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The Hirshon Teochew Braised Duck -潮州卤鸭


Units Scale
  • 1 whole duck, about 4.5 pounds
  • 12 cloves of old Garlic (smashed)
  • A thumbs-length knob of peeled galangal, sliced thinly or if unavailable use 1 Tbsp of peeled Ginger (minced)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 5 star anise
  • 10 cloves
  • 6 Tbsp shaved Gula Melaka (Dark Palm Sugar) – If unavailable, try jaggery or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp five spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp of Oyster Sauce
  • 6 eggs, preferably duck eggs, hardboiled and shelled
  • 6 pieces of tau pok, tofu puffs
  • 3 pieces of tau kwa (extra firm tofu)
  • 6 dried top-quality Shiitake Mushrooms (rehydrated in hot water)
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 tsp of Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 cups of Water (or just enough to cover duck)
  • 2 Tbsp of Grapeseed Oil (or peanut oil)


  1. Marinate the duck the night before. Wash and pat dry the duck. Rub 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce mixed with 1 teaspoon five spice powder all over the duck both on the outside and inside. Stuff a few slices of galangal in the cavity. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove the duck from the refrigerator one hour before cooking and bring it to room temperature.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in the wok over medium high heat. Stir fry the galangal, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, anise, and cloves until fragrant. Add the sugar and stir fry until the sugar caramelizes and turns brownish.
  4. Depending on your liking, you can caramelize the sugar until the shade of dark chocolate. Add in some water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Don’t worry if the sugar crystalizes as it will dissolve again but be careful of adding water to the hot oil. You should have a brownish shade of braising liquid.
  5. Add the light and dark soy sauce, fish sauce, and five spice powder. Bring to a boil and add the duck. Prick the skin with a bamboo skewer. Turn the duck over every 5 minutes to ensure the skin is evenly coated with the sauce. Continue for another 15 minutes.
  6. Pour sufficient water to submerge ½ to 2/3 of the duck in it lengthwise. Do not add too much water in attempt to drown the whole bird. That would dilute the sauce by too much, watering down all the flavors quite literally.
  7. Throw in the whole spices of bay leaves, cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick and garlic cloves. I like to use the old variety, pre-peeled in the store as it has a more full-bodied and robust taste compared to the fresher whitish ones chopped up for stir-fry dishes.
  8. Cover the wok with a lid and allow the duck to slowly simmer over low heat for about 20 mins.
  9. Meanwhile, cut the tau kwa lengthwise into rectangular cubes.
  10. Turn the duck after 20 mins by propping it up from the wok with 2 chopsticks clasped under the wings and slowly sliding it back in again on the other side. Doing this without making a mess requires quite a bit of practice. Continue to simmer over low heat for another 20 mins. Tasting the sauce may be performed at this juncture. Add salt or light soya sauce to attune the flavors to one’s liking.
  11. Add tau kwa, hardboiled eggs and tau pok at this point. Check the flavor and add salt and sugar to season to your taste.
  12. Repeat the turning process and after returning the duck into the wok, and allow the ingredients to simmer with the duck for the last 20 min. Do remember that apart from the initial bringing ingredients to a boil after the addition of water, the duck is simmered under low heat afterwards.
  13. Finally after an hour of so of slow simmering, the duck should be more or less ready. The meat should be rather firm and succulent. If one likes the meat to be softer and more tender, continue to cook for another 15- 20 mins.
  14. Remove the duck, eggs, and tofu place them on a large plate or baking dish to cool before carving. Do not attempt chop up the duck while it is still hot.
  15. Transfer the strained residual broth into a pot after the duck is removed. Add more water if required or if you prefer, reduce the liquid down to make a thicker sauce.
  16. The hard-boiled eggs, tau kwa and tau pok pieces are cut up and served alongside the duck, drizzled with the braising liquid.