As you may or may not be aware, I am half Chinese, my roots originating in Brunei, South East Asia. The rest of me involves Australia, Canada, China, England and Ireland, but that’s another story. The reason I mention this is because I was more than excited to watch Rick Stein’s far eastern odyssey a few months ago. To the point that I relentlessly annoyed my housemates by namedropping all the places visited and foods featured in this BBC series.
It was an unsurprising inevitability that I bought a copy of the cookbook when it came out. Normally it only takes a couple of recipes for me to go out and purchase a book. Whereupon I would write the down the two recipes, leave it to one side, simmer in dust and leave it to make friends with my Idiots Guide to Music Theory and Evelyn Waugh collection. BUT! This book I have actually read, it is full of recipes that my mother used to cook for me as a child, including Hainan chicken rice, mussaman beef curry, rice porridge and rojak (a Malaysian fruit salad of some sorts). If you all promise not to tell her, but when I read it I get a little sentimental and miss my Mumsy dearly.
It was clearly a popular Christmas present as quite a few of my chums got a copy from some bearded chap in a red tracksuit who likes chimneys. This includes the Brat. Now it may seen that I like to give her a bit of a ribbing, but she is a great foodie (probably more so than me) and does more than her fair share of cooking. Every now and then she pulls out all the stops and creates an absolute belter of a dish. In this case she cooked an absolutely cracking Vietnamese duck recipe called Vit nau cam. At first I was a bit sceptical because she was using Tropicana (no bits) in lieu of freshly squeezed orange juice. I was clearly proved wrong as she stuck to the rest of recipe, taking in all of Rick’s yoda like guidance and produced one of the best and most alternative duck dishes I have ever eaten. All hail the brat!
Vietnamese duck braised in spiced orange juice
You will need:
2.5kg Duck (jointed into 6 pieces)
50g garlic (crushed)
50g ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 litre freshly squeezed orange juice
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 star anise
4 red chillies (bird’s eyes are best)
2 lemongrass stalks (finely chopped)
ground black pepper
8 spring onions (cut in half and finely chopped sideways)
½ tsp cornflour
- Heat a large heavy-based pan over a medium to high heat
- Cook the duck skin side down for 5 to 6 minutes until crisp then on the other side for 2 minutes. Once cooked, set aside.
- Put all but 2 tbsp of the duck oil in a container and save for later, preferably for your next round of roast potatoes.
- On a low heat, add the garlic and ginger.
- Once cooked through, add the orange juice, fish sauce, star anise, chillies, lemongrass and season with black pepper.
- Return the duck, partially cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 mins.
- Once the duck is tender, remove pieces onto a warmed serving dish and put to one side.
- Skim off the excess fat, bring sauce to a boil and simmer vigorously until reduced and concentrated in flavour.
- Mix cornflour with 1 tsp of water, mix into sauce and simmer for a further minute.
- Remove from heat, generously pour over the duck, scatter over shredded spring onion and serve with steamed rice and maybe some vegetables.