Itek Tim (Nyonya Hot and Sour duck broth)

Other than Itek Sio, this is another famous Nyonya duck recipe which is a broth with duck pieces, pickled mustard green, souring ingredients including tomatoes and fresh chilli added at the end of cooking to give the heat. A very nice soup, hot and sour with pieces of slightly salty mustard, fantastic for this very cold and damp winter weather.

1 kg of duck, legs or half a duck, cut into large chunks or can leave leg whole, remove any thick layer of fat or remove all the skin if you like the broth to be very lean.

around 300g of pickled mustard* (without the liquid)

3 medium carrot - cut into 1 cm thick (carrot is not traditional but I like it, it gives a nice sweeter flavour to the soup)

2 pieces of assam skin (Malaysian dried and sliced sour fruit like similar to taste like tamarind) available in most chinese supermarket like this

4 pieces of chinese pickled sour plum in brine, see this

1 thumb size ginger, sliced

2 large tomatoes about 200g in total, cut into wedges

1 large red chilli, cut into very thick slices

about 3 litres of water


  1. Cut the pickled mustard into very large chunks, then soak with plenty of water for about 2 hours before cooking. This is to remove the salt or the soup could be too salty.
  2. Take a large stockpot, fill with fresh water and bring to a boil. Put in the ginger, assam skin, sour plums, carrots and the duck pieces, heat high and bring to boiling again and let it boil for few minutes vigorously, remove any scums on top. Then turn the heat down and gently simmer for about 45min - 1hr.
  3. Add in the drained pickled mustard and bring to a boil then heat low and simmer for another 45 minutes or so so till the duck is meltingly soft and the mustard is softened but not mushy. Can leave till ready to eat, ok to cook in advance.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and chilli just before eating. Taste the soup if it is not too salty, if a bit too salty add more water, then bring to a boil and add in the tomato wedges and chilli and simmer for about 5 minutes. I find 1 large red chilli is enough heat for this soup, don't be tempted to add too much.
  5. Ready to enjoy on its own or with rice.
* This is the kind of pickled mustard I use, don't use those in a tin. The one I got is in a big plastic tub I got from Wing Yip. Can use pickled mustard with or with leaves.