“I love creating dishes from my childhood memories, using techniques I learned through my experiences and travels,” says Bread x Butter Cafe owner and chef Felix Zhou. “To me, approachable comfort food has many benefits—especially psychologically, giving us pleasure, stress relief, and warm feelings, often accompanied by deep memories that can include caring and love.” Zhou shared this recipe for duck confit croquettes with udon noodles that recalls his own favourite comforting flavours.
Homemade Udon Noodles with Duck Confit Croquettes
For the croquettes
2 duck legs
zest of half an orange
zest of half a lemon
2 cups duck fat (or substitute canola oil)
4 teaspoons stock
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 finely chopped shallot
10 grams sliced green onion
10 grams finely chopped parsley
1 cup flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil for frying
For the spicy peanut sauce
30 grams white vinegar
100 grams soy sauce
15 grams sugar
5 grams pepper
10 grams chili flakes
20 grams sesame oil
300 grams peanut butter
150 grams water
For the udon noodles
80 grams water
5 grams salt
200 grams all-purpose flour
Potato flour or cornstarch
For the egg
One egg per serving
Sliced green onions.
For the croquettes
Combine orange zest, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Rub cure mixture on duck legs. Let marinate for a minimum of 6 hours or refrigerate overnight.
Next day, rinse duck legs under running water to remove cure mixture, then dry with paper towel. Put duck legs in a container filled with duck fat. Cook at 85°C (185°F) for 8 hours.
Remove meat from duck legs and mix with stock, sherry vinegar, shallot, green onion, and parsley. Portion duck into 1-ounce pieces and roll into balls. Leave in fridge to cool and firm up (at least one hour).
Roll duck balls in flour, then egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry at 180°C (350°F) for 2–3 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
For the peanut sauce
Combine all ingredients together and blend until smooth.
For the udon
Mix salt in water until dissolved. Place flour in a large bowl and gradually add the salted water. Combine dough until there is no dry flour left and it forms into a ball.
Place dough in the large ziplock bag. Close bag, leaving a small air gap, and leave for 45 minutes to allow gluten to relax.
Place the bag between 2 kitchen cloths on the floor and step on the dough with your feet using your weight until the dough is completely flattened. Remove dough and fold it into a ball, return to bag, then step on it again until dough is stretched and flattened. Repeat this process 3 times, then rest dough for at least 4 hours, or for best results, overnight.
Using a rolling pin, stretch dough into a rectangular shape. Dust dough with potato starch or cornstarch in between to make sure dough is not sticky. Roll the udon to 1/8-inch in thickness and slice with a sharp knife. Fluff the noodles to make sure they are covered with the potato or cornstarch to prevent sticking together.
For the egg
Use sous vide to cook eggs at 63°C (145°F) for 1 hour, then place eggs in ice water.
Cook udon noodles for 8–10 minutes. Stir noodles so they don’t stick to each other. Drain and rinse well with cold water to remove the starch.
Heat peanut sauce slowly in a pot. Combine udon noodles with peanut sauce and mix well. Transfer noodles to a plate. Crack a sous vide egg over the noodles. Place golden crispy croquettes around the egg, and sprinkle with sliced green onions.