My Latest Trip to the Asian Food Store

I shop at an Asian grocery store twice a year. I am knowledgeable about food, but I can always find items that are unfamiliar to me at this store. Canned eel, jarred snake fish, stinky durian fruit, dried lotus seeds, seaweed salad, cucumber kimchi, and preserved duck eggs are some of the unusual items they carry. I was somewhat less adventurous last week. Below are some of the items I purchased.

Dried shitake mushrooms, mung beans for sprouts, chicory coffee, Thai bananas, white sweet potatoes, cherimoya, almond cookies, and 3 kinds of noodles. Not pictured are bok choy and Japanese persimmons.
A 7.3 pound duckling with the head and feet attached. This bird yielded a quart of cooking fat.
Spring rolls.

Here are a few recipes using items I purchased last week.

Leftover Roast Pork and Bok Choy Lo Mein

I forgot to take a photo of the bok choy, but Asian food stores almost always carry the highest quality bok choy a shopper can find. Dice up the meat from a leftover seasoned pork tenderloin (many grocery stores sell pre-seasoned pork loins). Sprinkle some soy sauce on the meat and brown in hot fat (I prefer bacon grease). Remove the meat and set aside. Sautee the chopped bok choy for a few minutes in the grease. Next add cooked seasoned noodles and the meat. Stir and serve.

Roast Duckling

Cut off the head and feet and feed them to your cat or dog. Remove the giblets and save for another dish. Liberally season the duckling with garlic salt. Poke holes in the skin and fat. Put the duckling on a rack and roast at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. (Oven temperatures vary so you might want to cook it for a shorter or longer time.) The duckling I bought was exceptionally large. Most of them weigh about 5 pounds. I was hoping I’d get more dark meat, but the extra weight was all fat. It yielded a quart of excellent cooking fat. I love duck. Eating duck is like eating a bacon cheeseburger. The crispy skin is like bacon, the layer of fat is like cheese, and the dark meat is like a juicy hamburger.

Home Fries Cooked in Duck Fat

Peel the potatoes and slice the potatoes into oval-shaped pieces. Melt some duck fat in an iron skillet. Place the potatoes in the hot grease, season with salt and pepper, and cover for 10 minutes. Uncover, turn the potatoes over and re-cover for 5 minutes. Take the cover off for 5 more minutes, and they will be cooked perfectly.

Leftover Duck and Hard Boiled Egg Gumbo

Remove the meat, skin, and fat from a leftover duck carcass. Set this aside. Put the duck bones in a crockpot with an onion and bay leaf and cover with 6 cups of water. Cook on low for at least 4 hours.

Make a roux with 4 tablespoons of melted duck fat and 4 tablespoons of flour. Stir until the roux is a dark brown. Dice 2 onions and 1 stalk of celery and add that to the roux. Season with an heaping teaspoon of Tony Cachere’s Cajun seasoning mix (or salt, cayenne, black pepper, and chili powder) and 1 teaspoon of paprika and stir. Sautee until the vegetables are soft. Add the 6 cups of duck stock made with the duck bones. Add 1 cup of cooked brown rice. I usually don’t add rice directly into my gumbos because it dilutes the flavor, but duck is rich and the rice reduces the greasiness of this particular gumbo. The rice will kind of disintegrate. Simmer for 2 hours. Just before serving add the reserved meat to the gumbo to heat through. To serve, put an hard-boiled egg sliced in half into a bowl and ladle the gumbo over it. Top with finely chopped green onion and parsley.


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