Stay away, purists! I created a twist on a Filipino classic and the hack is richer and tastier than the original. We adore chicken binakol at home but once you’ve tried duck binakol, it will be hard to go back to the traditional.
The duck binakol happened while trying to think hard about what to do with the back of a whole duck. We had used the thighs, legs, wings and neck to cook duck curry noodle soup (for that new blog that you many not have seen yet), I seared the breast and served it with some leftover vegetable dish, and all that remained was the back.
I knew, of course, that the back of the duck will be simmered to make bone broth. As with chicken, it is the back with all those bones that make the most flavorful broth. The question was what would I do with the generous amount of duck meat attached to the bones?
It’s summer. And it’s the hottest summer in years. The idea of a soup with a medley of vegetables that would require a lot of preparation was not pretty. I wanted something that I could just dump in a pot.
Why not binakol? If the combination of chicken bones, ginger, shallots and sweet coconut water could results in a soup that’s nothing short of magical, surely, using duck instead of chicken would yield something even more unforgettable?
I asked Speedy to buy coconuts. He came home with coconut meat that wasn’t too tender. Other people beat him to the better ones. Apparently, coconuts are in high demand these days because of the heat. If you don’t know it yet, drinking coconut water is one of the most effective ways to rehydrate.
No problem, I thought. Since duck takes longer to cook than chicken, I will just let the coconut meat simmer with the duck. I was so sure that in an hour and a half or so, the texture of the coconut meat would be just the way we liked it in our binakol.
Was I right in my theory? Oh, yes. The duck binakol was superb!
- Heat a thick-bottomed pot and lay the duck, skin side down. It will immediately sizzle as the fat in the skin starts to melt immediately. Leave it like that until the skin is nicely browned and a couple of tablespoons of duck fat has been rendered. Flip the duck over.
- Add the ginger and shallots to the duck. Stir them in the fat.
- Drizzle in about a tablespoon of fish sauce and sprinkle in black pepper generously.
- Lower the heat and cover the pot to allow the ginger and shallots to brown lightly.
- Meanwhile, cut the coconut meat into thin strips.
- When the ginger and shallots are lightly browned, add the coconut strips and water. Stir.
- Simmer the duck, coconut meat and spices in the coconut water for an hour. DO NOT dilute with tap water. Taste the broth after 30 minutes and add more fish sauce, as needed.
- Scoop out the duck and cool on a rack. Let the coconut meat and spices continue to simmer in the broth.
- Pick the meat from the duck and tear into bite-size pieces. Discard the bone.
- Add the duck meat back into the pot. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Press the sili leaves into the broth. Cover the pot and leave to allow the sili leaves to wilt in the residual heat.
- Serve the duck binakol immediately.