Gourmandistan

Take-out lo mein taken in to Gourmandistan, transformed by duck

Over the years, there has been much debate in Gourmandistan over which Chinese food travels best. While it was never one of Michelle’s favorites because sameness, Steve usually asserted that lo mein was a reliable take-out choice. He felt the combination of noodles, sauce and assorted other things (mainly pork, in Steve’s preference) was always about the same quality at home as it was in the restaurant. However, this homemade version with duck may very well end the argument, as Steve agrees it kicks the ass of any Chinese take-out lo mein he’s ever had.

Lo mein

Michelle thought that duck might give a richer, meatier flavor than Steve’s takeout preference, pork. (Plus, we had duck and no pork.) She followed the directions from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking to roast some duck breast, something we often do for dim sum fillings and such. It was a fine substitute for the called-for char siu. She vamped a bit more off of Diana Kuan’s roast pork lo mein recipe from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. Some chives and pea shoots completed what indeed was a big step above what we can get in a waxed container from some local Chinese place.

The dish was so good we’re probably going to buy Kuan’s book and see what other takeout treats Gourmandistan can make at home. Even better, the next time we do the duck lo mein, Steve will home-make the egg noodles as well.

DUCK AND SHIITAKE LO MEIN

(duck adapted from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking/lo mein adapted from Diana Kuan’s The Chinese Takeout Cookbook)

Baked Duck Breasts:

  • 2 TB oyster sauce
  • 1-1/2 TB sherry
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 TB + 1 tsp. chili bean sauce
  • 1 TB + 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely minced ginger
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. 5-spice powder
  • 2 to 4 boneless, skin-on duck breast halves (about 1 to 1-1/2 lbs.)

Mix together all ingredients except duck in a pan large enough to hold duck breasts.

Score duck fat, if desired. (If breasts are small and not too fatty, you can skip this step.) Marinate the breasts for a couple of hours, turning occasionally.

Place breasts, meat side up, in a foil-lined roasting pan. Bake for 10 minutes in a 450° F oven. Raise heat to 550° F, turn meat over, and bake for 10 minutes more.

Remove from oven. Let cool.

Lo Mein:

  • 12 oz. dried Chinese egg noodles
  • Sesame oil
  • 3 TB soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 TB oyster sauce
  • 1-1/2 TB dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 tsp. honey
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • 5 or 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb. baked duck breast (see above), cut into small pieces
  • Handful or 2 of pea shoots, in 1 or 2-inch lengths (optional)
  • Generous amount of chopped chives

Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Place in a bowl and toss with a generous amount of sesame oil.

Heat a skillet over high heat. Add some peanut or vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add mushroom slices and sauté, tossing, until nicely browned. Remove mushrooms and set aside. Add a little more oil, then scallions and stir-fry until aromatic and just starting to color. Add the garlic and ginger and some red pepper flakes, cooking just until garlic is done but not browned.

Add the noodles and duck. Pour in the sauce mixture and toss with tongs until well mixed and warmed. Add pea shoots and chives and toss again.

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27 comments

  1. I live in the duck region of France, so am always looking for different ways to cook it. Will be trying this as I miss Asian food here. No takeout within an hours drive.

  2. I’ve always thought that the quality of a Chinese take-out is proportional to the proximity of the restaurant: the close the place, the better the food. Even so, if I had a recipe like this one in my repertoire, I’d forget all about take-out. This is one heckuva dish!

  3. Gorgeous! I love Chinese food, and duck, but now I’m scratching my head because you made me realise I’ve never made duck at Asian style in anyway. Only French ways. Thanks for the inspiration! xx

  4. Just thought I’d drop you a line to say I have ordered duck for my grocery delivery this week and I am so excited to make this. On a recent trip to Armagnac, they did nothing but extol the virtues of duck and duck fat. Everyone. From armagnac producers to doctors.

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