Give your dishes an exciting flavour oomph with 8 amazing Asian dipping sauces!
Chicken is probably the most common poultry enjoyed around the globe, but did you know Asians have a love for duck as well? The Chinese, in particular, has a centuries-long culinary history with duck. From ancient royal courts to modern-day banquet restaurants, budget diners, urban households and rural villages, there’s a great variety of divinely tasty duck dishes beyond the world renowned Peking Duck. Southeast Asians, too, savour duck in many gastronomic ways, from whole-bird roast, barbecue and satay skewers to stir-fry, spicy curries and even salad.
Duck is enjoyed as a special treat among Asians because of its bold savoury flavour. The skin is often made crisp, with moist and tender meat within. When cooked right, duck can taste closer to red meat than chicken, and is also more nutritious – with much higher protein, vitamins and iron content, yet lower in cholesterol and sodium.
Want to try it at home? Read on to learn the basics of carving up and cooking a whole duck!
How to butcher a whole duck
Step 1: Remove the neck & wing tips
Handling a whole duck is pretty much the same as chicken – a sharp knife or cleaver would suffice, and keep the scraps if you’d like to make a meaty, yummy broth. For now, let’s get to the cutting: begin by removing the duck’s neck, then trim the wing tips by slicing the joints.
Step 2: Clear the excess skin & fat
Ducks have leaner meat but more fat than chicken. The fat is also where the duck’s rich flavour comes from. You don’t want to keep too much of it on a whole bird, though. When cooked, excess fat can get a little too chewy. Most of it is just under the skin, and you can remove them as you carve. But remember to be gentle so as to not disturb the skin too much, as it can wrinkle and shrink up when you cook. For starters, trim away the excess fat from the neck and cavity areas.
Step 3: Remove the legs
Next, cut one leg at a time. Grab a drumstick, pull out and stretch the leg, and slice gently through the taut skin between the leg and the duck’s body. Then flip the duck onto its side for the leg to face upward. Grab the leg with your thumb gripping the exposed flesh side, and hold the body against your cutting board with your other hand. Then, in your gripping hand, use your fingers to push the ball joint out of its socket, and pull with your thumb. Cut through the exposed joint to remove the leg. Flip over the duck and repeat with the second leg.
Step 4: Cut away the backbone
Hold up the duck with the neck area pressed against the cutting board, and the duck’s cavity facing up. Grip and pull the backbone down toward the board to crack it. Then cut the spine section at the rib cage area.
Step 5: Trim off the fat in the duck legs & backbone
The duck thighs have excess pockets of fat under the skin at the top and the bottom drumstick area. You can actually remove these with your hands. There’s also long pieces of excess skin at the lower duck leg quarters – trim these with your knife. Do leave enough skin to cover the meat.
For the backbone, slit your knife under skin parallel to the bone and trim off the skin and fat. These scraps will enrich your duck broth’s flavour.
How to roast a whole duck
However, if you’re looking to skip the butchering and you’re after a recipe that uses the whole duck, a basic roast is the simplest way to yummify a whole duck. Preheat your oven to 190°C. Pat the duck dry with a paper towel, then season the skin with salt. Keep the duck’s bottom cavity open so that it cooks evenly. Put the duck on your roasting tray and pop it in the oven. Roast till the skin turns crispy golden. Then let it rest for about 20 minutes, and cut to serve.
Tasty Asian duck delights for you to savour
Feeling a bit more adventurous than the basic roast duck? Come indulge in these handpicked Asian duck delights:
Teochew Braised Duck
The Chinese Teochew-style braised duck is an easy, mouth-watering recipe you should try. Flavoured with a blend of cinnamon, star anise, galangal, garlic, dried chilies, dark soy sauce and a pinch of white sugar. Simmered and braised with water in low heat till the duck meat is tender. Then let cool and chop up the duck to savour!
Braised Duck with Taro
Earthy and nutty with a subtle sweet undertone, taro is a favourite tuber-veggie among the Chinese. Yummy to pair with meats in savoury dishes as it takes on the rich flavours. Braise your whole duck with a savory blend of light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine, seasoned with aromatic spices. Then chop up your duck into thighs and meaty pieces and enjoy this irresistible braised delight with taro. Come grab the authentic recipe.
Of course, the Peking Duck is a must! Carve out the breast area from your raw whole duck so that it’s boneless, then marinate with light soy sauce, Shao Xing wine and Five-Spice Powder to make the always delish Peking Duck – full recipe here.
Duck Noodle Soup
Make your duck breast taste even more exciting in this Vietnamese-style spicy noodle soup. Flavoured with chillies, assorted fragrant herbs and spices, delish savoury sauces. Here’s the award-winning slurp-tastic recipe for you to challenge!
Double Cooked Duck Leg with Red Curry Sauce
Love the spicy savoury taste of Thai Red Curry? Then this gastronomic wonder dish by Chef Mod is definitely worth the effort. Cooked up your cut duck legs in this an absolute indulgence of bold complex flavours, pleasurable textures and a creamy spicy sauce that’s made to wow.
More Flavourful Asian Duck Recipes
Duck is always sublime in Asian cuisines, with many wondrous flavours to explore and enjoy. So come check out our collection of Asian duck recipes for you to savour!
Get your fresh duck from Luv-A-Duck, a family-owned Australian business that has produced fresh, high-quality ducks since the 1960s. Their ducks are cared for meticulously by trained experts in large comfortable barns with an abundance of natural light and easy access to fresh water; and fed a wholesome and balanced diet of grains with no added hormones, stimulants or additives. So you can be sure of ethically bred and all-natural ducks in the range of Luv-A-Duck products. Available at supermarkets near you. Visit their official website to learn more.