Orange and ginger duck

Orange and ginger duck

Leanne Kitchen

The French have influenced Vietnam since their colonisation of the country in the mid-nineteenth century, and this dish has its origins firmly in the classic French dish canard à l’orange. The key to not drying out any meat that is slow-simmered like this, is to maintain a low temperature – the bubbles should be just breaking the surface. Get this right and the meat will fall off the bone. Serve with steamed rice.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 2.25kg duck
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cm piece fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 small dried red chillies
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied in a knot
750ml freshly squeezed orange juice, plus extra if needed
80ml lime juice
60ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 oranges
1 tablespoon cornflour

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
coriander sprigs
sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds


  1. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the duck through the bone between the leg and the body to remove the leg quarters. Cut each leg quarter into 2 pieces so you have 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks. Put the remaining duck on a chopping board, breast side up. Cut through either side of the backbone, and remove the backbone. Put the duck, skin side down, on the board, and cut in half down the breast bone. Cut each breast into 2 pieces crossways. You should have 8 pieces of duck.
  2. In a large wok over medium heat, cook the duck pieces in the oil, turning occasionally, for 15–20 minutes or until deep golden and much of the fat has rendered out. Transfer the duck to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Return the duck to the wok with the lemongrass, orange juice and lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick, adding a little more orange juice if necessary so the duck is just covered. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cook the duck, partially covered, for 60–70 minutes, occasionally skimming any impurities that rise to the surface, or until the duck is very tender. Discard the lemongrass, remove the duck pieces and transfer them to a bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, using a small, sharp knife, peel the oranges, taking care to remove all the white pith. Slice the oranges thinly.
  5. Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons water in a bowl to form a smooth paste. Bring the cooking liquid in the pan to a simmer then, stirring constantly, add the cornflour mixture and cook until the liquid boils and thickens. Return the duck to the sauce along with the orange slices to heat through.
  6. Divide the duck and sauce among large bowls, then scatter over handfuls of the spring onion slices, coriander and some orange slices. Drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve.
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