During Chinese New Year over a week ago, I got the whole duck, along with other goodies as New Year gifts from work. I had a few menu in mind of what to do with that good-looking duck. I was thinking of five-spice-rubbed roasted duck, Pekking duck, etc. Then, I thought of rice noodle soup with five-spice duck I love back at home in Thailand. It's been a very long time since I last had that dish, and I missed it so much! I pretty much have most of the needed ingredients on hand - so duck stew with five spices in soy-based gravy was to start.
- Heat a large saucepan at medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 cup water. Stir until until sugar turns into thick syrup and caramelized. Add 2 tablespoons black soy sauce, 1 table spoon salt, 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice blends (or Thai "Palo" Powder), and 1/2 cup water.
- Place whole duck in that saucepan. Turn duck to get the sauce cover its skin as much as possible, until completely dark brown.
- Transfer duck and sauce mixture into a large pot. Add water to cover the whole duck. Simmer for about an hour, or until tender. Skim off the fat and foam from time to time.
- Taste the gravy and add seasonings if needed. I add more brown sugar and light soy sauce a couple of time. The flavor should be a combination of saltiness and sweetness, with a balance of five-spice aroma.
Cook rice noodle of your choice, place in the bowl with fresh beansprout. Add duck meat (shreded or cut in pieces), fried garlic, chopped green onions & cilantro. Then, pour the hot gravy-like broth in the bowl. Ground white pepper to finish. Thais usually add some condiments to their noodle dishes. The standard condiments on the Thai table, especially where noodles are served are fish sauce, chili powder, fresh chili in vinegar, and white sugar.We normally have personal ritual of adding these condiments in various ratio to our own flavor preference.