"Eat, drink, man, woman. Basic human desires."
This month's Food 'n Flix pick is a true "foodie movie". A delight for the senses, Eat Drink Man Woman is set in Taiwan and centers around widowed Master Chef Chu and his three unmarried adult daughters who still live at home. Each Sunday they come together to connect over a lovingly crafted elaborate family meal. The daughters are being pulled in their own directions by love and careers while they notice that their father's once flawless food is starting to lack flavor because he has lost his sense of taste.
Sound familiar? Well, if you haven't seen this 1994 release before, maybe you've seen the 2001 flick Tortilla Soup. Tortilla Soup is the American remake that features a Mexican-American family living in Southern California. I think both movies are equally delicious in their own right.
In the opening scene, we are treated to a sensual meal preparation that includes everything from artfully prepared fish to frogs, chicken and duck, from beautifully glistening pork belly to vibrant greens and daikon radish. If your mouth isn't watering in the first 5 minutes, then there may be something wrong with you.
With all of that in the first 5 minutes, and scenes packed with equally delicious food to the very end, you'd think it would be easy coming up with a dish inspired by the movie. But I found it incredibly hard. I mean, here I am slipping in under the wire and submitting my dish on the last day. I think all of that food made it too hard to decide!
I loved the scenes where Chu took lunch box meals to Shan-Shan at school, and thought about replicating the spare ribs, crab with vegetables, shrimp with green peas, bean sprouts and sliced chicken or spare rib and bitter melon soup.
More dishes that were seen or named in the movie: crab dumplings, tofu dumplings, bracelets of bread, curried beef and rice, fried rice with eggs, homemade rice papers, and Chinese hot pot. I swear, decisions!
But in the end, I took inspiration from a scene that featured middle daughter, Jia-Chien. Jia-Chen loves to cook and holds a bit of resentment that she was not allowed to follow in her father's footsteps as a chef, but instead sent to college to study business. She's good at what she does, but the only time she really radiates happiness is when she's in the kitchen.
We see how much talent she has as she cooks away her frustrations in her friend's kitchen. He sits at the table as she brings in tempting dishes such as Tsu-An Tofu, Carp with Garlic Sauce, Duck Oil Sautéed Pea Sprouts, and Duck Sauteed with Garlic. Originally I wanted to try to recreate the pea sprouts, but I couldn't find any, so instead I made a stir-fry that included duck fat and duck breast. I used some seasonal veggies I had on hand, and served it over some fresh Chinese-style noodles.
"Duck sautéed with garlic. A perfect balance. It's an ancient philosophy: food balanced with energy, flavor, and nature."
Garlicky Stir-Fried Duck
This simple stir-fry recipe features duck breast, duck fat, and seasonal vegetables all served over a bed of noodles.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: stir-fry entree dairy-free duck noodles zucchini carrots garlic Chinese
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Goodness hot sauce (or a similar garlicky hot sauce)
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons duck fat, divided (or vegetable oil)
- 2 (7.5 ounce) boneless duck breast (I like Maple Leaf Farms), skin removed and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3-4 cups fresh vegetables, chopped or sliced if large
- cooked noodles or rice, to serve
Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl; reserve.
Set a large wok or skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the duck fat and let sit for 10 seconds, then add the duck. Stir-fry until it turns golden in spots, ~3 minutes. Scoop the duck onto a rimmed plate and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the remaining tablespoon of duck fat, then add the garlic, ginger, and all the veggies to the pan and stir-fry until they are just tender, ~3 minutes longer. Stir in the reserved liquid mixture and let it bubble up until thick, ~30 seconds.
Add the duck and any juices on the plate back to the wok, toss, and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve immediately over hot rice or noodles.
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