With the Lunar New Year approaching, I wanted to try something I would never make for myself on a regular basis. This was a fun different recipe that I was excited to try! Salted duck is a key staple for Nanjing cuisine. While it it just sounds like boiled duck, the subtle broth really compliments the distinct flavor of the duck meat! It was exciting to try something new!
I was adopted from Nanjing, China when I was 1. I have no recollection of my first year whatsoever. As I grew up, I tried to stay connected with my heritage through language. I took about 7 years of Mandarin and got to an elementary level before I stopped in college. I just could not juggle the demand of science and learning a language at the collegiate level. I never truly felt connected to my home country even though I carried so much pride with it.
I have grown up eating Chinese food and takeout, but I always felt that it missed a touch of home. I did some research on what was popular recipes based on the Nanjing area. I knew that Peking duck was one of the most famous dishes to come out of the area, but the recipe itself is extremely time consuming and more difficult for beginner cooks. I too did not have the adequate cooking set up for this recipe. However, I stumbled upon another staple dish called Nanjing salted duck. It was more or less boiled duck that had been specially salt cured overnight.
This recipe was very simple in ingredients and steps, but had a very mild and distinct flavor. I was so excited to try to recreate a more authentic Nanjing recipe. For the duck, I toasted salt, peppercorns, and star anise in a pan. I covered my duck in the salt and left it in the fridge over night. I then boiled it with seasonings, green onion, and ginger. It created this amazing duck broth that I save and used for soups the next day! I found that while it is not the most intricate dish, the mild flavor of the duck stood out next to the green onion and ginger. I enjoyed this over a bed of white rice and a little soy. If I ever have an upset stomach or need a clean meal, this is definitely it. You could even pair with some fresh green beans or box choy.
Nanjing Salted Duck
- 1 duck
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup Szechuan peppercorns
- 4 star anise
- 12-14 cups of water
- Sliced ginger 1/2 cup
- Bunch of green onion
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- Shaoxing wine dry sherry alternative
- In a sauté pan toast your salt peppercorns and star anise. This should take around 5 minutes.
- Take your duck and pat dry.
- Rub your salt mixture on the duck and set in the fridge.
- Let marinate for several hours.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add ginger, scallion, and spices.
- Slowly add your duck and let boil. Turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Turn off heat and soak duck for 40 minutes. Take out and serve.