January 13, 2012
Bebek Betutu, Balinese Duck
My local supermarket trialled a few gourmet items over Christmas.
An influx of hams and smoked chicken was only to be expected, as was a million types of cheese, but the one item I wasn't expecting at our little shop was fresh duck.
Lucky for me, no one else was expecting duck there either, so I was able to buy my little friend here for only $10 instead of about $25. Lucky duck me, and lucky ducky as I decided to give it an Indonesian spice paste treatment and turn it into Bebek Betutu, a yummy Balinese recipe that combines the very best tropical flavours with the savory delicacy of the meat into a rare treat indeed.
Regular Readers may know that I love South East Asian flavours. Fire and heat, fresh and zingy, light and sweet all at once! Thai food is my favorite, and Vietnamese, but Indonesian is catching up fast. I actually have quite a few Indonesian/ Balinese cookbooks and checked them all for this recipe, but ultimately I'm going with the recipe from the Food Safari cookbook, companion to the TV show of the same name on SBS, as it straddled the fine line between totally traditional and doable at home with a good market nearby.
This dish can be cooked in a covered BBQ, or in the oven as I did.
There is a long list of ingredients here, but don't be put off, none of them are terribly expensive, most are available in small quantities, and any not used are able to be frozen. I have quite a stash of frozen bits and pieces in my freezer all in little zippy bags, they last well, grate from fozen and still taste good a couple of months later too.
Bebek Betutu/Balinese Spiced Duck
1 cm sliced tumeric
200 grm blanched shredded spinach
1 cinnamon stick
Banana leaves if possible, or baking paper instead
10 shallots or 2 medium onions
1 head of garlic
4 candle nuts (yes, I have those in the freezer too)
Or macadamia nuts will do
1 cm piece galangal
1 cm piece ginger
1 cm piece tumeric
3 red chillies
1 stem lemongrass(I used 4)
1 tab palm sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
3 tab lime juice
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 tab peanut oil
2 tab water, if needed
3 tsp salt
Preheat BBQ or oven to 160*
For the spice paste, peel and chop where necessary, then place all ingredients for the seasoning paste into a strong blender and blend to a chunky paste.
Mix half the paste with the spinach. For recipes like this I use frozen spinach. Its already washed and chopped, just defrost and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Wash the duck inside and out with tumeric infused water, then stuff spinach spice paste and cinnamon stick into cavity.
(That photo was NOT a good look, thank me for sparing you!)
Rub the rest of the duck with the reserved spice paste, patting it on thickly to coat.
Wrap the duck well in banana leaves or baking paper. I just don't like foil directly touching the meat, somethings it can react with ingredients leaving a funny taste. Now Wrap the wrapped duck well in foil to seal in any cooking juices. Put the little ducky parcel on an oven tray or in a large pot as I did.
Cook the duck at 160* for 2 hours, then drop the temperature to 120* and cook for a further 2 hours.
Take your ducky dinner from the oven and drain any yummy juices into a pan. Simmer until slightly reduced, I also freshened it up with a squeeze of lime once off the heat. Serve alongside duck.
Not too hard at all now was it? Once that paste was done you could just ignore it, for four whole hours, perfect for entertaining!
I served the duck with some yellow rice. A bit of grated ginger, garlic and tumeric,a stem of lemongrass, a pandan leaf, and a couple of kaffir lime leaves- all left from the spice paste ingredients or my freezer stash- chucked in the rice cooker with some rinsed rice, coconut milk and a good pinch of salt.
The duck meat is so tender it just falls off the bone. It steams away happily swimming in spice infused juices. Not tough or stringy,juuuust right. Mmmmmmmmm.....
So Dear Readers, what's your favourite cuisine, and why?