Asian Sesame Sea Duck

For those of you who don’t know, sea ducks are renowned for being difficult to prepare and tasting much like what they eat: mollusks (clams and mussels), crustaceans, and occasionally small fish. There are generally three categories of duck: Puddle, Diver, and Sea. Puddle ducks include: Teal, Pintail, Wood, Mallard, etc. Diver ducks include: Bufflehead, Merganser, Goldeneye, Spoonbill, etc. Sea ducks include: Oldsquaw, Common Eider, King Eider, Scoter, etc. If preparing duck, a good rule of thumb is that you’ll need to soak both diver and sea ducks. Puddle ducks can typically just be seasoned and then cooked as if you bought the meat from the grocery store.

When Connor brought home Long-Tailed Duck, also known as Oldsquaw, I was up for the task of creating a recipe that removed that well-known fishy flavor. I settled on preparing an Asian dish because of their strong and salty flavors that I knew would compliment the duck (once the fishy taste was removed of course!) We invited a friend over that has had a fair amount of Oldsquaw in his day and he couldn’t say enough good things about dinner! Don’t fret about shooting sea ducks anymore and wasting the meat because this dish will please any guest; even one’s that don’t typically like wild game meat!

Serves:  3 +/- –  Preptime:  14 hours +/- – Cooktime: 1 hour +/-


  • 1 Pound Sea Duck (I used Oldsquaw)
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Orange, Juiced
  • 1/2 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup Water, Until Duck is Submerged



  • Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Zest of 1 Orange


  • 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Ginger, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Hoison Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Rice or Thai Noodles
  • Green Onions & Sesame Seeds, For Garnish


1.) Sea duck needs to be specifically prepared to remove the fishy taste from the duck. To do so, the duck goes through a rigorous soaking regiment. NOTE: This same recipe can be used if you have puddle ducks. You can skip steps 1 through 4 and skip directly to step 5.

2.) The night before: in a shallow pan (I used a 9″ cake pan), place duck breasts evenly across the bottom of the pan, try not to stack. Submerge duck with 2 cups of milk and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight.

3.) The next morning, drain the milk (should be reddish-brown), and rinse the duck and the pan. Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt with 1 cup of water and cover duck with liquid. Cover with plastic wrap, place back in fridge, and let marinate for 2 hours. After 2 hours has passed, drain liquid and repeat process one more time for 2 more hours. This is a technique that is normally used on pungent fish. It extracts the fish oils from the meat. The longer it sits, the more oil that’s pulled out of the duck. I found that 4 hours did the trick. Rinse the duck well before completing the final fruit juice soak.

4.) Juice one orange and half a lemon. Mix juice together and pour over duck (in the same 9″ pan). Add enough water to submerge the duck. Cover with plastic wrap and soak for a minimum of 2 hours.

5.) Once ready to start cooking, pour off the liquid and rinse the duck. Pat dry with paper towels. Pour 1/2-inch canola oil into a large frying pan and heat to 350°F. Prepare the duck for frying by cracking an egg into a small bowl and adding 1 tablespoon of water and 1 teaspoon of orange extract. Whisk until combined. In another bowl, combine flour and the zest of 1 orange. Cut the duck into small bite-sized pieces (about the size of a quarter), and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the duck by first placing in flour, then egg, then flour. Repeat until duck is fully floured.

6.) Once oil is preheated, add duck to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned and cooked to 165°F. Remove from oil and let cool.

7.) Meanwhile, prepare the Asian Sesame Sauce. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoison sauce, orange juice, chicken broth, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, and seasonings. Mix well.

8.) Place a large frypan on medium heat and let come to temp. Add olive oil, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Let sauté for 90 seconds, stirring constantly to avoid from burning. Add ginger and garlic to pan. Let cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. Add sauce to pan and let come to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If consistency of sauce is slightly thick (viscosity of molasses) there’s no need to add cornstarch slurry. If sauce isn’t thick enough (and won’t stick to the chicken), make a cornstarch slurry using equal parts cornstarch and water. Gradually add to sauce, stirring and waiting a few moments to check consistency. YOU DON’T NEED TO USE ALL THE SLURRY-JUST ENOUGH TO MAKE IT THE RIGHT THICKNESS.

9.) Once the desired consistency has been reached, add duck into sauce and cover completely with sauce. Let simmer for an additional couple minutes to warm duck up. Serve over thai noodles or rice, whatever you prefer! Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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