Itek Tim (Duck and salted vegetable soup)

I wasn’t too pleased with my attempt at cooking the nonya soup Itek Tim (Duck and salted vegetable soup). The soup turned out ok, but the duck was tough and honestly, I had trouble finding the duck meat coz the meat had fallen off the bones. I guess it was because of the part of the duck I used. The lady who sold me the duck told me that it would be more convenient for me to use duck wings since I was only cooking for hubby and myself. Taking her suggestion, I bought half a kg of it instead of half a duck. Bad choice I guess. But I’d never know if I didn’t try it. At least that’s a lesson learnt. 🙂
Modified the recipe from Nonya Favourites by Lee Geok Boi.
Itek Tim (serves 2)
  • half a duck, cut into half (please use half a duck instead of wings or isolated parts of the duck!)
  • 300g pickled mustard (kiam chye)
  • 3 preserved plums
  • 2 pieces asam gelugor (rinsed)
  • 3cm old ginger (peeled and smashed)
  • 1.5-2L water
  • 1-2 dashes of ground white pepper
  • 2 small tomatoes (cut into quarters, seeds removed)
  • 1 chilli (remove seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  1. Clean the duck, removing any visible fat.
  2. Blanch the duck.
  3. Rinse kiam chye several times. If very salty, soak for 15min and taste again. Cut into chunks of 4cm squares.
  4. Bring water to boil in a large claypot. Add the duck, ginger, plums, asam gelugor, pepper and 1 tablespoon brandy (optional). Simmer gently for 1 hour, skimming the surface to remove any fat.
  5. Add kiam chye at the 1hour mark and simmer for another 45min, adding tomatoes and chilli 10min before the end. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  6. Leave the soup to stand for several hours to allow the flavours to develop.
  7. If you wish, and have brandy on hand, you can add 1 tablespoon of brandy before serving.
Note: This soup is best consumed the next day (or a few days) after cooking, as the flavour will be even better then!
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One Response to Itek Tim (Duck and salted vegetable soup)

  1. Alex Wong says:

    Hi, I’m glad to find another recipe with Brandy added to Itek Tim. Most other Peranakans are put off by that addition, but it is a must in my family. Kamsiah.

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