Salted Vegetables and Duck Soup

First posted in Jan 2010, updated in Sep 2016.

Salted vegetables duck soup (咸菜鸭汤)  is one of my favourite Chinese home-cooked soup. Its salty savoury taste makes the soup addictively appetizing (开胃).

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Salted vegetables may not be the most healthy vegetable in the world, but this soup makes a tasty home treat once in a while!

Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe Szechuan Vegetable Duck Soup Crock Pot Slow Cooker

Just like Sichuan veg duck soup, I followed my mum’s tradition of using a slow cooker (crockpot) to cook this soup. Duck meat takes a longer time to cook than other meats like chicken, so the slow cooker is really useful for this recipe. With the slow cooker, one doesn’t have to spend hours watching the stove and topping up the water constantly.

Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe

To me, a delicious salted vegetables duck soup must not just be salty, it has to be mildly hot and peppery as well. In my version, the heat comes from the white peppercorn, red chilli and ginger (pictured above).

Chinese Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe

You know this soup is done when the duck meat is so tender that it just falls off the bones when it is gently touched with chopsticks.  After simmering in the crock pot for hours, the soup is rich and delicious.

Chinese Salted Veg Duck Soup Recipe

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)