes for him because he spends 3 months of the year in the Sichuan province of China and is an expert in fine Sichuan dining.  I probably wouldn't make Indian food for him either, because he makes his own state of the art Indian food and gets enough of it when he's visiting family.  If I were to cook for my father today, I would make some sort of fight food with special spice, French fusion using noble products, and not make such a fuss in preparations, because the best part of the day would not be eating, it would be when he would look at me with his tender eyes after seeing what I had planned, and would say to me "Oh Niiniii.." with a soft smile while pulling me toward him for a hug and letting out a little laugh.  Yes, that's how it would go if he were here.  Right this second, he is in Chengdu in China, which is why I decided to make this very tasty duck.  I wouldn't call this authentic, because I'm not sure the crockpot is used often in China, but I know duck legs very well, and the best way to enjoy them is after they have been "confites," or slow cooked to a moist meat-falling-off-the-bones sort of nirvana.  The spices and marinade used are what make it typically Chinese.  (The authentic way would be to steam a whole marinated duck, then deep frying it to make it crispy..that was not about to happen today in my kitchen).  To go with the duck legs is a section of lotus root.  The magical vegetable often used in Chinese medicine ground to a powder and taken to help boost the immune system, mood, digestion, blood pressure, and even lower body temperature in case of fever.  It's quite interesting in texture for it stays crunchy and is delicately sweet.  The slices are also very beautiful.  This meal I'm sure my father would approve of.  Cooking Sichuan style makes me feel closer to him, so it was a perfect choice for today, given the distance circumstance.
Serves 4-6
For the Duck:
4 duck legs
3 tsp five spice powder
1 Tbsp ground Sichuan pepper
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp black vinegar
2 tsp doubanjiang broadbean chili paste
1Tbsp soy sauce
For the Lotus:
1 section sliced lotus root (about 1 lb), soaked in water, then rinsed
2-3Tbsp duck fat (or oil)
1 red chili
1 green chili
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 beaten egg
1.  Prepare the duck.  Make a marinade out of all the ingredients and rub it well into the legs.  Let marinate overnight.
2.  Place the marinated duck legs into the crock pot and cook on low for about 6 hours.  Some fat should have rendered.  Scoop it out and save it for the lotus.
3.  Make the lotus.  Toss the drained slices into the coating.
4.  Heat some of the fat in a wok and add the coated lotus slices in.  Cook until crispy on each side, maybe about 1-2 minutes each side.  Work in batches so to not overcrowd your wok and add the fat as needed.  Reserve the cooked lotus but leave the fat in the wok.
5.  Add the chilis, ginger, and garlic to the wok and stir fry until fragrant.  Add the crispy lotus back into the wok and deglaze with the soy sauce.  Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.

I served mine with a mix of basmati and red rice.  This all worked perfectly together.  The spices infused into the duck meat and the lotus provided a perfect crunchy texture to counter the moist melt in your mouth duck.
I think he would be proud...
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment