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Salted Vegetables and Duck Soup

Salted Vegetable Duck Soup Recipe

For best results, use a slow cooker (crock-pot) to make this soup. However, you can also simmer the soup over stove top for at least two hours (top up the water regularly whenever needed).


  • 300 grams (drained weight) salted vegetables
  • half duck (about 900 grams)
  • 2 sour plums
  • 2 finger-length red chilli cut to half lengthwise & seeds removed
  • 20 grams block peeled ginger slightly bruised
  • 8 cloves old garlic do not peel or bruise
  • 2 tsp whole white peppercorn coarsely crushed and placed in a disposable soup stock pouch.
  • 4 cardamon coarsely crushed; optional
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 1 tomato cut to 6 wedges; optional
  • fine sea salt only if needed; to taste

Serving Suggestion

  • sliced chilli padi
  • dark soy sauce

You also need


  1. Tear salted vegetable leaf by hand. Taste a small piece of vegetable to test the saltiness. If it is too salty, soak in a bowl of water for 5 to 10 minutes.  Tip: Do not oversoak or the salted veg will become tasteless. Recommended to soak for NOT more than 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the duck. Remove and discard the skin and fats. Cut to bite-sized chunks. Blanch duck pieces for 5 minutes in a small pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse the duck pieces.
  3. In a crock-pot slow cooker, add 1 litre boiling water, salted veg slices, blanched duck, sour plums, ginger, red chilli, old garlic, peppercorn and cardamon. Cook at “High” for at least two hours (starting from the time when the soup starts bubbling, then set to simmer at “Low” or “Auto” for a few hours or until the duck is so tender that the meat falls off the bones easily. Top up with a small amount of boiling water occasionally if required.
  4. Add tomato only at the last 10 minutes of cooking. Season with a tiny bit of salt, only if required. Serve with steamed rice and a condiment of sliced chilli padi in dark soy sauce.

Noob Cook Tip

Add some cubed tofu pieces to the crockpot at the last 10 minutes of cooking (together with the tomato) if you want 咸菜豆腐鸭汤 (thanks commenter @gertrude)

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81 comments on “Salted Vegetables and Duck Soup”

  1. I don’t know why almost every recipe out there – including this one – uses GINGER for Itek Tim. You need GALANGAL. It’s a different taste, and a distinct taste. Without galangal, the so-called “Itek Tim” dish is not an actual Nyonya Itek Tim.

    One really should also have either asam gelugor or tamarind in it. Some recipes call for one or the other, most do not. The sour plums are also needed and at least almost all recipes do include this.

    Sigh. Oh well.

    • I never said this was the Nyonya Itek Tim. Just sharing my mum’s recipe, she has been making it this way for decades.

    • Auntie chiaros, I think you should read more slowly and more carefully and maybe try out the recipe for once instead of going round the web trying to be a “paper chef”. As in “paper general”, get it? Haha! Thanks you.

  2. Hi NoobCook, a duck is too large. Can I use chicken instead? Will it taste funny? Thanks.

    • It’s half not the whole duck. Those familiar with this soup may not be used to the chicken + salted veg combi, but otherwise chicken can be used instead of duck.

  3. This sounds like a fabulous alternative to the way I make Itek Tim on the stove. Gonna try it! Thanks!

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