Gather the family around with Vịt Nấu Chao, an incredibly fragrant Vietnamese Duck and Fermented Bean Curd Hot Pot. With a deeply creamy broth and gorgeous nutty flavor, this slurp-worthy noodle soup will bring all the joys of family dinners to your table!
The noodle soup that every family needs
Our family doesn’t often eat Vịt Nấu Chao, but when we do, there’s nothing that can stop the flying chopsticks from diving into the pot.
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You’re also likely to hear something like this:
The soup’s boiling now – Quick! Someone pass me the greens!
The enthusiastic noodle slurping that happens around the table is ultra satisfying!
What I love most about Vịt Nấu Chao is that you don’t need a premade stock. Some of our most popular noodle soups might rely on a chicken and pork base, but this recipe only needs coconut water.
Now, don’t think that means less flavor. Nah-uh. In fact, after the duck has been slow cooked until fall apart tender, you’ll be welcomed with a thick and luxurious nutty soup that clings to the noodles as you slurp.
Then dip it into a creamy sauce full of zing and you’ll have found a match made in heaven!
Why this recipe works
Marinating the duck in sauce means the flavor is deeply infused into the meat.Using coconut water helps to bring out a natural sweetness that can’t be achieved with water alone.Flash frying the duck and taro sears the skin to lock the moisture inside, even during slow cooking.
What you’ll need
For the noodle soup
About the ingredients
For this Vịt Nấu Chao recipe, we bought our duck fresh from the supermarket but you can also get them frozen.
The soup uses red fermented bean curd and complements thicker round rice noodles.
For the dipping sauce
About the fermented bean curd
The dipping sauce uses white fermented bean curd, which can be found in the Asian supermarket. It can come with or without spice and any will work in this dish.
For the garnish
About the garnish
We used water spinach divided into shorter segments and chrysanthemum leaves (also known as ‘crown daisy’) for our hot pot, but any leafy green will work well.
How to make this recipe
Clean the duck by rubbing 2 tbsp salt all over its outer and inner body, then rinse it off with cold water. Repeat this 3 times and let it dry completely in a colander or pat it dry using paper towels.
Cut the duck into 5 x 5cm (2 x 2″) pieces.
Note: To see a video of how to cut the duck, follow these instructions on how to cut a chicken.
Use a grater to grate the ginger into a bowl.
Mash the red fermented bean curd until it forms a paste.
Combine the ginger, garlic, chicken bouillon powder, sugar and 1 tsp salt.
Marinate the duck with the mixed paste. Leave it to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Peel and cut the taro into large chunks, roughly 5 cm (2″) wide.
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Note: If you would like a thicker broth, cut the taro pieces smaller. It will soften faster and melt into the soup.
Fill a wok or pan with 2 US cup oil and fry on the taro medium heat for 2 minutes on each side or until they’re golden brown. Let them drain in a colander or on paper towels.
Tip: Fry them in small batches to avoid boiling the taro.
Use the same oil to fry the marinated duck on high heat for 3 minutes or until all sides are seared.
Tip: Again, fry them in small batches to avoid boiling.
Pour the coconut water in and bring to a boil.
Skim the scum off the top of the broth and turn the heat to medium to simmer for 20 minutes.
Scoop the floating scum off the top again, turn the heat to high and put the taro in to cook on a medium heat for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool, then set to drip dry in a colander.
While the soup is cooking, make the dipping sauce by mashing the white fermented bean curd and combining it with the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan on low heat for 30 seconds. Stir until well mixed, then set aside for later.
How to serve the dish
To enjoy Vịt Nấu Chao hot pot style, set the broth in the middle of the table over a portable gas stove. Surround it with cooked rice noodles, fresh garnish and cut up limes.
Put noodles in your bowl, then bring the hot pot to a boil to cook the green vegetables. Scoop some taro, duck and greens into your bowl to enjoy hot!
How do I get rid of the gamy smell in my duck?
If the salt rubbing method isn’t enough, you can try rubbing minced ginger onto it as well as soaking it in a cold water bath mixed in with 1/5 US cup white vinegar for 10 minutes.
Can I use deboned duck instead?
You certainly can, but as a rule of thumb meat on the bone has more flavor when cooked!
Tips for the best results
Remove as much duck fat as you can. Duck has a strong gamy smell which can be unpleasant to some, so try to cut off the fat to help reduce that.Simmer the Vịt Nấu Chao for longer. This will help the taro melt into the broth, making it thicker and creamier.
Marinate the duck overnight. Allow the meat to absorb all the sauce for the deepest flavors.
More noodle soups to enjoy with the fam!
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