Teochew braised duck makes for a perfect weekend meal

This homemade Teochew braised duck is not only delicious but super easy to cook. (Rasa Malaysia pic)

Many people enjoy duck when eating out at restaurants but hardly ever cook duck at home believing its preparation to be either too tedious or too complex.

However, this recipe from the mother of a good friend is redolent with Chinese and Southeast Asian flavours, and best of all, is oh-so-easy to prepare using mostly panty-ready ingredients.

While this braised duck recipe doesn’t have the exact DNA of the duck prepared by top chefs at posh Chinese restaurants, it comes close enough.

Do give it a try and judge for yourself.


  • 2 tablespoons sea or kosher salt, divided
  • 1.8 kg – 2.2 kg duck, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 plump stalks lemongrass, trimmed, bruised, and halved
  • 2 cm piece fresh galangal, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 2 sticks cinnamon, (5 cm each)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Chili-lime dipping sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 long, fresh red chilies such as Holland or Fresno, or 2 tablespoons prepared chili paste
  • 8 tablespoons key lime juice, from 8 small limes
  • Salt


  • Rub 1½ tablespoons of the salt evenly all over the duck, including inside the cavity.
  • In a large wok or Dutch oven or any vessel large enough to hold the whole duck, mix together the water, soy sauce, lemongrass, galangal, sugar, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently lower the duck into the wok. The liquid should reach halfway up the duck. Top it off with additional water if necessary.
  • For the first 20 minutes, baste the duck every five minutes or so to color it evenly.
  • Cover and simmer for another 40 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, flipping the duck halfway through cooking.
  • If the sauce looks like it’s drying up, add more water, ¼ cup at a time.
  • Total cooking time should be 1 to 1½ hours. To check for doneness, poke the duck in the thigh with a chopstick. If the juices run clear, the duck is cooked.
  • Alternatively, use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature has reached 73°C.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the duck immersed in the sauce for another hour if desired.
  • Cut the duck into serving pieces and arrange on a serving platter. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce, then drizzle the sauce over the duck. Serve with freshly steamed rice and the dipping sauce.

Chili-lime dipping sauce

  • Pound the garlic and chilies in a mortar with a pestle, or whirl in a small food processor, until a coarse paste forms.
  • Add the lime juice and salt to taste and mix well.

This recipe can be found in Rasa Malaysia.

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.