It’s been a good couple of weeks since our return from China and as the cravings for Asian food began to creep back into our lives, it was high time to revisit them and cook something inspired by our trip.
Having tasted some great tea-smoked duck on the ground as well as Neil Perry’s version on our Qantas flight home, I decided to give the process a go at home.
Smoking duck breast at home is quite an easy thing to do and it basically takes care of itself. Just make sure to have your windows open, smoke alarm disabled and the stove rangehoodt on full speed… Otherwise you may have the whole fire brigade popping over for supper.
Tea-smoked duck breast with an Asianesque cashew salad
Tea-smoking duck breasts or fish such as salmon lends it a lovely intense flavour of a traditional barbecue. It’s relatively easy to set up too.
For tea-smoked duck:
- 2 duck breasts, skin on
- 1/2 cup tea leaves
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white rice
For pickled vegetables as part of the salad:
- 1 small carrot
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
For stir fried vegetabbles as part of the salad:
- 1/2 red capsicum
- 1/2 yellow capsicum
- 8 snow peas
- 4 button mushrooms
- 1/2 red long chilli
- 1 tbsp cashews
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
To make the pickled vegetables: julienne carrot and onion. Mix with sugar and salt and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to pickle.
To make the stir fried vegetables: Finely slice both capsicums, snow peas, mushrooms and chilli. Heat sesame oil in a small pan and add capsicum, stir fry for a minute then add snow peas, mushrooms and chilli. Cook for another minute then remove from heat.
To smoke the duck: combine rice, sugar and tea leaves in a bowl and mix. Place a double layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of a wok. Pour in the mixed ingredients then place wok over high heat. Cover with a lid allow to get smoking hot. Make sure to turn on your rangehood and open a window or two for good ventilation.
In the meantime, heat a small pan over high heat. Sear the duck breasts, skin side down first for about 2 minutes to allow some of the fat to render, then flip and seal the other side for the same time. Transfer sealed breasts into the smoke-filled wok, turn the heat to medium and smoke for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to rest under cover for another 5 minutes or so.
To serve: arrange half the salad on each plate and top with thinly sliced duck pieces and some coriander leaves. Drizzle with a little sweet chilli sauce. Enjoy warm or chilled.