This glorious dish has been a Nonya mainstay for generations. A pressure cooker is useful for this, but if you use one you should cook the dish without using pressure for the last half hour to reduce and concentrate the spicy juices that characterize the dish. If you can find lengths of sugar cane, they can take the place of ordinary sugar for a really authentic tasting result.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
- 1 prepared duck (about 1.5 kg/3½ lb), trimmed of excess fat
- 45 ml/3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 45 g/3 tablespoons ground (minced) onions
- 30 g/2 tablespoons garlic puree
- 30 g/2 tablespoons ground cilantro (coriander)
- 5 ml/1 teaspoon black pepper
- 30 ml/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 20 cm/8 inch sugar cane, cut into 6 pieces or 30 ml/2 tablespoons sugar
- 60 ml/4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 2 cinnamon sticks, 10 cm/4 inches long
- 6 cloves
- 1.5 liters/2½ pints/6 cups water, or more
Wash the duck and dry it well. Heat the oil in a deep wok or pan and add the onions, garlic puree and cilantro. Fry gently for 5 minutes. Put the duck into the wok or pan and fry for about 10 minutes, turning several times, to brown the skin all over.
Stir in all the other ingredients, cover the pan and gently simmer over a very low heat for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender. Alternatively, transfer the duck and other ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook under high pressure for 30 minutes, then de-pressurize and braise for a further 30 minutes.
Remove the duck from the pan and keep it warm. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a furious boil to reduce it to a syrupy consistency.
Cut the duck into large serving pieces, removing any large bones. Arrange on a serving dish and pour the sauce over it. Serve with plain rice.