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Braised duck in red wine paste

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Braised duck in red wine paste

Braised duck in red wine paste

Chinese recipes.

Braised duck in red wine paste is a flavorful and aromatic dish that combines the succulent richness of this animal meat with the complex flavors of a red wine-based sauce. While it may not be exclusive to a specific region in East China, it incorporates elements commonly found in Chinese cuisine. Here’s a recipe for this delicious dish :


  • 1 whole duck (about 4-5 pounds), cleaned and cut into serving pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 cup red wine (choose a dry red wine)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped green onions and cilantro for garnish


  1. Marinate the meat:
    • Place the animal pieces in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Sear :
    • Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
    • Add the animal pieces and sear them until they turn golden brown on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes.
    • Remove the seared  and set it aside.
  3. Sauté the Aromatics:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and ginger. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Deglaze with Red Wine:
    • Pour in the red wine and bring it to a simmer. Allow it to reduce by about half, which should take approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Prepare the Sauce:
    • Add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise pods, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the meat and Broth:
    • Return the seared animal to the pot.
    • Pour in the chicken broth until the duck pieces are submerged.
  7. Braise :
    • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. You can occasionally skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
  8. Check and Adjust:
    • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Serve:
    • Once the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened to your liking, remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and bay leaves.
    • Serve  over steamed rice or with your choice of side dishes.
    • Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro.

This dish offers a delightful fusion of duck’s richness and the depth of flavors from the red wine-based sauce. It’s a comforting and savory dish that’s sure to be a hit at the dinner table. Enjoy the culinary delights  China with this recipe.

Holan East China

The Tradition of Duck in Chinese Gastronomy

Chinese cuisine is a tapestry of diverse flavors and culinary traditions that vary across its vast landscape. East China, home to a rich tapestry of culinary delights, has a special relationship with this animal. This article explores the tradition of this animal in Chinese gastronomy, with a focus on this side of China, and how this beloved poultry has shaped the region’s culinary identity.

I. The Historical Legacy  in Chinese Cuisine:

The tradition  in Chinese gastronomy is as old as Chinese civilization itself. Ducks were domesticated over 4,000 years ago during the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE), making them one of the oldest domesticated animals in China. Their place in Chinese culture and cuisine has evolved over millennia.

II. Varieties of this animal:

Chinese cuisine showcases various duck varieties, each with its unique flavors and textures. Some of the most famous  breeds include the Peking duck (Beijing duck), the Yancheng, and the Wenzhou, all of which originate from the East. These breeds are renowned for their tender meat, excellent flavor, and are integral to regional dishes.

III. Peking Duck: A Culinary Icon:

While this dish is traditionally associated with Beijing, its origin story can be traced back to East China’s Shandong Province. This iconic dish features a crispy, lacquered skin and tender meat, served with thin pancakes, hoisin sauce, and finely sliced scallions. The unique cooking process, which involves air-drying the duck and roasting it in a special oven, gives Peking duck its distinctive flavor and texture.

IV. Yancheng Duck: The Pride of Jiangsu:

The Yancheng duck, native to Jiangsu Province in the East, is celebrated for its delicate and succulent meat. It is a staple ingredient in various regional dishes, including  soup, smoked , and braised duck. The Yancheng duck’s versatility and flavor make it a cherished component of Jiangsu cuisine.

V. Wenzhou Duck: A Culinary Treasure:

Wenzhou, a coastal city in Zhejiang Province, is famous for its unique duck dishes. Wenzhou cuisine incorporates a variety of this animal preparations, such as  braised in brown sauce,  roasted in wood-fired ovens, and  served in fragrant soups. The Wenzhou duck is known for its full flavor and tender texture.

VI. Cooking Techniques:

The Chinese have developed a myriad of cooking techniques for this meat, from roasting to braising, steaming, smoking, and stir-frying. Each technique imparts distinct flavors and textures to the duck, allowing for diverse culinary experiences.

VII. The Marriage of Duck and Flavorful Ingredients:

This animal is often paired with an array of complementary ingredients in Chinese cuisine. The combination of this animal with aromatic spices, ginger, garlic, scallions, and soy-based sauces results in complex and harmonious flavors. The balance of sweet, salty, sour, and umami elements creates memorable culinary experiences.

VIII. Regional Influences:

In the East, regional cooking styles heavily influence how duck is prepared and enjoyed. For instance, Jiangsu’s cuisine emphasizes light, delicate flavors, resulting in dishes like duck soup with bamboo shoots. In Zhejiang, the emphasis is on freshness and local ingredients, while in Shanghai, duck may be used in classic Shanghai dishes like “Braised Duck with Tofu.”

IX. Cultural Significance:

This holds cultural importance in Chinese traditions. It is associated with luck and happiness, and duck dishes are often served during celebratory occasions, such as weddings and the Lunar New Year. The use of this animal in Chinese medicine is also well-documented, as it is believed to have various health benefits.

X. Conclusion: A Culinary Heritage

Duck is more than a source of nourishment in this part of China; it’s a reflection of culinary artistry, history, and cultural pride. Its presence in Chinese gastronomy weaves a story of tradition, innovation, and a deep-rooted connection to the land.

From the famed Peking duck to regional specialties like Yancheng duck and Wenzhou duck, East China’s love affair with duck continues to be a source of culinary delight and an embodiment of the region’s rich gastronomic heritage. This animal is, without a doubt, one of the gastronomic treasures that make East China’s cuisine a celebration of flavor and tradition.

Holan East China

Anise Pods in China Gastronomy: A Tradition of Aromatic Excellence

The gastronomy of the East,  is a treasure trove of flavors, and anise pods, a popular spice in the region, play a significant role in enhancing the aroma and taste of its dishes. This article explores the tradition of anise pods in the East´s culinary heritage, delving into their origins, uses, and cultural significance in a region renowned for its rich and diverse flavors.

I. Anise Pods: An Introduction

Anise pods, scientifically known as Pimpinella anisum, are the fruit of the anise plant. They are small, brown, star-shaped, and possess a distinct licorice-like flavor and aroma. Anise has been cultivated and used as a spice for thousands of years, with its culinary roots traced back to ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean region.

II. Anise Pods in the China Gastronomy: A Fragrant Tradition

Anise pods hold a special place in the culinary traditions of  China, particularly in provinces like Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Their use imparts a sweet, warm, and aromatic quality to a variety of dishes, contributing to a complex flavor profile and a delightful olfactory experience.

III. The Culinary Uses of Anise Pods in  China:

  1. Red-Braised Dishes: Anise pods are a key ingredient in the region’s famous “red-braised” or “hongshao” dishes. Red-braising involves simmering ingredients in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and various spices, including anise pods. This method imparts a rich, caramelized flavor to dishes like red-braised pork and red-braised beef.
  2. Noodle Soups: Anise pods are used to season and fragrance noodle soups, elevating the overall taste experience. It is common to find anise-flavored broths in noodle dishes throughout  China.
  3. Stir-Fries: Anise pods are sometimes added to stir-fry dishes, infusing the dish with their distinctive aroma. They pair well with ingredients like garlic, ginger, and scallions in stir-fry preparations.
  4. Braised Duck: Anise pods are a popular addition to braised  dishes, enhancing the richness and complexity of flavors. The combination of this animal meat and anise is a celebrated culinary pairing in the region.
  5. Dim Sum: Anise pods are occasionally used in the seasoning of dim sum dishes, imparting a subtle licorice note to dumpling fillings or dipping sauces.

IV. The Science of Flavor:

Anise pods contain compounds such as anethole, which is responsible for their distinct flavor. Anethole is known for its sweet and aromatic qualities, making anise a valuable spice in East China’s culinary palette.

V. Cultural Significance:

Anise pods are not only prized for their culinary contributions but also hold cultural significance in  China. They are associated with warmth, comfort, and the pleasures of sharing a meal with loved ones. In many households and restaurants, the aroma of anise-infused dishes evokes a sense of tradition and nostalgia.

VI. Health and Folklore:

Anise has a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine and is believed to have various health benefits, including aiding digestion and soothing coughs. It is also traditionally associated with promoting good luck and prosperity.

VII. Conclusion: Aromatic Elegance in East China

Anise pods are a testament to the aromatic elegance of East China’s gastronomy. Their use in the region’s cuisine not only enhances flavor but also reflects a profound connection to tradition and a commitment to creating dishes that delight the senses.

Whether it’s the comforting aroma of red-braised dishes, the fragrance of noodle soups, or the depth of flavor in duck preparations, anise pods are an essential element in the region’s culinary heritage. Their star-shaped presence in East China’s kitchens adds a touch of magic to every dish, infusing it with a delightful licorice-like aroma and making the region’s cuisine a true culinary delight.

Holan East China

Cinnamon in Chinese Cuisine: Benefits and Culinary Uses

Cinnamon, known as “rou gui” (肉桂) in Mandarin, is a fragrant spice with a warm and slightly sweet flavor. While it is more commonly associated with cuisines from other parts of the world, cinnamon has its own unique place in Chinese gastronomy. In this article, we will explore the benefits and culinary uses of cinnamon in Chinese cuisine.

I. Cinnamon in Chinese Cuisine: A Flavorful Tradition

Cinnamon has been used in Chinese cuisine for centuries, primarily in the form of cassia cinnamon, which is more commonly found in China. Its warm and sweet flavor, along with its aromatic qualities, makes it a valuable spice for enhancing the taste and aroma of various dishes.

II. Culinary Uses of Cinnamon in Chinese Cuisine:

  1. Braising and Stewing: Cinnamon sticks are often added to braised and stewed dishes, such as red-cooked pork (hong shao rou) and beef stew. The spice infuses the dishes with a subtle, sweet warmth and complements the savory flavors.
  2. Marinades: Ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks are used in marinades for meats and poultry. It not only adds flavor but also helps tenderize the meat.
  3. Desserts: Cinnamon is used in Chinese desserts like rice pudding (nian gao) and sweet soups. It provides a pleasant contrast to the sweetness, creating a balanced and harmonious taste.
  4. Five-Spice Powder: Cinnamon is one of the five spices that make up the Chinese five-spice powder, a fundamental seasoning in Chinese cuisine. This blend includes star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds, along with cinnamon. Five-spice powder is used in various dishes, from savory meats to sweet treats.
  5. Tea: Cinnamon is sometimes added to Chinese herbal teas, particularly for its warming and invigorating properties. It is believed to aid digestion and improve circulation.
  6. Medicinal Uses: In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is considered to have various health benefits. It is believed to help warm the body, improve blood circulation, and alleviate cold symptoms.

III. Health Benefits of Cinnamon:

  1. Improved Digestion: Cinnamon is known to aid digestion and relieve digestive discomfort. It is often used in dishes to counteract the heaviness of certain ingredients.
  2. Antioxidant Properties: Cinnamon contains antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative damage. These antioxidants may contribute to overall health and well-being.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Cinnamon is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and promote better health.
  4. Blood Sugar Regulation: Some studies suggest that cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels. This property is of interest in managing diabetes.
  5. Heart Health: Cinnamon has been associated with heart health benefits, including the potential to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

IV. Conclusion: Cinnamon’s Subtle Magic

Cinnamon’s subtle yet delightful presence in Chinese cuisine enhances the flavors of dishes, creating a balance of sweet and savory, and infusing a warm, aromatic note. Its culinary uses extend beyond flavor, as it contributes to the overall well-being and balance that are integral to Chinese gastronomy.

In East Asia, where balance and harmony are fundamental principles of life, cinnamon’s ability to complement both sweet and savory dishes embodies these principles. Whether used in hearty stews or fragrant teas, cinnamon’s benefits and culinary versatility continue to make it a cherished spice in the rich and diverse tapestry of Chinese cuisine.

Holan East China

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