Duck breast & shiitake mushrooms

by Luke Mackay

Sweet rich duck breast, tangy tamarind sauce and shiitakes two ways

For more on shiitake mushrooms, read my latest article


250g shiitake mushrooms
100ml soy sauce
100ml sherry vinegar
200g caster sugar
3 star anise
2 duck breasts, skin scored
2 tsp Chinese five spice
6 tbsp tamarind puree
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp sugar
Oil, for deep frying

For the tempura batter:
100g plain flour
150g corn flour
1tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
200ml cold fizzy water 


Cut half of your shiitakes into quarters. Add the soy sauce, sherry vinegar, sugar and star anise to a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the mushrooms. Set aside and allow to cool while you make the rest of the dish.

Season the duck breasts with salt and five spice and place skin side down in a heavy pan on a medium heat. You will not need any oil in the pan. Cook skin-side down for 15 mins until the skin is golden and crisp. Turn over and cook for a further 5-10 mins, depending on the size and thickness of the breasts. You are looking for medium-rare. Remove from the pan and leave for at least 10 mins, to rest in a warm part of the kitchen.

Discard the excess oil (keep it for another day) and add the tamarind, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil and then set aside.

For the batter, mix the dry ingredients together and add water until it’s the consistency of single cream (it should coat the back of a spoon). Heat the oil to 180C, dip the rest of the mushrooms in the batter and fry for 2-3 mins until golden.

Assemble the dish. Cut each breast in half length ways and place on a pool of the sauce. Garnish with both types of mushrooms and serve with some steamed pak choi.

Recipe: Luke Mackay