Eight Treasure Duck is a traditional Chinese dish often served during the holiday period and Chinese New Year. It is considered a lucky New Year’s Eve dish with the addition of fat choy. “Fat choy” sounds similar to a phrase meaning “be prosperous”. You may have heard it in the traditional Cantonese new year’s greeting “Gong hei fat choy”, which means “Congratulations and be prosperous.”
Eight Treasure Duck
Serves: 6-8 Preparation: 30 Minutes Cooking: 2hr 30min
¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
3kg whole duck, dried thoroughly
2–3 cups soaked fat choy (hair vegetable)
3 thin spring onions, sliced
10 garlic cloves, peeled
4 eschalots, sliced
1 cup (220g) pearl barley
1 cup (160g) dried chestnuts
1 cup dried lotus seeds
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup semi-cooked gingko nuts (vacuum packed)
200g lean pork shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes
4 spring onions, finely chopped
4 Chinese sausages (lap cheong)
1 cup (160g) water chestnuts
2 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
Step One: Soak the pearl barley
Soak the pearl barley, dried chestnuts and lotus seeds separately in cold water overnight, then drain. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms for 20 minutes; drain, then trim and discard the stems. Set aside.
Step Two: Prepare the duck
Heat the oil in a hot wok and fry all sides of the duck until the skin is golden. Set aside in a deep round roasting tin, reserving any the oil that is left in the wok.
Step Three: Make the stuffing
Fry the whole cloves of garlic and shallots until golden and then remove and set aside in a bowl. On a medium heat, next add the remaining stuffing ingredients in the order shown above, until the oil and fragrances are released.
Spoon the stuffing into a large bowl, trying to leave as much liquid in the wok as possible. Stuff the duck until tightly packed, capping off the end of the cavity with a few of the mushrooms. Any remaining stuffing can be tucked around the outer edges of the duck.
Spoon the remaining liquid from the wok over the duck and cover very tightly with foil, completely sealing the duck.
Step Five: Double-steam the duck
Fill a large stock pot with just enough water to sit the tin in. Gently lower the tin holding the duck into the water and cover tightly with the lid.
Bring to the boil and then turn down very low to simmer for 2 hour. Half way through the steaming, remove the duck and the foil and sprinkle the fat choi over the top of the duck. Cover and steam for one more hour.
Garnish with shallots (spring onions) before serving.