What the English equivalent of the word malansa (or malangsa) is, I have no idea. But it is the Filipino adjective used to describe anything that has a strong smell.
But it is more than that, really. Any food that is malansa is likely to be a cause of allergy for those prone to it. Hence, fish is malansa, some more than others, but shrimps, crabs, lobsters and prawns are even more so. Chicken is also considered malansa and duck is more malansa than chicken. No cook can provide immunity to allergy but there are ways to get rid of the strong smell. The most common way is to use citrus — lemon, lime, kalamansi… But if you want to take it a step further, you can always add a few things to the lemon. Like?
Like onions. And rosemary. And whatever herbs you fancy and feel will not detract from the natural flavors of duck meat. That was what I did to prepare a 2.5 kg. duckling for our New Year’s Eve dinner. In the past, I either stuffed the bird’s cavity with a couple of pierced lemons or a mixture of rice, ham and mushrooms which I used in much in the same way that a turkey is stuffed.
I would have used fresh rosemary but I had none. From a family reunion on December 31st, an eat-’till-you-drop luncheon at an aunt’s house, we went straight to SM Megamall where I had seen pots and pots of fresh rosemary in a plant stall and they only cost P50.00 per pot. I saw them the day my daughter and I did our Christmas shopping. But because we were already carrying too many shopping bags and we were just dying to cross the street to The Podium where it was less crowded, I had to postpone buying the pots of rosemary. On New Year’s Eve, they were gone. So, I had to settle for my jar of dried rosemary.
I cut two of lemons into wedges, cut a large white onion into eights, I placed them in a bowl, added about 2 tablespoonfuls of dried rosemary, salt and pepper, and I tossed them together. I stuffed the duck’s cavity with the mixture, rubbed the skins with salt and pepper and the result was the sweetest-smelling duck I have ever cooked in my entire life.
I’m no gourmet cook but I think that the combination of a citrusy flavor and aroma with a decidedly sweet-smelling herb like rosemary, plus the subtle sweetness of the white onion did the trick.