In the ancient Chinese cookbook Wushi Zhong Kui Lu, it was recorded that using cherry leaves to stew a goose can tenderize the meat. We recommend something similar, but with the more easily available duck. Adding beer and taro into the pot, we get a dish that is both fragrant and nourishing, suitable for all ages, and great for festive party dinners. Taro is sweet in taste and calm in nature. It’s beneficial to the stomach, invigorating for the organs, nourishing for the qi, and it reduces phlegm.
Cherry Leaves and Taro Duck Cooked in Beer (serves four):
Half a duck, about 1kg, cut into pieces
8 small taros, peel and cut into cubes
A handful of cherry leaves
8 slices of ginger, 3mm thick
1 clove star anise
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat an iron pan and add oil. Put the taros in the pan and fry on low heat until golden. This prevents the taro from falling apart after being stewed. Set the fried taros aside in a container.
Continue to heat the pan and add oil if needed. Fry the duck with its skin down in the pan over medium heat until golden, then turn to high heat and stir-fry with the ginger slices to create a fragrance.
Add beer to cover all the ingredients. If there’s not enough beer, add water to fill the pan. Bring to a boil and add star anise, cherry leaves, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and pepper.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. When the duck is soft, open the lid and continue boiling until all sauce is absorbed.