Steamed duck, winter melon and shiitake mushroom soup

Steamed duck, winter melon and shiitake mushroom soup

New Thai Food
Jeremy Simons

This is my favourite soup. For even better flavour, make it the day before you’re going to serve it. Leave to settle so that the fat floats to the top, solidifies and seals in the liquid. Before reheating, skim off the film of solidified fat. You could also garnish the hot soup with a 3 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned.


Quantity Ingredient
4 duck leg quarters, trimmed of excess fat
1 small winter melon, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 thai pickled lime, halved
10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and stems discarded
garlic chives, cut into 3 cm lengths, to garnish

Soup stock

Quantity Ingredient
5 garlic cloves, peeled
4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
8 white peppercorns
1 small red onion, sliced
100ml canola oil
100ml chinese cooking wine
60g rock candy, pounded
150ml oyster sauce
100ml light yellow bean soy
1.5 litres Chicken stock


  1. To make the soup stock, pound the garlic, coriander roots, ginger, peppercorns and onion in a mortar and pestle until well combined and a uniform paste. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium–high heat. Add the paste and fry until it smells crisp and nutty, for about 5–6 minutes. Drain off the excess oil. Pour in the Chinese cooking wine and boil, stirring, for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Stir in the rock candy, oyster sauce and light yellow bean soy, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5–6 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Strain the stock and keep warm.
  2. Set a large steamer over boiling water. Place the duck pieces, winter melon, pickled lime and mushrooms in a large heatproof bowl that will fit inside the steamer. Put the bowl in the steamer, then pour in the strained stock to come almost to the top of the bowl. Cover with a layer of baking paper, then with aluminium foil. Steam for 1½ hours, checking the steamer’s water level throughout, and refilling with boiling water as necessary.
  3. Remove the bowl from the steamer. Check that the duck is cooked through – the meat should fall off the bone – and the winter melon is almost translucent. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup stock, duck, winter melon and mushrooms into deep soup bowls. Top each with the garlic chives to garnish. Serve hot.
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