Duck with Star Anise Broth


This is popular summer time duck recipe, which I first created this for my weekly recipe column in the Sunday Mercury. The idea for this dish comes from a Ken Hom recipe for Braised Duck, but I decided to make it more European by sautéing rather than braising. If you’re not familiar with star anise it has a mild anisette flavour; this is a great dish to try particularly in the warmer months when you want your main course to be light, yet still tasty.

I first met Ken Hom at a Department Store at a well-known shopping mall called Tyson’s Corner on the outskirts of Washington DC; he was fresh from his 1984 BBC series which had catapulted him to fame.  We were both there to do cooking demonstrations and of course, with his newfound fame Ken was headlining this local food festival. Between sets, he came over and complimented my own cookery demonstration and graciously gave me every encouragement.

Ingredients (for 2 portions)

2 duck breasts approximately 198grams each (7oz each)
500ml chicken stock
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
25g (1oz) finely diced ginger
4small star anise
1 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 red chilli
4 pieces of purple sprouting broccoli
4 spring onions (washed and trimmed)
2 cups cooked rice (enough to fill two ramekins


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (gas mark 4).
  2. Grind the Szechwan peppercorns finely with four of the star anise. Then, trim up duck breasts, removing any overhanging skin and score the skin lightly to create a crosshatch design.
  3. Next, rub the ground up star anise mixture into the meat side of each breast and refrigerate.
  4. Gently poach the ginger, garlic, spring onions and whole red chilli in the stock.
  5. When the spring onions and whole chilli are tender, remove and rinse them off.
  6. When cool tie a knot into each of the spring onions and slice the chilli into equal sized rings, removing as many of the seeds as possible and reserve.
  7. Next, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and coriander to the broth.
  8. Press the cooked rice firmly into lightly buttered ramekins and cling wrap them.
  9. Part cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for three to four minutes then cooled down in cold water.
  10. Next, heat a non-stick frying pan then put in the duck breasts in, skin side down.Fry them on a moderate heat until the skin in turning golden brown, turn over and cook meat side down for three minutes.  Turn the duck over again and transfer the pan to the oven for about six minutes then allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Heat the broccoli, spring onion knots and the chilli in the broth gently . Microwave the two rice portions (45 seconds to one minute each). Now turn out rice into the centre of two large pasta bowls. Ladle some of the stock (with vegetables) into the bowls. Cut each duck breast into two at an angle and carefully place on top of the rice.

Chef’s Tip
I prefer to serve my duck breasts slightly pink but you can cook them for an extra three to four minutes if you wish. If you prefer you can replace the rice with noodles, I just chose to use rice to give the duck something to stand on and raise it above the broth.

All recipes and photographs are my property unless stated  ©Kevin Ashton 2000-2016

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