It always amazes me how quickly us humans adapt to new conditions in our lives (willingly or not) and form new habits to accommodate new problems. It also amazes me just how much of what we do on a day to day basis is, in fact, habit. I woke up a few days ago and realised that I had gotten into the habit, due to our fluffy new circumstances, of waiting until after 8pm to decide what to have for dinner. Not a convenient time to begin experimenting with exciting new ideas, and definitely not a good time to decide to take a duck breast out of the freezer. Looking back, the last while’s dinners have consisted of out-the-can and sauce-in-a-jar kind of dinners, with a fresh salad thrown on the side to ease the guilt of not having enough veg on the plate. Well, I’m trying to put that habit behind me again and take the time to think about what I’m putting onto my plate and down the hatch. We are what we eat, and I don’t feel like being Beans-on-toast any more. Not only did I actually remember to take the duck breast out the freezer the other day, I even had a vague idea of what I wanted to do with it. Something sweet yet sour, something with a big Asian edge, although undefined as to provenance of said “Asian” and something with sweet potatoes. Something a little, well, square for a change.
*apologies for the shoddy photo quality. Sometimes one is so busy trying to make one’s chopsticks stand still, one forgets to check one’s ISO.
Duck Breast in a sweet/sour sauce
with Broccoli, Water Chestnuts and black sesame
and fried sweet potato
for the marinade/sauce:
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ tsp fresh, grated ginger
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese five spice
¼ cup grated apple (use crisp, green apples like granny smith)
juice from ½ small lime
about 500g duck breast, fat removed, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp oil for frying
for the broccoli:
1 tsp veg oil
3 spring onions, thickly sliced
½ head of broccoli, chopped
1 can (8oz/230ml) water chestnuts, drained
3 tsp black sesame seeds
for the sweet potato:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp sesame oil
peanut oil (or veg oil) for frying
-first, mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the duck breast. Let marinade for as long as you can (I only left mine for 40 mins and it was great)
- par-boil the sweet potato for about 5 minutes until almost cooked, but still very firm
- heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan on medium. Add the duck and it’s marinade and cook gently until done. You should end up with a juicy sauce. Set aside, cover with foil to keep warm.
- meanwhile, heat the sesame and veg oil for frying the sweet potato and fry, turning occasionally until tender and slightly browned.
- stir fry the spring onions, broccoli and water chestnuts in the duck breast pan. Add the sesame seeds after 5 minutes and cook for another minute or so.
- remove sweet potato and drain before serving.