Friday, July 1, 2011

姜母鸭 - Ginger Mom Duck

If you love ginger and duck, this dish is to die for. If you love your mom, it's even better. In Chinese, the name refers to the mother root of the ginger plant, the central root from which arise the baby roots. Cute huh?

Getting happy. Look at all that ginger! Two cups!
This is the wine we used. It was good, but my mom kept insisting that beer would be better. Alas, we had none on hand. My mom then proceeded to sing the praises of the above brand of sesame oil after we liberally dumped it into the wok.

mom: "This brand is really really good! Oh." pause.
me: "What?"
mom: "It expired last year."

The integral component to this dish's success. Shhhh...they'll all be doing it...

Jiang Mu Ya – Ginger Mom Duck

The legs, thighs, and wings from one duck (or 1.5 lb assorted cuts)

2 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine

a few turns of freshly ground Szechuan peppercorn

½ tsp kosher salt

1 cup pickled ginger, sliced ¼ inch thick

1 cup fresh ginger, sliced ¼ inch thick

½ cup sesame oil

3 Tbsp sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 cup sake or beer or Shaoxing Wine

3 carrots, roughly chopped

Additional add-ins (listed in order from lengthy to short cooking times): frozen dried chestnuts, peanuts, sweet potatoes, shiitake, seaweed, kabocha, nagaimo

Chop duck into bite size pieces, being careful not to splatter duck guts all over the place. Marinate the duck with 2 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine, a few turns of freshly ground Szechuan peppercorn, and ½ tsp kosher salt for 15 minutes while you prepare your ginger and veggies. Heat the sesame oil in a wok over high heat, and add all of the ginger slices and stir fry briefly. Throw the duck on top, add the lid, and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes to brown the duck. Stir the contents around, and brown the other sides. Add the 3 Tbsp sugar to the bubbling liquid and let it caramelize for a minute. Then add the 1/3 cup soy sauce, tian jiang (if using), and enough sake or beer to barely cover. Add carrots and chestnuts (and any other tough cooking veggies) and transfer to pressure cooker, and cook on high for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just add the lid and maintain a rapid simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from pressure cooker and transfer to a heavy pot, and add any additional add-ins depending on how long they need to cook (most take about 30 minutes). When almost done, take off the lid and let the liquid boil off to concentrate the yum yums, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Cook’s Notes

- If you only have fresh ginger, you can just use 2 cups fresh ginger and skip the pickled stuff.

- Make your own pickled ginger by marinating

- For the add-ins, feel free to get creative! Just try to pick stuff that holds up to stewing and doesn’t release too much liquid (such as leafy greens)

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