Friday, August 12, 2011

Itek Tim (Sour Duck Soup)

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*
Green chilies*

*omitted as I did not have them handy.

  1. Season duck with some brandy.
  2. Drain the mustard green of its liquid. You may want to wash it as it is salty.
  3. Add all other ingredients into the crockpot (except the chili).
  4. Add duck on top.
  5. Add enough water to just barely cover the duck (can be a little less as the vegetables and tomatoes will give out more liquid).
  6. Set on low and cook for 8-10 hours. 
  7. The next day, debone the duck and mix the meat into the soup.
  8. This dish should barely need any salt but you can adjust taste accordingly.
  9. Traditionally, you would break a few green chilis so that the soup becomes a hot and sour soup.
Serves 4-6


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