Recipe: Nyonya Braised Duck

Nyonya Braised Duck (Itek Sio)

By Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee

For the duck meat: 

  • 4 Duck legs (thigh included)
  • 3 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Black peppercorns

Ingredients A:

  • 2 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped Gula Melaka
  • 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce 

Ingredients B: 

  • 1 bulb of Garlic, chopped finely 
  • 6 Shallots, chopped finely 
  • 1 Cinnamon stick 
  • 4 whole Cloves 
  • 2 pcs Star anise 

Ingredients C:

  • 400ml Water 
  • Salt and sugar to taste
Photo by Margarita Lee


  1. Wash the duck and pat dry. Cut through the joint to separate the leg and the thigh.
  2. Dry roast the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a pan for about five minutes until golden and fragrant. Then, ground the herbs into a powder using a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle – this is the spice powder.
  3. Rub the duck with Ingredients A and the spice powder. Refrigerate and allow the duck to marinate overnight. 
  4. In a non-stick pan, fry the duck pieces skin side down to render the fat. Then, fry the other sides until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, sauté́ Ingredients B until aromatic.
  6. Add in the duck pieces, then stir and coat the duck with the paste. Keep stirring for one minute, add 400mL of water and bring to a boil. Following this, cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat to low and simmer. 
  7. Braise the duck for around 40 minutes or until tender. Remember to stir every 10-15 minutes. 
  8. When the duck is tender and cooked, switch the heat to high, then keep stirring until the sauce has thickened and reduced.
  9. Season with salt and sugar to taste. 
  10. Garnish with coriander before serving.


Check out more of Margarita’s recipes on her FB @ Umummy Food


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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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