Sunday, 10 July 2011

The illusive perfect dumpling wrappers Duck Recipes

Restaurant food.

I am working on the menus for Village Chance various eateries: the Tapas Bar, the Buffet Bar and the restaurant.
So in the last two months I have been testing and retesting some of my favourite duck recipes and wrappers for dumplings.

In the past I just made delicious fillings and used commercial wrappers and the results were acceptable.  However they are nothing comparing with the translucent and velvety little morsels I had in China, Hong Kong & Japan.

I decided to have a go at making them. I do not use a lot of wheat flour in my cooking so I need to learn a lot about the process of making flour into different kind dough and batter.
I look on line and through my cookery book collection for dumpling wrappers and there are practically thousands of recipes for them, but the perfect foolproof recipes, so far are still elusive.
Most of the dough is made with wheat flour, water, salt and oil with a few exceptions which required wheat starch, potato, arrowroot or tapioca starch. For dumpling the whiter the flour the better looking wrappers.
I could not find wheat starch so I use normal plain flour and tapioca flour in my last trials but they were not at all translucent.
I was told to just stick with commercial wrappers. May be they are right.
But I am still testing… I will let you know the results.

I made up a few duck dishes based on traditional Vietnamese duck and egg plant curry, duck a l’orange, and the Laos duck with coconut and galangal.
They all work extremely well and very tasty. But I tend not to indulge in the Laos style it could be not very good for your cholesterol level.
Following are the duck recipes.
Duck breast curry with baby eggplant
1 duck breast per serve
Ingredients & preparation:
6                   Duck breasts: trimmed off excess fat and loose skin. Reserve the extra fat and the small  loose strips of meat for other uses. Rinsed and paper towel dried.
Poaching stock:
1.5litres           Water
 500ml           Dry white wine
6cm           Bruised ginger
6           Golden shallot, peeled and bruised
3           Stalks of whole green shallot: trimmed and washed
1tbspn  salt
50mls  fish sauce
Bring water to boiling, add wine and all other ingredients. Add duck breasts Bring back to boiling, lower heat to simmer for 10minutes. Turn off heat leave breasts to cool in stock.
Crisp skin duck. 
Remove breast and arrange them on baking tray skin side up. Sprinkle curry powder over skin grill till skin is golden and crisp. Remove from baking tray to cool.

Baby eggplants:
12                  baby eggplants, trimmed, cut into half lengthwise, soaked in salted water.
1tspn          salt
1tspn          curry powder
1/4cup          olive oil
Remove eggplant from soaking water, squeeze gently to remove excess water, arrange them on a baking tray cut side up. Mix salt & curry powder sprinkle evenly over eggplant. Brush generously with oil. Bake in 150C oven until soft, but not over cooked.
Curry Sauce
2tbspns          duck fat from grilling pan
3          shallots, peeled, finely minced
3          garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced
3cms  ginger, peeled, finely minced
3tbspns          vindaloo curry paste/sauce
3tbspns          tomato paste
3          large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded finely chopped.
500mls          poached duck stock
1tspn  salt
1tspn  sugar
Heat duck fat in a heavy saucepan on medium heat, add shallot, garlic ginger, fry until aromatic, and still tranlucent.
Add vindaloo curry paste, stir to mix well then add tomato paste, stir fry until glossy, add fresh tomato cook slowly into a thick sauce, stir constantly, season with salt and sugar. Add stock. Adjust seasoning and simmer until creamy.
Blend until smooth.
In a baking tray, arrange 4 halves eggplant in a row.
Trim both ends of duck breasts, then slice each slantly into 6-8 slices. Arrange each sliced breast over 4 eggplant halves nicely.
Slowly pour curry sauce over the duck. Cover with foil and bake in slow oven 150C for 45minutes -1 hrs.
2tbspns         Duck fat
1         Large onion finely sliced
2cms ginger cut into thin strips.
1         large red chilli, seeded cut into thin strips
1/2cup         Vietnamese mint finely shredded
Heat duck fat in a frying pan, fry onion, ginger until aromatic, add chilli and mint. Mix well
In a deep plate, arrange 1 portion of duck with sauce, garnish with onion mixture.

This recipes is a bit tedious but it is worth it. The duck is tender and full of flavour, the eggplant is plump with curry sauce. And the Vietnamese mint enhances the flavour of the duck and make this curry distinctive Vietnamese.

Spicy Orange Duck: inspired by the Colonial duck a l’orange
1                  2kg good duck, using a poultry shears, trimmed off wing tips, neck and back bone,   discard skin and fat to make stock. Discard any excess fatty areas and the tail where the duck gland is.  Separate the legs, thighs,  wings and breast which can be cut in half, season duck pieces with salt, pepper, ginger and orange zest.  Leave for about 1hour.

6                   golden shallots, peeled finely minced
6                   garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced
3                   white fleshy stalks of lemon grass finely minced
2cm                   ginger, peeled and finely minced
2                   red hot chilli, seeded and finely minced
2tbspns           arrowroot flour

500mls           freshly squeezed orange juice
500mls           Strained duck stock
2tspns   sugar
50mls           fish sauce
5                   stars anises roasted
¼ cup           finely shredded Vietnamese mint and green shallot.

In a dry heavy frying pan, fry the duck pieces, skin sides down until skin is crisp and golden, turn the pieces over to brown the other side quickly.  Remove fried duck and arrange duck in a large heavy casserole with skin side up.
Leave about 3 tbspns of duck fat in the frying pan on medium heat fry shallot, garlic, lemon grass, ginger, chilli until soft and aromatic.  Add flour , stir to mix.
Mix orange juice & duck stock with sugar and fish sauce, add to the shallot, stir to blend in stock and the mixture. Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes. Strain the sauce over the fried duck, add the star anise. Bring to boiling then very slowly cook with lid on for 1 hour. Leave lid off and cook for further 15minutes to reduce sauce.
Served sprinkled with mint and shallot.

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