Chinese Stewed Duck

Duck December 25th, 2007

Stewed Duck

There are many duck recipes available out there and I am a lover of duck meat. Yet, I must confess that despite there being such a big variety of duck recipes, I am still partial to the chinese duck recipes – peking duck, roasted duck and stewed duck. Today, I shall share with you my wife’s family recipe for stewed duck. We call it Lor Ark in Hokkien.

Stewed Duck in wok

This duck recipe uses dark soya sauce and some simple ingredients to give the duck an aromatic flavour yet retain the juiciness of the flesh. If you can get hold of the ingredients mentioned, I would recommend that you try this recipe for you will be amazed by how easy it is to cook a wonderful and delicious stewed duck dish.

This is my wife’s recipe for Chinese Stewed Duck




  • 1 whole duck (approx 2 kgs)
  • 3 inches galangal (lengkuas)
  • 8 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50 grammes 5 spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 litre hot water
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil



Clean duck thoroughly by rubbing it with some salt. Rinse. Rub about 30 grammes of 5 spice powder over the duck and allow to marinade for 1 to 2 hours.

Pound the galangal, garlic and shallots separately.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in wok and saute shallots till aromatic. Remove shallots. Add garlic and saute till aromatic. Remove garlic. Add galangal and saute till aromatic.

Return shallots and garlic into the wok and stir together with galangal till even. Add dark soya sauce and sugar. Stir well.

Add duck and coat it with mixture. Allow duck to cook and shrink slightly. Control heat so that duck does not burn. Once duck has shrunk slightly, add about 200 ml water and allow it to boil. Continue with another 200 ml and repeat process till 1 litre of water used. The water should be filled up to at least half the duck. Add remaining 5 spice powder and reduce heat to simmer.

Stew / simmer for 1.5 hours turning every 10 minutes. Add salt to taste and water if it is drying out.

Remove duck and drain off excess gravy. Allow to cool before serving with gravy (sieve gravy to remove spices before serving).

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  1. 1
    December 26th, 2007 at 9:10 am

    but how do i kill a duck? :/

  2. 2
    Mama BoK
    December 26th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Yummy..!! duck looks really scrumptious..!! i donch know if i am brave enough to try it or not.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 3
    December 26th, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    ok….looks nice..the 1 thing that ive never tried cooking is definately duck!!!! dont know wat to do with a duck…hehe

  4. 4
    December 26th, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    i can’t cook, but that looks seriously yum.

  5. 5
    christine subrata
    December 26th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    That stewed duck looks yummy but I’d prefer Hongkong style roasted duck sold by a local chinese resto nearby my home only for approx USD 12/1 whole duck.

  6. 6
    December 27th, 2007 at 11:26 am

    ky : Erm…use a knife?!?

    Mama Bok : Just do it. Impress yourself and your family. ๐Ÿ˜€

    fashionasia : Now you’ve got yourself a stewed duck recipe which should be simple enough to try. Add this to your list of recipes, eh? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Lainie : Indeed, we finished it in 2 meals. After the first meal, we put it back for further stewing and added some firm tofu. Great with plain porridge as well.

    Christine : That’s quite cheap @ USD12 per duck fully roasted. Must be good as the people of Hong Kong are famous for their roast duck cuisine ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. 7
    Li Li
    December 28th, 2007 at 12:17 am

    My mum cooked this stew duck during tong zhi too. However, i guess the duck selection also play an important role right? My mum recipe didn’t turn out good as the spices added weren’t enough & the duck is superb hard even we have cooked it for an hour plus. I would love to try ur wife recipe one day.

  8. 8
    December 28th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I like to eat Loh Ark with porridge.
    But I never buy duck to cook before ler!

  9. 9
    December 30th, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Oh! Drool!!!!!!!! This one is a keeper. I am quite sure some duck is gonna get cooked when I return to Boston next month. Happy New Year!

  10. 10
    December 31st, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Reese : Happy New Year Reese! Hope to hear good reports on the duck-venture when you get back to Boston ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. 13
    January 2nd, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Thou shall not worry! Some ducks are gonna get cooked. Will keep you posted.

  12. 14
    January 5th, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Wow that does look beautiful…I think I will start cooking this now.

  13. 15
    January 7th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Sorina : Tell me how did it turn out, ya?

  14. 16
    January 10th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Hai Pablopabla,

    Really nice to have a website like yours. Lots of homemade goodies. I’ve tried some of your recipes & it taste good.

    hmm…..your ducky looks great. Is it salty taste? Nowadays, i would cook the sweet “phak lo ark” just by adding 3-4 more tbsp of sugar/rock sugar. To compliment, add hard boil eggs. Lo Ark taste better overnight. hmm…..yummy!

  15. 17
    January 11th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    rd : Hello there! Glad to hear that you’ve tried some of the recipes here and found it good ๐Ÿ˜€

    This stewed duck is slightly sweetish as far as the gravy is concerned. You don’t really have to follow the measurements to detail as you know, chinese cooking depends a lot on “estimates” rather than exact measurements. Oh, don’t stop with the hard boiled eggs. Add some firm tofu as well. And yes, it tastes better overnight ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. 18
    Chef Tom
    January 16th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks! I love duck! yet I rarely have it. Your recipe has inspired me to cook duck this weekend.

  17. 19
    Kiam Si Ah!!
    February 2nd, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    My mama makes it like this! THis is why she’s so popular, too. Haha!! But I love duck cooked this way. The sauce with the rice … mm mm good! I prefer it to the regular type of dry roast duck. Thanks for sharing.

  18. 21
    Tom Aarons
    August 27th, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Woe is me! It is nearly midnight and there is nowhere to buy duck! And, after reading this, I can think of nothing else! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. 22
    October 4th, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Hi I;M Andy
    can you till me what galangal is.
    I have a small flok of moscovys.
    I like to make your duck stew

    Thanks andy

  20. 23
    October 5th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    andy : Hi! Wiki explains it here.

  21. 24
    November 10th, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks for your Mom’s stewed duck rec. .
    I was missing one ingredient Galangal .but cooked up the stew Sunday for famly.
    ALL love the dish. so good.

    Thanks ANDY Nov. 10, 08

    I have #6 10 mounth old s Moscovy to havest this winter. goody STEWED DUCK it is.

    We have # 9 New Zeland Rabbit to havest also. 6 lbs @

  22. 25
    December 4th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Hi, I’m Anna from Penang. me really adored by your many many delicious recepes on the blog. Mainly they r mostly homecook style and easy to follow! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Chinese Stewed Duck – would like to know why:-
    Q: cant add all into wok and stir till aromatic? what’s the dif?

    Q: when to add dark soy sauce? Is it when coating duck with 4 spice powder?

    appreciate your sharing. ๐Ÿ˜€
    best regards,

  23. 26
    December 22nd, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Thanks we all love your Stewed Duck.
    have my mouscvy ready to go.


  24. 27
    December 22nd, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Just leting you I got dry galangal on line
    I will try it soon.
    thank you for info on ginger


  25. 28
    January 27th, 2009 at 1:02 am

    I successfully tried your recipe yesterday. Thank you for sharing it! The only changes I made were instead of putting additional five spice powder into the gravy, I threw in 6 star anise and two cinnamon sticks. I also put in some sliced tau kwa in the gravy. I live in Southern California and managed to find frozen whole duck for just $4.50 and galangal at 99 Ranch Market. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  26. 32
    February 20th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Normally when cook the duck, the duck meat turn very hard, how i can make it soft?

  27. 33
    February 21st, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Rachael : Do you mean the meat turned “tough”? May I know how long did you stew the duck?

  28. 34
    Regina Chennault
    February 26th, 2010 at 8:29 am


    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I did tried it with just duck legs before but yesterday I went for whole cut-up duck… it was very good! I have a question: when stewing the duck, do you turn the heat to lowest? I turned to medium low but found the gravy was still very watery and bland after ~1.5 hours, and the duck didn’t smelled aromatic. Afraid that further cooking will tough up the meat, I removed the duck and threw in some gizzards and chicken hearts, and let it stew until the gravy thicken a bit, then I moved the duck back to the pan and stew a little while, and it turned out very ho chiak. Thanks again lor ark sifu!

  29. 35
    February 27th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Regina : I usually reduce the heat to low for simmering / stewing. One way of ensuring that the gravy does not taste watery is to increase the ingredients for the gravy (eg. shallots, dark soya sauce etc). Allow the duck to marinade longer to increase the flavour.

  30. 37
    September 19th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    My husband cooked Chinese stewed duck 2 weeks ago. We liked it so much, we are cooking it for dinner again tonight. Thanks so much for the recipe, it is fantastic!

  31. 38
    October 3rd, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    This looks really delicious! I would like to make this dish for my husband when I can find both duck and galangal. ๐Ÿ™‚ Could you let me know if an additional 200ml of water should be added as soon as the previous 200ml has boiled? Also, do I need to turn the duck when I add the water?

    Many thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. 39
    October 7th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    KY : The goal is to keep the water / gravy constantly boiling / stewing. You can turn the duck as and when you add water. The reason for turning the duck is to ensure even cooking.

  33. 40
    Cooking Mama
    October 26th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I followed your recipe for Stewed Duck and served it last night for dinner with porridge. Turned out great! Thanks for the recipe.

  34. 41
    January 21st, 2012 at 12:54 am

    why no hard boiled egg included?

  35. 42
    January 30th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Bought 2 ducks and will be using one tonight and trying out your recipe. I am game when it comes to experimenting with new recipes. I think I will add a few slices of ginger in and one tablespoon of chinese wine to add to the flavour.


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