When I first came to Aus, I was clueless about cooking and the thought of making a 1 course meal (let alone 3 course) scares the be-shitting out of me. Then, thanks to our popular homegrown cooking shows – Masterchef Australia and My Kitchen Rules (MKR) – I was greatly inspired to cook or rather found a way to survive a day without McDonald’s.
Masterchef opened my eyes to the technique of smoking food. Smoking in a professional kitchen is done (of course!) with a $99 smoking gun. But in my humble kitchen, I use my ol’ faithful wok and a foil.
The technique of smoking food is not new in the culinary world. In the olden days, where modernisation has not turned everything into machines, people have been practicing food- smoking with meat or fish and I dare say, even the primitive caveman did it too!
“Smoking adds a depth of flavour that is so subtle, you can taste it at the back of your tongue. And that aroma … keeps you guessing what secret ingredients were used to impart them”
If you haven’t tried smoking food – then I suggest you try it. It’s easy and little effort required. No fancy gadgets – just a wok, foil and smoking aromatics. Oh yes, and be careful not to set the fire alarm off.
Green Tea-smoked Duck (adapted from Luke Nguyen’s Indochine)
2 duck breasts, boneless and skin on
1 spring onion, thinly sliced diagonally
handful coriander leaves
1/2 red chilli, julienned
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 star anise
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup green tea leaves
1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 piece of cassia bark or cinnamon bark
1. Marinade the duck breast with all marinade ingredients. Ensure the meat is coated well with marinade, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and drain off any excess marinade. On medium heat, place a frying pan over and heat up some oil. With skin side down, seal and brown the duck breasts for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Line 2 pieces of foil at the base of the wok. Add all the smoking ingredients onto the foil. Then place a wire rack on top of the aromatics. Place the duck breasts with skin side up, on the rack. Over medium heat, cook the aromatics until whisps of smoke begin to appear. Cover immediately with a wok cover. Ensure the wok cover seals all the smoke within.
4. Smoke the duck for 5-6 minutes (there should not be any burn smell. If that happens, turn the heat down). After the time is up, turn the heat off and allow the duck to sit in the wok for a further 8-10 minutes to infuse its flavours.
5. Remove the duck from the wok. Thinly slice the duck breasts and place them on serving plates. Garnish with sliced spring onion, chilli and coriander.