I love love love eating duck tongues, and I have no problem consuming an entire box in one sitting, despite the fact that they are pricey and high in calories. I also happen to be in love with this sauce. Duck tongues can be deep fried, braised, or stir fried. My favourite way to cook duck tongues is to stir fry them.
For those of you who have never tried a duck tongue, most of the tongue is edible. A thin piece of soft bone (I love eating the soft bone) runs up the middle of the tongue and connects to an inedible bone in the middle of the back end of the tongue. The flesh surrounding the bone is neither meaty nor tough like cow’s tongue. Rather, it is soft and slightly chewy, and rich and fatty without being greasy or oily. It’s the texture that makes these so popular. They are relatively neutral in taste, so flavourful sauces are often used.
The duck tongue that’s served in China (photo below) includes parts (I wish I knew the actual anatomy) that are not served in North America (photo above). The first time I had duck tongues in a restaurant in China, I was put off by the additional long, thin and bony pieces that I wasn’t accustomed to seeing (see photo below). Luckily, I got over it pretty quickly, because I knew that it would taste just as delicious as what I’m used to.
Stir Fried Duck Tongues Recipe
1 lb (approx.) duck tongues, rinsed very thoroughly under cool running water and drained (Note: Some people feel that duck tongues are very dirty and feel more comfortable boiling them briefly first.)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 tbsp shaoxing wine
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
a few dashes of ground white pepper
lettuce leaves (0ptional for garnish)
In a medium sized bowl, mix the duck tongues with the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and ground white pepper. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then heat a wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot, but not burning dry, lightly coat the bottom of the wok with vegetable oil. Move quickly to swirl the wok so that the oil coats the bottom half of the wok. The oil should get very hot almost instantly, so quickly add the duck tongues and all of the excess marinade to your wok. Stir the duck tongues frequently until they start to darken in colour and the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to burn. Then add 1/3 cup of cold water and cover the wok with its lid. Allow the duck tongues to cook covered, stirring occasionally to ensure even colouring, until most of the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to burn. Use a slotted spoon (so that you can leave the oil behind) to transfer the duck tongues to a plate garnished with some lettuce leaves. Serve hot.