Duck poached in fermented green plum master stock with forbidden rice, umeboshi, spring almonds, amaranth


  • Serves 8 people

You will need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

  • 100 gm baby amaranth leaves (see note)
  • For deep-frying: grapeseed oil
  • 30 gm unsalted butter
  • 24 gai lan flowers (see note)
  • Umeboshi purée
  • 200 gm fermented Japanese plums (umeboshi; see note), soaked in 1 litre cold water overnight
  • 50 ml sémillon verjuice or other white verjuice (see note)
  • 50 ml fermented plum extract (maesil; see note)
  • Duck glaze
  • 2 (2kg each) ducks, breasts removed and reserved
  • 1 each onion, carrot, and inner white celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • Fermented green plum master stock
  • 825 ml chicken stock
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) raw Japanese soy sauce (see note)
  • 25 ml virgin black sesame oil (see note)
  • 50 ml fermented plum extract (maesil; see note)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) oloroso Sherry
  • 1 tsp liquid maltose
  • 15 gm thinly sliced ginger
  • 25 gm spring onions (about 3; white part only), chopped
  • 7 gm (2 cloves) sliced garlic
  • 1 cassia quill
  • 2 star anise
  • Rind from ¼ small mandarin
  • Forbidden rice
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • ½ golden shallot and ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100 gm black medium-grain Korean (forbidden) rice, washed 3 times in cold water (see note)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1 litre (4 cups) grapeseed oil
  • Spring almonds
  • 24 (150gm) green spring almonds in the shell, shelled
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
01   For umeboshi purée, drain umeboshi, rinse well and bring to the simmer over low heat in a small saucepan with verjuice and plum extract until liquid has almost all evaporated (15-20 minutes). Push through a fine sieve (discard seeds), reserve purée until required.
02   For duck glaze, preheat oven to 180C. Roast duck carcass, legs and vegetables on a large oven tray lined with silicone paper until browned (30-40 minutes). Place in a stockpot with 2 litres water, weight with a plate, bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat for 3 hours. Skim fat from surface, strain, skim again and reduce stock in a saucepan over high heat to a thick glaze (15-20 minutes).
03   For fermented green plum master stock, bring ingredients to a soft boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer to infuse flavours (1½ hours). Cool, then strain.
04   Place reserved breasts in a single layer in a Cryovac bag with 300ml master stock, seal and steam at 65C for 1 hour. Cool still in bag in a bath of iced water. Refrigerate until required.
05   For forbidden rice, heat grapeseed oil in a saucepan and gently sauté shallot and garlic over low heat (1-2 minutes). Add rice and chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook until rice is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed (30-35 minutes, adding more stock if necessary). Drain in a colander, then, while still warm, take 2 tbsp rice at a time, place between 2 sheets of silicone paper, press down firmly and roll out with a rolling pin to form a 1mm-thick sheet. Remove top silicone paper and place rice sheets on the paper in a very low 100C oven until dried out and firm (15-25 minutes). Heat grapeseed oil in a deep saucepan to 180C. Gently remove the dried rice from the paper and fry in small batches until puffed and crisp (10-20 seconds; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on kitchen paper.
06   For spring almonds, remove skin from the almonds, split each in half lengthways along its natural seam, cover with milk and refrigerate until required.
07   Blanch amaranth for 10 seconds, refresh in iced water, drain and dry between paper towels. Spread each leaf on a baking tray lined with silicone paper and dry in batches in a dehydrator (or in oven at 100C) until brittle (10-15 minutes). Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180C and deep-fry leaves in small batches until crisp (10-15 seconds). Drain well on kitchen paper, cool and store in an airtight container until required. Make on day of serving.
08   Increase oven to 200C. Remove skin from duck breasts. Place breasts and reduced glaze in a new Cryovac bag, seal and place in a 55C water bath until warmed through (10 minutes). Remove duck from bag, halve each breast diagonally, place on a baking tray lined with silicone paper, spoon over remaining glaze from the bag and flash in oven for 30 seconds.
09   Meanwhile, gently heat the umeboshi purée in a small saucepan. Drain almonds, warm in a small saucepan with butter and season with sea salt. Place the rice crisps in the oven to warm through.
10   To serve, spread a little umeboshi purée in the centre of each warmed serving plate, top with a piece of duck, garnish with fried amaranth leaves, forbidden rice crisps, spring almonds and gai lan flowers, and serve.

Note Gai lan flowers are available from Darling Mills Farm. Umeboshi and raw soy sauce (Nama Shoyu) are available from Japanese food stores. Sémillion verjuice is available from selected delicatessens and wineries. Korean fermented plum extract (maesil), virgin black sesame oil and forbidden rice are available from Korean grocers and online from Melbourne-based Korean food specialist Table181. There is no substitute for maesil. If black sesame oil is unavailable, use regular sesame oil. Order baby amaranth leaves from select greengrocers.

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