Food + Wine

Thai Duck Soup. And me, upside down some…

I feel like I’m more creative than the title of this soup… but I think I used up all my creativity on the Instagram post that initially inspired this here (delicious) bowl of goodness.(Feel free to go check it out, but below is the photo you’ll see, along with a caption that explains the reason I’m inverting, one-handed, with a giant pan in the foreground (long story).

This soup is pretty dang awesome, even if it did come from a place of utter cheekiness.  It’s spiced and roasted duck breast set inside a hot broth flavored with soy and fish sauce, sriracha, garlic and ginger, lemongrass and kefir lime leaves, then finished with fresh lime juice, green onions and cilantro.

It sounds complicated.  It isn’t.  It’s amazing.  And you need to try it.

serves about 4

Make your spice rub for your duck breasts…
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
-1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
Mix in a bowl to combine.

Score the skin of 4 small (6 oz) duck breasts.  Salt heavily with kosher salt on all sides.  Rub all over with your spice rub.

In a dry, cold (high sided) skillet, place each duck breast (skin side down) into the pan and turn the heat on high.  Allow to sear until the skin is dark golden brown and then remove and place on a roasting/cooling rack situated over a baking sheet, skin-side up.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to rest.

(If you’re planning on making the components of this soup ahead of time, you can roast the duck in advance, allow it to cool, and then reheat in the hot broth upon serving.  Or, wait to place the duck in the oven until 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve while your soup is simmering.  It’s completely OK to sear your duck first in order to start off the soup, and then not finish them in the oven until later.  Just store in the fridge and then bring them up to room temperature before placing in the oven to finish cooking.)

Turn the skillet heat down to medium.  Remove all but about 1 TB of the rendered duck fat and add the following…

4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
2 (1 inch) pieces of peeled, fresh ginger root
4 cloves of peeled, whole garlic
1 large green onion
1 lemongrass stalk (peel the outer layer and bruise it with the back of your knife to release the oils)

Allow everything to cook for a bit in the rendered duck fat and then pour in 8 cups of water.  Scrape the bottom of the skillet to release any brown bits.

Add in several glugs of soy sauce and fish sauce, then several good squirts of sriracha or spicy Thai chili sauce, to taste.  (you can adjust the seasoning later and add more)

Drop in 3-4 kefir lime leaves (Can’t find lime leaves? Add a couple inches of lime peel)

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook for 2-4 hours, depending on the time you have to do so.  Obviously the longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.

Adjust seasoning if necessary and when you’re ready to serve, remove all the aromatics, but keep the carrots, and ladle into bowls.  Place 1 sliced duck breast into each bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced scallions, and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Feel free to finish with more hot sauce.


What’s that?  You want to see another upside down Instagram post?  Ugh.  OK.  But only because you asked.

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  • Reply Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 12:17 am

    If your food sucks you'll always have a career as a stripper!!!

  • Reply Everyday Champagne June 4, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Good thing my food doesn't suck.

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