Duck hotpot

Duck hotpot

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Langzhong is a city in northeastern Sichuan Province and it’s worth a visit for its grid of intact, centuries-old streets and lovely old architecture, sadly a rarity in China these days. It was here we ate duck hotpot. Served without fanfare in an enormous enamel basin, it came complete with every duck part known to mankind, floating among a slew of dried chillies and peppercorns. This was Chinese food at its most rustic and honest — and at its most spicy.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 2.2kg duck
170ml peanut oil
35g dried red chillies
5 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns
80ml sichuan chilli bean paste, or to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons sugar
60ml light soy sauce
125ml shaoxing rice wine
1 bunch coriander, chopped


  1. Using a cleaver or large, sharp knife, remove the neck from the duck and reserve. Cut between the legs and body to remove the leg quarters (marylands), then cut each in half at the middle thigh joint. Cut down each side of the backbone and set aside, then cut the duck in half down the breastbone. Cut each breast in half on a slight diagonal. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium–high heat, then add the chillies and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned, taking care that they don’t burn. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon, reserving the oil in the pan. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the peppercorns and cook for another minute, or until the mixture is fragrant. Add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds or so, then add the black beans, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine and 2.5 litres water.
  3. Add the duck, including the reserved neck and backbone for extra flavour, if desired (you may need to cut the backbone in half), and bring the mixture slowly to a simmer; cook over a low heat for 2 hours, or until the duck is very tender. Add the coriander, stir to combine and serve.
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