Chinese New Year, Culture, Dinner, Lunch

Chinese New Year Fare: Kiam Chye Ark- Duck with Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens Soup

Kiam Chye Ark


Kiam chye ark 5

Update: I have made a video on this. Please click on the link to watch now it is made.

Chinese New Year is coming, so I though it would be a timely to share a recipe which my family will be having during  New Year’s day.

This is a very traditional soup served in most households in Penang. This soup is usually made during celebrations like Chinese New Year and Tang Chek (Winter Solstice), deities’ commemorative days,  and on the anniversaries of the deceased (ancestors).

There are variations to the soup. Some families add nutmeg and some do not. Some families add 1 or 2 chillies to get more ‘kick’ out of it. The mustard greens and the duck are traditionally cut into large pieces. In this recipe, I have cut this into easy to serve sizes.

Traditionally, we cooked this over the fire, and later on, we cooked this using a pressure cooker which saves a lot of time, but was a bit noisy.

This soup can be made using a slow cooker or crock pot.

Here is the recipe.

It is a small portion compared to the ones I used to make in Malaysia.

Dominant Flavour:

Sour and Salty from the pickled mustard greens and preserved plums

Quick Info

Serves:            6-8 with accompaniments
Difficulty:       Moderate
Cost:                 ££
Time:               10 mins to prep
1 1/2 hour to soak and cook

Pro points:  
Per recipe:    51
Per serving:   6


1 pkt               About 300g Kiam Chye or Chinese pickled mustard greens
3-4                  Duck legs –remove the fine feathers and chop into 4 pieces each
1                       White onion – cut into 4-6 wedges
2-4                  Chinese preserved plums, or as required
1                       Large tomatoes – cut into wedges or 6-8 cherry tomatoes

Spice bag:

To tie in a muslin bag/cloth
1                     Knob Ginger approx 30g – sliced
5                     Cloves Garlic
1 tsp              White pepper corns –lightly crushed
1 piece         Nutmeg – cracked and use the kernel
1.5L to 2L  Hot water – about

All the necessary ingredients for the soup
All the necessary ingredients for the soup


  1. Cut the pickled mustard into bite size and taste the mustard. It is usually very salty. Soak for about ½ hour in cold water and test again. If it is still very salty, rinse and soak for another ½ hour.
  2. In the mean time, cut the duck into 4 pieces each to give you 12-16 pieces.
  3. Take a large pot and add in all the ingredients except the tomatoes and plums. Squash the 2 plums with your fingers and add to the pot. Add in about 1.3L of hot water and bring to the boil.
  4. Let it boil for 10 minutes and remove the scum.
  5. Simmer for about 1 hour so that the duck meat and vegetables are soft.
  6. Adjust the taste. If it is not salty or sour enough, put in 1 plum at a time until you get the taste that you want. You can add extra salt as needed.
  7. Add the tomatoes and add more water if necessary. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove the spice bag and the sliced ginger.
  9. Dish out and serve.

If you are using a crock pot, tip all the content into the pot after step 4. Leave on high for at least 3 hours.


Kiam chye ark 4
Kiam Chye Ark



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1 Comment

  1. […] leftover duck, i.e., the bones and some meat was used to make a soup – Kiam Chye Ark. This soup is a favourite of our home and is made whenever there is a […]

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