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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lẩu Vịt (Duck Hot Pot)

Nothing makes a chilly day and cold night more bearable than something hot, spicy and hearty like a hot pot. Hot pot and its communal cooking process is ideal to be enjoyed and shared with good company.

Irrespective of the weather, I serve hot pot to my family quite often, especially when the vegetables start to flourish in our garden. I have to incorporate them into our meals. You can't go wrong with hot pot, romaine lettuces, mustard greens, napa cabbage, but water morning glory (aka water spinach = rau muống), and edible chrysanthemum (rau tần ô) are my favorite to pair with a duck hot pot.


water spinach

What I love about duck hot pot is the earthy ingredients of ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, water spinach, and taro imparting their unique textures and depth of flavors to the hot pot that make you want to keep on eating.  It's a fabulous way to keep your cooking connected to nature.
RECIPE: Duck Hot Pot
1 duck about 5 lbs, fresh duck available at Costco
1/2 cup fish sauce 
about 1 lb taro
2 stalks lemongrass
2 pieces ginger root, about 2-inches piece
1 whole garlic
3 shallots, thinly sliced
 about 7 cups water 

for color and spicy oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 fresh red chili pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne or paprika powder
2 tablespoons annatto oil
2 tablespoons cooking oil 

assorted mushrooms
morning glory aka water spinach 
mustard greens

for ginger dipping sauce 
ginger, 1/2-inch piece
2 cloves of garlic
fish sauce
1/2 lime,  juiced 

Preparing Duck

Rinse a duck under cold running water. No need to rub duck with ginger or alcohol to eliminate the gamey flavor. Pull away and discard any excess fat from the duck. Trim the excess skin near the bottom of the legs and around the edges. Chop duck into big chunks of about 2-inches.

Preparing Lemongrass, Ginger, Shallots, and Garlic

Cut each stalk of lemongrass into 3 pieces, smashed.  Peel garlic and slightly smash each one to release the flavor.  Slice the shallots. 

Preparing Taro

Cut taro into big chunks, set aside.
Cooking Duck

In a large pot, saute oil, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallot until fragrant.

Add duck to the pot and cook until brown.

Add enough water to cover the duck and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce.

Simmer it for about 1 hour or until duck is soft. Skimming duck fat occasionally.  Add taro. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until taro is half way cooked. Taro breaks down and becomes gooey and thickens the  broth if it cooks for too long.

Taste and add more fish sauce if needed.  Toss in the spicy oil to add color and spice to the broth.
Preparing Spicy Oil

In a sauce pan, cook garlic in oil on medium low heat until fragrant. Turn of the heat, and take the pan off the heat then add cayenne (less spicy) or paprika powder (more spicy), and fresh red chili pepper. Mix well. Pour it into the duck pot. Chile peppers, cayenne and paprika are particularly sensitive to heat, and become bitter when burnt.

Preparing Condiments

Wash and cut vegetables.

water spinach

mustard greens

king oyster and enoki  mushrooms

water spinach, edible chrysanthemum, taro, assorted mushrooms

Cook your choice of noodle according to the directions. If you prefer sweet potato starch clear noodle, soak noodle in water until serving. Clear noodle cooks very quickly in hot pot.

rice noodle

sweet potato starch clear noodle
Preparing Dipping Sauce

Smash the garlic and ginger together using a mortar and pestle until smooth. Add sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice.  Mix well. 

Transfer duck, taro, and broth to an electric skillet. Place it on a table along with vegetables, mushrooms, noodle, and dipping sauce. When the broth is boiling, toss in vegetables and swirl your raw ingredients in the boiling broth until they are cooked. Using a slotted spoon to scoop out cooked ingredients without taking too much broth. Ladle it over your bowl of cooked noodle and eat with a side of ginger dipping sauce. Yum.
Eat well.  Stay hungry. 


  1. This looks seriously delicious !!!!
    Thanks for sharing :))

  2. Cooked this yesterday and it was stupendous! The printed recipe though didnt have the ginger listed in the first part so we went without. Rave reviews all round from our guests so it wasn't missed at all. Thank you :)

    1. I am glad you and your guests enjoyed it. I will update the printed recipe. Thanks for letting me know. Loan