Growing up in a Teochew family, braised meats made frequent appearances at our dinner table. My favourite was braised duck wings with gizzard.
My late father learnt to cook the dish from his mother. Her method of braising was to caramelise sugar and fry the meat in the caramel.
He improvised her recipe by adding fresh coriander and spring onion. Every time he braised chicken, duck or pork, he would save the braising liquid, simmer it to a concentrated reduction and store this in the freezer.
The next time he wanted to braise any meat, instead of caramelising sugar, he would defrost the braising liquid and use it as a base to cook the meat.
For duck wings, the braising time depends on your preferred level of tenderness.
If you like the meat to fall off the bone, cook the wings for a longer period of time.
In my recipe, they are cooked to the point where the meat is tender but the bones are still held firmly together.
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BRAISED DUCK WINGS AND GIZZARDS
4 litres of water, divided
1kg duck wings
6 duck gizzards
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
30g smashed ginger
1 head of garlic cloves
100g spring onion
4 small pieces of rock sugar (15g)
4 Tbs dark soya sauce
1 Tbs light soya sauce
2 tsp salt
1. In a pot, bring 2 litres of water to a boil. Blanch the duck wings, rinse and set aside. Blanch the gizzards, rinse and set aside. Discard the blanching liquid.
2. Heat a frying pan. Place the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and black peppercorns in the pan. Fry over low heat until the spices are fragrant. Set aside.
3. In a clean sturdy pot with a flat base, heat the sugar over low heat until it begins to caramelise.
4. Add the duck wings and stir-fry them until they are coated with the caramel.
5. Add the duck gizzards, followed by the ginger and garlic.
6. Add the toasted cinnamon, star anise, cloves and black peppercorns, followed by the remaining 2 litres of water.
7. Add the spring onion and coriander, then the rock sugar, dark soya sauce, light soya sauce and salt.
8. Bring to a boil, then boil uncovered for 20 minutes over medium heat.
9. Cover the pot, turn off the heat and cook in the residual heat for an hour. Adjust the taste with more light soya sauce or salt if needed.
10. Remove the wings and the gizzards. Slice the gizzards. Drizzle on the gravy and serve.
Serves five to six