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It was that time of the month again, with the Irish Foodies Cookalongs, an event that happens on the first Friday of each month and one which the hubs has become accustomed to (& secretly looks forward to but won’t admit it!). The theme this month was Budget/Leftover cooking, so thinking cap on, and a short root around in the freezer produced 2 small duck breasts. In the fridge was a quarter head of red cabbage,  a few red chillies and half a mango.  So that was starter organised. This dish would make a great light lunch either, served with some part boiled cubed potatoes, which are then seasoned and fried in olive or rapeseed oil.  Bake either as roast potatoes in a hot high oven.  Smoking food at home in the kitchen is, I think, one of the easiest cooking methods and a healthier option, avoiding the use of grease and oil.  This recipe follows the same technique and is similar to the smoked chicken recipe where I used Lapsong Souchong Tea instead of Green Tea. I was going to use a biscuit tin to smoke the duck in, as an excuse to finish the last of the biscuits, but I refrained and was good.  So I used the Wok instead, which I had ‘accidentally’ forgotten about. I also marinated the breasts for an hour in 240g black bean sauce before smoking, but this is optional.  The dipping sauce is a mix of tamari, (or use a good dark soy sauce) with  rice wine vinegar, some of my cupboard essentials for quick meals and budget food.  In euros this dish comes in at just  under €2.00 per head for two adults. Delicious, easy and healthy!

Red Cabbage Pickle

Thinly slice a quarter of a head of red cabbage removing the outer leaves and toss thoroughly in the following pickle. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours, stirring about every hour or so.

  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1tsp castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamari or good dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • juice half a lime
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small finely chopped red chilli

Utensils Required :  Wok / Frying pan or an old Biscuit Tin & Tinfoil

Duck Smoking Ingredients

  • 85g Long Grain Rice
  • 85g Demerara / Granulated Sugar
  • 40g Green Tea Leaves
  • 2 small Duck breasts
  • 2 star anise

Line the wok with tinfoil overlapping the edges, or if using a biscuit tin, double line with foil.     


Combine the rice, sugar, star anise and tea leaves in a bowl and place in the pan.  Cover again with a layer of tinfoil that fits the inside base only and doesn’t overlap. 

Place over a moderate heat and once the wok begins to smoke, which takes 10 mins approximately, place in the scored (3/4 diagonal slits in skin)duck breasts, wiping off the excess marinade if using.                                

Cover with a tight-fitting lid or two layers of tinfoil, and cook for 10 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and leave for another 10 minutes.  If you prefer medium duck 7 minutes of smoking and resting as above should be sufficient time.

Remove the fat from the duck if you wish, or heat a dry griddle pan until hot and smoking and fry briefly until brown.

Cool for 5 minutes before slicing thinly and diagonally.   

Dipping Sauce

  • 4 tbsp tamari / dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • little chopped chilli

Slice the mango thinly and arrange with the sliced duck with a thin slice of chilli. Remove the pickled cabbage from the fridge and arrange on the plate, drizzling with a little of the pickling juice. Serve with dipping sauce and sliced spring onion.