You may have heard of the Chinese Beggar’s Chicken before, but home cook Jessie Koey has a recipe that triumphs the popular dish- Waist Tonic Beggar’s Duck Legs.
Although prepared with the same unique method, the flavour of the dish is enhanced by the heartier flavour of duck and a special sauce infused with Hockhua’s Waist Tonic Essence for a huge health boost!
As the legend goes, a beggar stole a chicken, wrapped it in lotus leaves and buried it in clay to cook without anyone noticing. When he dug it out and unwrapped the chicken, its tantalising aroma attracted the emperor who was passing by and he stopped to dine with the beggar! The emperor enjoyed it so much that he ordered the dish be added to the imperial menu.
However, we’re sure that the emperor in the legend would enjoy the dish even more if the beggar stole a duck instead!
As the name suggests, Waist Tonic Essence is traditionally taken to relieve body aches around the waist and to strengthen the body by improving blood circulation for a rejuvenating effect.
Here are the health benefits of Hockhua’s Waist Tonic Essence:
- Cordyceps - Promotes healthy lungs and kidneys, reduces cough and phlegm
- Ginseng: - Improves stamina, promotes healthy spleen and lungs, aids blood formation, and helps in relaxation
- Dangui - Aids in blood formation and circulation
- Ba Ji Tian - Promotes healthy kidneys, strong bones and helps relieve rheumatism
You can also incorporate the waist tonic essence into other yummy dishes or simply take it as a health supplement!
Here are the ingredients that you will need: duck legs, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine, chicken stock, salt, pepper, sugar, rock sugar, red dates, wolfberries, ginger, cornflour water, and Hockhua’s Waist Tonic Essence.
For the “clay” to cook the duck in, you will need some flour, salt, and water.
The first step of the dish is to marinate the duck legs.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them well with your hands. Be sure to rub the seasoning ingredients into the duck legs so they are well coated with flavour.
When the duck legs are well coated with marinade, put it to chill in the fridge for three hours.
Second step: Steam the duck legs
Once the time is up, transfer the duck legs and marinade into a steaming dish. Put the dish into a steamer and let it steam over high heat for 20 minutes.
While the duck legs are steaming, use the waiting time to make the flour dough that replaces the traditional clay to bake the duck in.
Third step: make the flour dough to bake the Beggar’s duck
In a large mixing bowl, add all the flour dough ingredients and mix well with a spatula until the dough forms.
The dough will become stiffer as you continue mixing so once it looks like in the picture above, switch from using a spatula to your hands.
Keep gathering up the dough and kneading it into a ball. It should be stiff and firm but still flexible.
Once the dough is ready, place it on a large flat surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle that is big enough to wrap the duck legs in.
Lay a large sheet of baking paper over the dough, followed by a sheet of cling wrap, and a final sheet of baking paper.
By this time, your duck legs should have finished steaming so we can wrap them up now.
Place the duck legs onto the middle of the baking sheet with kitchen tongs. Also place the red dates, wolfberries, and ginger slices on top of them.
Don’t discard the marinade! We will need it later for the sauce.
Wrap the topmost layer of baking paper around the duck legs first then followed by the cling wrap, baking paper, and finally dough.
#Tip: wrapping the layers one by one helps you get a tighter and neater wrap!
Now on to the fourth step: bake!
Flip the dough so that the smoother side faces upwards and place the whole thing on a roasting pan.
Let it bake for two to three hours at 190° C.
About five to ten minutes before the baking time is up, prepare the waist tonic sauce.
Fifth step: Prepare the Waist Tonic Sauce and serve the dish
Pour the duck marinade from earlier onto a saucepan and heat it up on low heat. Thicken it with some cornflour water and stir well.
When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and let the sauce cool down slightly. Then, add in the waist tonic essence and stir it well into the sauce.
#Tip: the waist tonic essence’s health properties will be destroyed by high heat so ensure the sauce is cooled before adding it in!
Remove the Beggar’s Duck from the oven and use a rolling pin to break the crust open.
Place the wrapped duck legs onto a serving dish first before unwrapping them.
It is best to use a dish or bowl with some depth to it so you can tuck in the baking paper nicely into the sides and prevent any sauce or juices from flowing out.
Generously spoon the waist tonic sauce over the duck legs and garnish with some springs onions.
Get the recipe here!