Itek Tim is one of the quintessential Peranakan cuisine that I love, especially on a cold day.
"Itek" means duck in Malay and this dish is a sour, tangy duck soup with preserved Chinese green mustard, tomatoes that gets better after the flavor has deepened after a few days.
I've provided the traditional recipe below, but I'll note that I omitted some ingredients because I didn't have them handy in my kitchen and also, I used a crockpot instead of slow cooking it over charcoal like they did in the old days. Two things that may make my dear bibik grandaunt turn in her grave!
But, I found the end result pretty close to my mom's cooking - but for half the effort!
I consider this a 30-minute meal as that's all it takes to prep the materials, throw them into the crockpot and cook for the next 8-10 hours. This can be prepared overnight and be ready for dinner the next day, either as a one-dish meal with rice, or as part of a meal.
2-3 duck thighs, skin removed
2 pack Chinese green mustard (liquid drained, cut up)
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 thumb of ginger
2 pieces of tamarind skin*
2 sour plum*
*omitted as I did not have them handy.
- Season duck with some brandy.
- Drain the mustard green of its liquid. You may want to wash it as it is salty.
- Add all other ingredients into the crockpot (except the chili).
- Add duck on top.
- Add enough water to just barely cover the duck (can be a little less as the vegetables and tomatoes will give out more liquid).
- Set on low and cook for 8-10 hours.
- The next day, debone the duck and mix the meat into the soup.
- This dish should barely need any salt but you can adjust taste accordingly.
- Traditionally, you would break a few green chilis so that the soup becomes a hot and sour soup.