Thai duck noodle soup
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Thai duck noodle soup

1 hr 20 mins
to make broth, and to marinate the duck

Susan says

I love big bowls of steaming hot soup - the kind that are so hearty they constitute a meal.

This recipe takes a little time to make because the broth needs to simmer to extract the flavour from the bones, but the work is not difficult.

You need only the duck carcass (minus the tail, which has a very strong flavour) and breasts for the soup; use the leg meat for another dish, such as duck larb.

Most people throw away the roots of fresh coriander (cilantro) but it has a lot of flavour. If the fresh coriander you buy is sold without the roots, use the thicker stems from the fresh herb.

For the duck noodle soup
about 2.3kg (5lb)
duck carcass (minus tail) and breasts
fresh coriander roots
coriander seeds
whole white peppercorns
lg garlic cloves, peeled
10g (⅓oz)
cassia bark, 1 piece
star anise
50ml (3tbsp and 1tsp)
kecap manis (Indonesian dark, sweet soy sauce)
15ml (1tbsp)
dark soy sauce
20g (⅔oz)
brown crystal sugar (or granulated sugar, 4tsp)
fine sea salt
rice noodles
To garnish
garlic cloves, peeled
60ml (4tbsp)
cooking oil
spring onions
4-6 sprigs
fresh coriander
Thai chilli powder
fresh lime, cut into wedges
bean sprouts
lettuce leaves
Thai basil leaves
fresh mint leaves

Roughly chop the fresh coriander roots then put them in a mortar and add the coriander seeds, white peppercorns, two garlic cloves and five grams (1tsp) of salt. Pound to a rough paste then rub the mixture over the duck carcass and breasts and leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.


Put the rice noodles in a large bowl, add enough cool water to cover by 2.5cm (1in) and leave to soak.


Bring 3 litres (3 quarts) of water to the boil and add the cassia bark, star anise, kecap manis, soy sauce and sugar. Add the carcass and the spice paste covering it (but not the breasts) to the water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the duck breasts and cook for another 30 minutes. As necessary, skim off the fat and scum that rises to the surface. Taste the broth and add more seasonings to taste.


While the soup is simmering, prepare the garnishes. Finely chop the six garlic cloves then put them in a small pan. Add the oil to the pan then place over a medium flame and cook until sizzling. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is pale golden. Strain the garlic through a fine sieve (the oil can be used for other dishes), then drain it on paper towels. Chop the spring onions and fresh coriander.


Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, then drain in a colander. Remove the duck breasts from the soup and slice them against the grain into thin pieces.


Divide the noodles between six to eight bowls then ladle in the soup. Scatter the garlic, spring onion and coriander on top and divide the duck slices between the bowls. Serve with the garnishes on the side - chilli powder, lime wedges, bean sprouts, lettuce, Thai basil and mint leaves - and let everyone season their bowl to taste.


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