BEBEK ASEM - SOUR SIMMERED DUCK
It was very tasty. But one person said that "it seemed rather fatty".
Well duh. It's a duck. Insulation is what keeps Donald warm and buoyant; that's why he's the life of the party.
[Like Bambi and Thumper, Donald and his nephews are very nice eating. Scrooge McDuck not so much - stringy. But he'll do in a pinch.]
There are tons of Indonesian recipes for duck. Which is not surprising for a rice-growing culture. Rice paddies and complex irrigation systems mean ducks.
You've probably had salted duck-egg in a mooncake without wondering why the Chinese prefer duck eggs to chicken eggs. The rice-paddies are the reason. That, plus you can herd ducks, whereas chickens take no direction. Duck are orderly, chickens are stupid and chaotic.
Here's an Indonesian duck dish that will also keep the Chinese people in your family happy.
One duck of four to five pounds.
One dozen shallots, sliced fine.
Several cloves of garlic, minced.
Equivalent amount ginger, ditto.
Four cups dark rice wine.
Four cups stock reduced to one cup.
Four TBS each: soy sauce, vinegar, sugar.
Hefty pinches mace, cinnamon powder, dry ginger.
Whole peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves.
A jigger aged vinegar.
Chop the duck into chunks through the bone. Brown the duck in its own fat, set aside.
Gild the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Add all other ingredients including the duck chunks, raise to barely boiling, then simmer on low for about twenty minutes.
Serve with a lime juice sambal and dressed cucumber. Rice is of course part of the meal, and some yau choi or greens in pot-liquor also go very well with this.
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Two cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarse chunked.
Two TBS each vinegar, water, sugar.
One Tsp salt.
Dump everything in a pan and heat, stirring, till the sugar has dissolved. Decant and let it sit in a cool place for a few hours.
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Another fine addition to the table if you're serving duck is a dish that contains papaya. Papaya assists in digesting meat and is loaded with antioxidants - you probably have a relative who has a bee in his bonnet(*) about those things, don't you?
[Green Papaya (duong) Soup]
One green papaya (approx 1½ pounds); peeled, seeded, and sliced.
A dozen black mushrooms; soaked, stemmed, halved.
Two stalks of lemon grass, bruised to release flavours.
Two or three shallots, chopped.
Two or three Roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped.
Some chopped celery - the quantity is up to you.
One Tsp ground coriander.
Half Tsp each: sugar, cayenne, turmeric, ground pepper.
Pinches cinnamon powder and dry ginger.
Two TBS each: lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine (or sherry), olive oil.
Six cups of clear broth.
One or two cups water.
Minced scallion, parsley and cilantro.
Sauté shallots, garlic and ginger till colour turns. Add spices, stir fragrant, and seethe with the rice wine. Add everything else except the scallion, parsley and cilantro. Simmer till the papaya is tender. Add the scallion, parsley and cilantro just before serving.
Sanak Mantep - Eet Smakelijk - Bon Appetit.
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Note: the phrase 'bee in the bonnet' has a lovely, if somewhat unprintable equivalent in Tamarao: PUNYIP RI MATA - a punyip ('poon-yip') in the eye.
Mata means eye. Ri means in, at, on.
And punyip means...... well, errrrmm, eh...... you know that demanding thingy that feels like a small nose, which, um, the gentler gender has located at one end of the crevasse muliebre? Precisely! That is the punyip.
The phrase also means that you can't see the forest for the trees. It's all a question of perspective.