Kiam chye ark or salted vegetable duck soup is another unforgettable dish in the palate memory of any Hokkien descendant. The salty richness of the soup goes well with a simple bowl of steamed white rice, and it is one dish in which you drink the soup and eat up all the meat and pickled vegetable in it. A little brandy lifts the flavour and effectively cuts through the richness of the duck meat.
1 duck (2kg)
4 Chinese sour plums in brine, mashed
8 slices assam gelugor (assam skin)
6 tomatoes (300g)
2 red chilli
600g salted vegetables (kiam chye)
3 litres water
2 tablespoons brandy
1. Wash, clean and chop duck into serving slices. Remove excess fat from the tail and neck. If you like, you can skin the duck completely, but the duck fat does give the soup extra flavour.
2. Soak salted vegetable, drain and cut into chunks.
3. Heat up 3 litres water to boil and add duck and salted vegetables.
4. Add sour plum, chilli, assam gelugor and boil for another 15 minutes.
5. Reduce to a simmer for half an hour and add brandy just before serving.
Pauline is a journalist, culinary researcher and cookbook author with a particular interest in food culture and history. Currently working on her fourth and fifth cookbooks, Pauline also maintains a food and travel column in China daily, China's largest English news publication.