I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like teriyaki although I’m sure now I’ve said that someone will put their hand up. I love it in pretty much all its forms, authentically Japanese and Westernised, although I have yet to eat a teriyaki burger.
This duck version feels particularly luxurious, with the cucumber adding a welcome crunch. If you’ve never tried cooked cucumber do give it a go, it’s surprisingly good if you’ve only ever eaten it raw in a salad.
You need to start a couple of hours ahead to marinate the duck and salt the cukes, but apart from that this dish is very quick to make. We ate it with simply steamed rice.
If you can plan a day or so ahead, try making your own pickled ginger. It’s dead easy, it doesn’t contain food colouring like some commercial preparations, and it keeps for ages in the fridge. I’ve given a link to a recipe in the ingredients column.
Teriyaki Duck with Stir-fried Cucumber
2 duck breasts
1 medium cucumber
1 tspn salt
1 tspn sesame oil
1 tspn rapeseed or sunflower oil
Pickled ginger (optional), and/or finely sliced spring onions, to garnish
For the teriyaki marinade:
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small thumb of root ginger, peeled and grated
1 tspn caster sugar or honey
Pinch of chilli flakes
A few grinds of black pepper
For the cucumber dressing:
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
Using a sharp knife, cross-hatch the duck skin, cutting through the skin and fat but without cutting into the meat. Place side by side, skin-side up, in a small non-reactive dish.
Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour over the duck. Cover and set aside for at least an hour, preferably longer.
Peel the cucumber so it is striped, leaving some of the skin on. Halve lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice diagonally into 8mm chunks. Place in a sieve over the sink and scatter with a teaspoon of salt, mixing it through. Leave to drain for at least an hour, preferably two, then rinse and dry thoroughly.
Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, pour the liquids into a small pan and boil on a high heat, continuing to boil for two minutes until it has thickened somewhat.
Place the duck skin-side down in a hot frying pan and cook for 10 minutes, lowering the heat to medium to stop the sugars burning.
Brush it with a little of the reduced marinade, then turn it over and cook for another five minutes. Glaze the top with another brush of the teriyaki sauce and rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes.
Heat the sesame and rapeseed/sunflower oils in a wok until smoking. Add the cucumber and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then pour in the mirin and rice vinegar and cook for another 30 seconds. (Don’t use the teriyaki marinade as it’ll be too salty.) Spoon into a warmed bowl.
Slice the rested duck diagonally and serve with the stir-fried cucumber and a drizzle of the teriyaki sauce. Top with a few shavings of pickled ginger and/or some finely sliced spring onion.