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Author Notes: This recipe calls for a roasted duck. You can pick up great roast ducks in most Chinese delis (and even many supermarkets now) that are very reasonably priced. They are often so good that I look on these as the Chinese answer to picking up a great roast chicken on the way home from work—an easy, delicious dinner can get pulled together in no time. And with this recipe, even the bones get put to work! —Madame Huang
Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish, 12 to 14 as a side
For the broth:
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup finely sliced fresh ginger
- 4 green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- Bones, scraps, and scrawny bits from 1 roasted duck (reserve the meat for topping the soup)
- 1/2 cup Taiwan Mijiu rice wine or sake
- 1 quart (1 liter) unsalted chicken stock (preferably free range and organic)
- 4 quarts (4 liters) boiling water, divided
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- A day or two before you plan to serve the soup, place a large 2-gallon (8-liter) stockpot over medium heat and add the sesame oil, ginger, and green onions.
- Gently fry the ginger and green onions until they turn into thin brown tangles.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add the duck, and slowly fry it to render the fat to release the flavors. When most of the fat has melted, turn the heat to high,
- Pour in the rice wine, and bring to a boil.
- Add the chicken stock, 2 quarts of the boiling water, and sugar and continue to cook until it returns to a full boil
- Decrease the heat and allow the pot to simmer for about an hour.
- Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Strain the liquid into a clean pan, skim off the fat, and store in the refrigerator.
For the soup and assembly:
- 2 small fensi (skeins of cellophane noodles), about 1.3 ounces each, or an equal amount of another Chinese noodle, cooked [Editors' Note: we used lo mein]
- 2 tablespoons chopped dongcai (pickled napa cabbage) or suancai (Chinese mustard pickles)
- 1 medium (1 pound or so) Asian radish of some kind (Chinese luobo, Korean mooli, or Japanese daikon)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded roast duck, optional
- 1 large handful chopped cilantro, optional
- If using cellophane noodles, about 20 minutes before serving, place them in a large work bowl and cover with cool tap water to soften them.
- When they are silky, use kitchen shears to cut across the soft skeins in the water into 3- to 4-inch lengths and drain into a strainer.
- Meanwhile, prep the vegetables: Rinse the pickles in a coarse sieve under running water to remove most of the saltiness, making sure that all sand and grit is removed. If using the mustard pickles, cut crosswise into thin 1/8-inch slices. Prepare the radish by peeling off the skin and any tough webbing under the surface and then cutting into 1/8-inch julienne strips (The pickles and radish can be prepped a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated in closed plastic bags until ready to use.)
- Bring the strained stock to a full boil and add the radish and the black pepper.
- Add the winter vegetable or mustard pickles to taste, as saltiness will vary due to the duck’s preparation. You can also add more boiling water (the remaining 2 quarts, as needed) if your soup turns out to be on the salty side.
- Cook this, uncovered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the radishes are tender and sweet, but not mushy.
- Add the cellophane noodles, if using, and simmer for no more than another 5 minutes, barely cooking through.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. If using another type of noodle, ladle the broth into bowls filled with the cooked noodles.
- Serve immediately with duck meat and cilantro sprinkled on top, if using.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!