Duck, noodles, ginger and plums are all traditional Chinese ingredients. But as British plums come into season, here all the ingredients are combined to make a fresh, late summer dish that’s both quick and easy.
Soy sauces are made from fermented and salted soya beans and there are typically two types available in mainstream shops: light and dark. As a guide, light soy sauce is the saltier and doesn’t add as much colour to the dish as the sweeter dark soy sauce.
Two duck breasts with the skin scored down to the flesh in a diamond shape.
Egg noodles – enough for two (around a handful per person, fresh or dried)
One chilli – deseeded
A small handful of fresh coriander
Four leaves of basil – shredded
Two plums – cut into four
One inch of ginger – grated
A wine glass of chicken stock
One tablespoon of dark soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (Gas mark 7). In a large pan of boiling water, blanch the noodles as per their instructions, drain in a sieve and refresh under running cold water. Allow to drain.
Blend the chilli and coriander with a touch of olive oil – enough to make a loose paste. This can either be done in a small blender or, perhaps, with a mortar and pestle. In a bowl, combine this chilli oil with the noodles.
Heat an ovenproof sauté pan (frying pan) and fry the duck breasts skin side down on a medium-to-high heat for around three minutes. You don’t need to use any oil as the duck has more than enough fat of its own. Turn the breasts over and place the pan in the oven for ten minutes. Remove from the oven, cover the pan and allow the breasts to rest for five minutes or so. This should give you slightly pink meat (adjust the timing for your liking) and the resting stops there being any blood on your plate.
Whilst the duck is in the oven, heat a second medium pan and gently sauté the plums and ginger in a touch of olive oil for a few minutes. Then add the soy sauce and chicken stock and reduce by half.
Once the duck is rested, reheat the noodles (dare I suggest in a microwave?), spoon them onto the centre of warmed plates and place the duck on top; slicing it first if you wish. Mix the basil into the plum sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning and spoon over the duck and noodles.
Previously published in The Northern Echo