Braised Duck in Cucumber Cups

Braised Duck in Cucumber Cups

Braised Duck in Pickled Cucumber Cups

This is a canape version of the Duck with Hoi Sin Sauce in Pancakes often found in your local Chinese restaurant. Created as part of an ‘Asian Inspired’ Afternoon Tea. I’ve previously used a similar recipe for Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes, it’s a healthier version of crispy roast duck as it does not involve deep frying. This canape version is a little fiddly but looks impressive.

Braised Duck in Cucumber Cups

Braised Duck in Cucumber Cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 duck leg quarters
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 100 ml dark soy sauce
  • 50 ml of Chinese rice wine
  • 100 ml water
  • 2 tbs five spice powder
  • 2 tbs cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 inch piece of root ginger smashed up
  • Large cucumber
  • 100 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 100 ml water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Hoi Sin sauce (to serve)
  • Spring onions, julienne (to serve)
Braised Duck in Pickled Cucumber Cups

Braised Duck in Pickled Cucumber Cups

 Method:

  • Duck: In  a large sauce pan, put all the ingredients for the duck together and bring to a slow boil. Simmer the duck legs for 10 minutes with the lid on the sauce pan and then leave to braise in the pan. The residual heat will finish off the cooking so don’t take off the lid! Once completely cooled, leave to one side until needed (Do it the day before and leave the whole pot in the fridge so the meat takes on even more of the lovely flavors)
  • Cucumber: Peel the cucumber and cut into two inch cups. Scoop out most of the watery seeds in the middle but leave the bottom intact so the filling doesn’t fall through. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a large shallow dish and put the prepared cucumber cups in to pickle. Leave for up to 1 hour, but longer if you want it to be really sharp!
  • To assemble:
    • Take the duck out of the braising liquid and shred the duck meat finely.
    • Pat the cucumber cups dry and assemble onto a serving dish.
    • Spread a thin layer of Hoi Sin Sauce in the bottom of each cucumber cup, then stuff a big pinch of duck into the cup.
    • Finish off with a small dollop of Hoi Sin sauce and the spring onions.
'Asian Inspired' Afternoon Tea

‘Asian Inspired’ Afternoon Tea

As mentioned above, I served these Braised Duck in Cucumber Cups as part of an ‘Asian Inspired’ Afternoon Tea where the traditional sandwiches were replaced with Asian style savory canapes. I also made ‘Smoke Salmon and Avocado Sushi’, ‘Thai Prawn Noodle Salad’ and ‘Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Potstickers’. Recipes to follow shortly! 🙂

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber: A Chinese New Year experiment

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

(Happy Chinese New Year!)

This post is dedicated to everyone who is celebrating Chinese New Year on 31st January 2014! I invited some friends over for a celebratory meal and got a little stuck on what to cook. So I bought a Gressingham Duck crown at the supermarket and this is what I came up with…

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

 

Most people will be familiar with deep fried crispy from Cantonese Restaurants all over the world. Deep fried crispy duck is usually made up of shredded duck meat, ‘hoi sin’ sauce, and thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions, all wrapped in a thin wheat pancake. This recipe takes inspiration from this dish but uses other traditional Chinese cooking methods and some of the same flavours. This is a fairly long post, so please stay with me, it’s worth it! 🙂

For the duck, I loosely based the cooking on this recipe for Teochew Braised Duck (Lo Ack/滷鸭) but used a few different ingredients as I didn’t have all of the stated ones. Here’s approximately what I used:

  • 4 star anise
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbs five spice powder
  • 2 tbs cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 inch piece of root ginger smashed up

The method I used was the same as the recipe. However as I cooked it the day before, I left the duck in the braising stock over night in the fridge for extra flavour!

As this recipe slow cooks the duck and doesn’t involve deep frying to get the crispy texture, I thinly sliced the duck meat and got the crispy texture from the pancakes instead…

 

For the pickled cucumber, I drew inspiration once more from one of my favourite cooks, Christine Ho who is my ‘go-to’ cook for Chinese food inspiration. Her recipe for ‘Sweet and Sour Cucumber’ sounded ideal for this dish. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, although I used one large cucumber so kind of guessed the quantities of the vinegar and sugar! (I used white wine vinegar because that was what I saw in the cupboard first!)

 

Spring onion pancakes

Spring onion pancakes

For the Spring Onion Pancakes, again Christine Ho came to the rescue! These ‘pancakes’ are not the fluffy kind that are usually served for breakfast. Think of them as the Chinese version of a pan-fried flat bread. The dough becomes is flaky and crisp whilst the spring onions give them a subtle ‘oniony’ flavour.  I’ve never made these before but have eaten loads of my mum’s ones before. My mum uses lard in her recipe, as with a lot of Chinese recipes but Christine’s ‘Scallion Pancakes‘ don’t call for it, so I wasn’t too sure how they would turn out…

I followed the recipe but as I wanted to be able to use the pancakes to wrap up the duck meat, I decided to go for much thinner versions. these turned out fairly well but not as flaky as the usually thicker spring onion pancakes. I used ready made hoi sin sauce as I wasn’t even going to attempt it myself!

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Although this dish is time consuming to make due to all the different elements, it is fairly satisfying to roll up these tasty morsels and enjoy them with friends for this special occasion.

The duck was moist and full of flavour, the pickled cucumber was great for refreshing the palate and the spring onion pancakes were crisp enough to add a little crunch but still pliable enough to roll up. Delicious! 🙂