Tea-Smoked Duck (or Chicken)

Yield: 2 main-course and up to 8 appetizer servings


  • 1 (4-to-5 pound) duck, excess fat removed, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup raw long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup strong black tea leaves (Lapsang souchong, which is smoky, is a good choice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil


1. Prick the duck skin all over with a sharp fork, skewer, or thin-bladed knife; try not to hit the meat (the fat layer is usually 1/4 inch thick). Place the 1/2 cup of soy sauce , water, anise, and cinnamon in a pot fitted with a rack (a cake rack usually works nicely, but you won't be able to fit much water under it, so be careful not to boil the pot dry). Place the duck on the rack, cover the pot, and turn the heat to high. Steam for about 45 minutes, adding boiling water if necessary. Remove the duck; you can also wrap it well and refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days at this point.

2. Line a large wok or heavy pot with heavy aluminum foil. Mix the rice, tea, and sugar in the wok. Make a platform for the duck that is an inch or so above the smoking mixture; use a cake or roasting rack, or improvise with a crisscross of four chopsticks. Place the duck, breast side up, on the platform. Cover the wok very tightly with a cover or a double thickness of aluminum foil or both; either must be an inch or more above the to of the duck.

3. Turn the heat to high. (Turn on any exhaust fans, too!) Start timing when the mixture begins to smoke (you will know because it will leak from somewhere; patch the leak if possible). After 10 minutes, turn the heat to medium. Smoke another 15 to 20 miutes. Turn off the heat, but do not remove the cover for another 15 minutes. The duck will be a deep mahogany color all over; remove from the wok.

4. To avoid lingering smokiness in the kitchen, discard the smoking mixture and aluminum foil right away. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and sesame oil and brush the mixture over the duck. Cut into pieces and serve at room temperature, or stir fry with vegetables.

From How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman
Copyrightę 1998 by Mark Bittman
Permission by Macmillan
New York, NY