Tea smoked duck is a cold dish. A cheeky appetiser to go alongside other nibbley things at the start of a meal, maybe smacked cucumbers and marinated peanuts. Or to be stuffed inside fluffy gua bao. Here’s my recipe for them. I’ve gone proper Chinese and not given exact quantities, relax, it all depends on the size of duck breasts anyway.
2 duck breasts, skin finely scored
Five spice powder
Sichuan pepper, freshly ground
2 Earl Grey teabags
1/3 cup of rice
1/3 cup of sugar
- Sprinkle equal amounts of fine salt and sugar onto the flesh side of the breasts. Season generously like you would a steak. Flip and season the skin with salt, sugar, five spice and Sichuan pepper. Rub the seasoning into the scores. Cure your duck breasts for at least 2 hours in the fridge but no longer than a day.
- Set up a stovetop smoker. I use a wok double lined with foil. Mix the tea leaves, rice and sugar and lay it evenly on the foil. Turn on a medium low heat and put a rack over the mixture. When it starts to smoke lay the duck breasts skin side up on the rack and put a lid over the whole lot. Smoke for 10 minutes. After this time the duck should still be raw and have a yellow sheen to the skin.
- Cook the duck breasts to medium in the normal fashion in a pan then finish in a oven or… water bath at 57C for 2 hours then sear the skin.
- Rest well, very important, and slice.
Traditionally, if eaten on its own the morsels of duck are accompanied by a little dipping bowl of the seasoning; salt, sugar, five spice and Sichuan pepper. If pushed I would serve ponzu with it and be confused but delighted.