Cast Iron

Smoked Tea Duck Noodles

February 23, 2015
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I love all things ducky and smoky, and what I set out to do here was get that goodness without having to actually smoke anything. I used Lapsan Souchong tea and a dash of toasted sesame oil to achieve the flavors I was after, and it worked pretty darn well. The result is a hearty, unctuous (Aaron Sánchez loves that word -- do you watch Chopped?) , and pleasantly fatty bowl of noodles and duck. —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aargersi is a 3-time contest winner, most recently for Your Best Coconut.
WHAT: Garlicky noodles topped with not-actually-smoked smoked duck.
HOW: Brine duck legs in Lapsan Souchon, then roast until tender. Use the duck fat to fry the duck and mushrooms, then combine the meat and vegetables with egg noodles that have been boiled in the smoky tea as well.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Here’s a smart, smart way to achieve smokiness without going through the pain of setting up a stove-top smoker. The mushrooms and green onions make this dish feel slightly more sophisticated than Chinese takeout, but it’s close enough to satisfy as if it came from our favorite restaurant. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the duck and brine:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 Lapsan Souchon tea bags
  • 2 whole anise stars
  • 2 duck legs
  • For the duck noodle bowl:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Lapsang Souchong tea bags
  • Duck, skin, and fat from above
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 ounces Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  1. For the duck and brine:
  2. In a large pot, create a brine for the duck legs: Bring everything but the duck legs to a boil. Once it has reached boil, remove from heat and allow to steep and cool to room temperature. Put the duck legs in a container large enough for them and the brine, and pour the brine over. Allow them to brine for several hours or overnight.
  3. When they are good and soaked, remove the legs and pat them dry. Discard the brine.
  4. Heat a small, heavy skillet that is oven-safe over medium heat. (My 8-inch cast-iron skillet worked great.) Preheat the oven to 325º F.
  5. Place the legs in the skillet skin side-down, and allow to slowly brown and render. The trick here is to get a deep golden skin and lots of fat without burning, which works well at a lower heat. Once the skin is golden brown and there is a good amount of fat in the pan, flip the legs over and cover the pan with foil. Pop the pan in the oven and roast the legs until very tender, about 2 hours.
  6. You can stop here and finish the recipe the next day -- just save the legs and the fat, or continue to make the noodle bowl immediately.
  1. For the duck noodle bowl:
  2. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and tea bags, bring to a boil, and turn the heat off immediately. Allow the tea bags to steep.
  3. Meanwhile, put the duck fat into a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Remove the skin from the duck legs and fry it in the fat until crispy, then set on a paper towel to drain.
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan and fry them until they begin to crisp up. Pull the meat off of the duck legs, tear it, and add it to the mushrooms. Add the pepper.
  5. While the duck and mushrooms cook, remove the tea bags from the water, return to a boil, and cook the noodles according to package directions. They will be nicely infused with a subtle smokiness.
  6. When the noodles are cooked, drain them, and add them to the skillet with the mushrooms and duck. Toss, add the liquid aminos (or soy sauce) and sesame oil. Taste the noodles and add more aminos if you'd like. Toss in the green onions to just wilt them.
  7. Serve the noodles in two bowls and either crumble the crispy skin on top or serve it in chips along with the noodle bowl. That's all -- eat up!

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Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

55 Reviews

Kathy R. August 14, 2022
This seems involved but it’s pretty simple. I made with breasts, what I had, and we could definitely taste the Smokey tea. The tea really smells like mud until you realize it’s a Smokey smell…cool! I did use Italian egg noodles, yummy, but, in retrospect, I think any noodle would work. Seriously tasty. I added fresh ginger, garlic…I should have made more…who knew! I’m motivated to check other recipes with tea broth…who knew it was a thing :-)
eatchimac March 30, 2021
Oh, I didn’t try Smoked Tea Duck Noodles Recipe. Now I can make it at home. So glad for sharing this recipe Now I can make it at home. It looks delicious. Now I can share your blog with my friend circle. I am so glad after seeing your recipe, Thanks for sharing this recipe. Food is one of the biggest topics of conversation online and offline. Keep it up, I am waiting for your next recipe!
icharmeat November 10, 2020
I've made a brine and will prepare the legs tomorrow.

A tip for finding Lapsang Souchong- if your town has a health food co-op or natural food store, there is a fair chance of finding it in bulk where you can buy only what you need.
Emily D. May 13, 2020
This was delicious. I could not find duck legs so I brined 2 duck breasts. I seared them on the stove for about 9 minutes on the fat side and then one minute on the meat side. I put them into a 400 degree oven for about 9 more minutes. That way the fat is saved and the breasts cook fast. I added garlic and ginger to the mushroom saute and then some chopped spinach and a lot of scallions. The noodles were delicious, I would save some of the cooking water to give the dish a bit of sauce. I will keep the rest of the Lapsang tea around for other noodle cooking.
Darian September 14, 2019
This was a HUGE hit at my house! We are big fans of dishes with duck or noodles, so it would have been hard to go wrong. The end result exceeded my expectations though! I really enjoyed the learning experience of using the tea for the brine and to cook the noodles. It's easiest for me to find whole ducks so I brined the whole thing (doubling (ish) the quantities), then just roasted the whole bird in the oven. I kept the shredded meat, skin and fat in separate containers until the next day. Though there was some advance work, the final prep was speedy and easy - I fried the skin in the fat, then drained some of it off and sauteed the duck and mushrooms. I threw a little duck fat in with the sesame oil in the noodles. We could not stop eating this dish! I am already thinking about when I will make it again. Since so much of the work is ahead of time, it could easily be a dish to serve when having guests for dinner.
hevandriel March 20, 2016
Pretty much anything that includes lapsang souchong tea will get my attention, but when you add duck legs to the title... After fantasizing for weeks, I finally made this, and it was worth every minute and every penny. The best compliment, from my husband: "Is there more?" I forgot to tell him that the recipe served 2. A bunch of you commenters were smarter, and made bigger portions! Thank you, Abbie, for sharing this with the Food52 community!
aargersi March 21, 2016
I am so glad you liked it! I am brining some fresh ham hocks in a lapsang souchong brine right now, and making my own "smoked" hocks for beans and such. It's good stuff.
Jessica K. October 17, 2015
Could this be done with duck breasts? Or would I have to buy duck fat separately in case i don't have enough if I use the breasts? I just picked up a box of this tea and can't wait to experiment with recipes!
aargersi October 19, 2015
The breasts should have plenty of fat, their texture is different than the legs but I think you can work with them, they should still ultimately shred and taste just fine!
rebecca October 11, 2015
I tripled this recipe and made these for a dinner party of 10, and they were fantastic! I brined 6 legs for 24h, then used 2 separate pans - one saute pan, one dutch oven - to brown, cook, and render the legs. After they were cooked, I strained off much of the fat and cooked off the noodles and veg in the same dutch oven. Worked great and my guests really enjoyed it. (p.s. - Found the tea at Whole Foods!)
Patricia B. September 11, 2015
How many grams is 1 teabag? It is because i can only find the tea in big bags
aargersi September 11, 2015
My box has 1.4 oz of tea, 20 tea bags and 1 oz = app 30 g so a little over a gram, lets call it 2.

I do non-specific math only. Heh.
Patricia B. September 11, 2015
Okay, thank you very much
calliehoo March 23, 2015
Made this, loved it. But two things:
1. Why are the editors consistently referring to this recipe as "garlicky" when it doesn't have a single clove of garlic in it?
2. Where are people finding this tea? I live in Chinatown, and had to go to six different stores before I found it (and even then, the label was only in Chinese, so I had to trust that it was the right one).
savorthis March 23, 2015
I have never found it in our asian markets (!) but can always find it in bags at whole foods as well as loose at some tea/coffee shops (Pete's has it here in Colorado).
aargersi March 23, 2015
Green onion maybe = garlicky? You could add garlic :-)
Diana March 29, 2015
I ordered the tea on-line at
Celecel March 23, 2015
I hate the use of the word "unctuous" in describing food. It is not a compliment to describe people or food as unctuous--greasy, oily food and two-faced, oily, insincere people. I wish Aaron Sanchez would stop using "unctuous". I cringe every time he utters that word.
Billy S. March 23, 2015
Please define "duck leg". Is this the drumstick AND thigh? Can you at least give an approximate weight? (I want to triple the recipe to serve 6)
aargersi March 23, 2015
Yep! Drumstick and thigh, I didn't get a weight but the ones at my store are all about the same size-wish.
Domenica March 23, 2015
Use one leg (drumstick and thigh) for each person.
Domenica March 23, 2015
Actually, as long as you are making this, make a few extra. fabulous cold the next day, or in a salad
Jean D. March 23, 2015
This is a must try!! My mouth is watering. Even my little RV oven will be able to do this one on the road. Thanks
PS007 March 23, 2015
This recipe looks good, I love LS tea. My fave easy use for it is to blend the leaves w salt and sprinkle on edamame, yum.
I do think it's a bit funny that the alternative to "the pain of setting up a stove-top smoker" is to boil and cool a brine for an overnight soak.
coffeefoodwrite March 20, 2015
Yum! Looks delicious!
Rey C. March 19, 2015
Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing.
Zelda March 15, 2015
The deliciousness of this dish belies its simplicity. I couldn't resist rubbing the legs with a little 5 spice before roasting, adding some onion wedges half way through the cooking time, and glazing with a mixture of blackcurrant vinegar and honey towards the end. The flesh was moist and tender, with a delicate smokiness, the skin burnished and crisp, and the duck juices had mingled with the sweet, melting onions. I used dried, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, with a few fresh oyster mushrooms. This dish marries complex, robust flavours - gamey duck, woody mushrooms, smokey tea- with no reliance on bottled sauces or condiments that can all too often dull the brightness of fresh ingredients. It can be easily scaled up with no extra work (I roasted 6 legs, leftovers will find their way into fried rice or congee), and adapted for gluten free diners with rice noodles. It's a clear winner for me!
aargersi March 15, 2015
Your version sounds wonderful! I will try it next!!! Thanks for posting it
anotherfoodieblogger March 14, 2015
Oh wow, who knew you could use tea to "smoke" something??? Awesome recipe, congratulations!!!
Sunnycovechef March 14, 2015
What a creative recipe, I am definitely going to try it. I love duck, my favorite being duck confit.
Tory N. March 13, 2015
This looks verrrrrry intriguing. May have to try this one.