Posts Tagged ‘duck’

Salted Vegetable Duck Soup

May 15, 2008

This is my favourite soup. No complicated steps just requires patience.

You will notice in most of my instructions, I don’t give exact quantity. Reason being that I find cooking savoury dishes very subjective to the person cooking and/or eating. You can roughly gauge the quantity from the images posted. **if you really need help, you can contact me direct =)

Preparation time: 30 min

Cooking time: 5 Hours ( in pressure cooker) or 7 hours (on stove)

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

  1. Whole Duck, bone separated with skin removed (get the poultry seller to prepare it for you
  2. Ginger
  3. Preserved Mustard Vegetable
  4. Sichuan Preserved Vegetable optional (find out the different types of preserved vegetable here)
  5. Tomatos
  6. Chinese Sour Plum
  7. Chinese Wine

Preparation:

Step 1: Prepare the duck by blanching the duck slightly:pouring hot water over them quickly without soaking, it removes the “duckie smell” from the duck. This method is a traditional method that is being passed down from grandma which I find made a difference to my soup’s taste, however, its effectiveness is debatable.

Step 2: Peel Ginger and smash the ginger slightly to release flavor. I added a bit more ginger then usual as it was raining yesterday, but usually i would recommend like half of what you see.

3) Place bones (bones only not the meaty part/legs) and ginger into the pot to boil. Use just enough water to cover the bones and ginger. Allow to boil for 3 hours in pressure cooker or 5 hours in pot: this process helps thicken the flavor of the broth.

4) While the duck is in the pot, prepare the preserve vegetables. I am using both mustard vage and sichuan vege because i like both kinds and they each add a different kind of flavor to the soup, but using either one be fine. Cut preserve vegetables into thick strips then soak in hot water. Put aside for later use.

Rational behind soaking: The preserve vegetables tend to be very salty, by soaking them release excess salt, if not you may end up with a very salt soup, which might overpower the duck’s flavor.

5) When the broth is done, put in the rest of the meaty parts, Chinese sour plum and the drained preserved vegetables into the soup to boil for another 1(pressure cooker) or 2 hours (pot on stove). Add more hot water if necessary.

**Do not add cold water as it might affect the chemical reaction in the soup. =) Something I learned from a book on soups

*I would usually recommend Japanese plum for cooking as they are more delicate in taste. However, for
Chinese soups or heavy meat, the Chinese plums are more suitable.

6) Your soup should be done and sufficiently flavored after long hours of boiling, sip to try if the flavor is of liking. You can always boil it longer for thicker flavors. Refrain from adding too much salt though, as the preserve vegetable still contain some salt that will continue to flavor the soup. – If really necessary, add before serving.

Once satisfied with the flavor, add in tomatoes for the finishing touch! – Tomatoes should affect the acidity by a little only. Boil for another 15 minutes to cook tomatoes, unless you like well cooked tomatoes, try not to over boil them. Personally, I like them marshy, so i leave them to cook for about 30 min.

7) Your soup is almost done! At this time you can add some Chinese wine (2 table spoon) to add more body to the soup. Bring to boil again and the soup is ready to be served!

Hope you like it!

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Wet Markets in Singapore… My trip there

May 14, 2008

How familiar are you with your wet market? I find that there are lesser young Singaporeans visiting the wet markets today, which in my opinion is a big mistake if you are a real foodie or cook, because this is the place where you find the freshest and finest ingredients.

Contrary to what most people assume, wet markets aren’t that wet and dirty after all, though i do agree it does smell a little. Wet market have evolved to be be very visitor friendly for beginners as well as to avid fresh grocery shoppers. The food is definitely clean too. And most important of all you get a good deal for many things.

There are cases where some grocers/butcher do overcharge if you are a newbie (not the ones i introduce here
), I trick is to hear what the other people in the market ask and watch what they do, especially when they ask for prices. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as Romans does”.

I visited my favourite wet market this morning at Geylang St 17 and as usual, I got a cart full of fresh goodies to prepare simple dishes to drool over. Unfortunately, I can’t link to the map now as the street directory SG is down – will post it up once it is ready!

First of all, let me introduce you to Uncle Willy, the Butcher (Please don’t laugh, its really his name)!

I must say, Uncle Willy has the freshest pork cuts in town and at the most reasonable price. I have been patronizing his store for about 3 years and he has never once failed me.

From the lovely pork ribs for soup, lean meat mince for pasta, fatty pork belly for stew and even the pig’s kidney for my sister’s confinement meals, they are all fresh without the “piggy” smell.

Being in a household of 10 family members including my dearest housekeepers, I buy a significant amount of meat… yes we are all carnivorous. Of which, my favorite is the full rack of pork chops I always get from him. They tend to take longer to prepare, but the outcome of juicy chops is worth much more then the effort required.

You can find him in the market right at the corner of the meat section (#01-97), or call him directly at 91858593 to order the meat cuts you want, usually 2 days in advance. Let him know that you are recommended by the young girl who lives at Katong. Haha~

Next up: The must visit provision shop!

I call them the king and queen of spices! Uncle and Auntie always give me the best tips on how to cook with spices and they often help me decide what to cook for dinner.

This type of provision stores which sell chinese herbs and spices are very common in wet markets. They are often more then willing to give patrons a good 101 intro to cooking traditional asian cuisine and are also glad to introduce to you their galore of ready spices.

Try out their plum sauce – tangy sweet and sour plum sauce, perfect marinate for your pork loins! Find them at #01-96.

Next up: Poultry!

If you want fat duck/chicken, beautiful marylands or the very nourishing black chicken, here is the place to get it. Similar to Uncle Willy’s store, 108 has very fresh poultry that you will sure to taste different when you roast your chicken.

A note to all of you whom have never visited the wet market:

You will find a lot of treasures not only in terms of getting good deals for fresh food, but also gaining a lot of new knowledge specifically to cooking asian cusine. I learn something new everytime I go to the market.For example: A tip on treating sore throat, which i will share in the subsequent postings.

Things to look out for in subsequent posting after my grocery trip:

1) Salty Vegetable Duck Soup – Xian Cai Ya Tan

2) Emperor Herbal Kampong Chicken – Yao Cai San Ba Ji

3) Purple Barley – to rid heatiness

4) Asian Five Spice Roasted Chicken – Wu Xiang Kao Ji

5) Sesame and Plum sauce Pork Chops

And if there are any other dishes that you would like me to find out for you, I will be more then glad to do so.