Peking duck

Peking duck

By
From
South East Asian Food

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 fat fresh duck, cleaned but with its neck still attached if possible, (never use a soggy frozen duck for this princely dish)
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
2-3 tablespoons oyster sauce
500g fresh beansprouts

Syrup mixture

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons honey or treacle or golden syrup
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon light dry sherry

Duck pancake wrappers

Quantity Ingredient
400g plain flour, sifted
250ml boiling water
300ml vegetable oil

Homemade plum sauce

Quantity Ingredient
plum jam
white vinegar

For the packets

Quantity Ingredient
cleaned and trimmed spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
strips small or lebanese cucumber, unpeeled, cut into 5 cm lengths

Soup

Quantity Ingredient
salt
1 spring onion, chopped
spring onion tops, chopped
a few leaves chinese celery cabbage, cut into thin strips
or thin slices winter melon or choko, or similar

Method

  1. Place all the syrup ingredients together in a pan and boil until well blended.
  2. Wash the duck and dry it with paper towels. Combine the five-spice powder and salt, and rub the inside of the duck well with this mixture. Now comes an essential part of the whole cooking process if you are going to achieve the correct, sought-after crispness of the skin, which is enjoyed as a separate course. Tie a string around the neck of the bird if you can and hold it over a basin. Otherwise place it in a large strainer or colander. Pour boiling water over the duck at least six times, allowing the bird to dry thoroughly between each immersion. Brush it well all over with the syrup mixture and hang it on its string in a warm dry place, preferably in the sun, for a few hours until it is quite dry, or use an electric hair dryer as suggested in the recipe for Roast crispy chicken.
  3. Heat an oven to moderately hot, 190–200°C. Place duck on a rack over a baking dish with its breast down for about 20 minutes, then turn breast up and roast upright until the breast is crisp and brown and the meat lightly cooked – about another 20–30 minutes should be enough. The meat should remain quite pink since all but the skin and the very top layer will be cooked a second time. Alternatively, cook the duck over charcoal in a kettle barbecue.
  4. To make the duck pancake wrappers, sift the flour again into a bowl, make a well in the centre, pour in the boiling water and mix into the flour with a wooden spoon until the dough is just soft enough to handle without being sticky. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, cover the ball with a damp cloth and leave to rest for half an hour. Knead again, then form it into a long roll about 4 cm in diameter and cut into 18 cylindrical pieces. On a floured surface roll each piece out to a circle about 8 cm in diameter. Brush one side lightly with vegetable oil and lay another circle on top. Roll out what are now double wrappers until very thin.
  5. Cook on a dry hot griddle or heavy frying pan over a low heat for half a minute until flecked with brown. Turn over and cook the other side. Remove from the pan and pull apart into two wrappers. Fold each one loosely into a triangular shape. Arrange the folded triangles on a serving plate and cover with a dry cloth until needed.
  6. To prepare the plum sauce, heat the jam and white vinegar in the proportion of l tablespoon jam to 2 teaspoons vinegar in a saucepan, adding water to taste and to achieve a suitable consistency. Provide a small side dish of sauce for each diner.
  7. Peking duck is classically served as three separate courses. Carve off the entire crisp skin in pieces with only a very little meat attached. Serve the skin on a plate with side dishes of the plum sauce, duck pancake wrappers, the spring onions and strips of cucumber. Each diner takes a pancake wrapper on to their plate and places on it a couple of slices of duck skin, a piece of onion and one of cucumber, tops them with a sharp sweet sauce such as the home-made plum sauce (or a commercial one), folds everything loosely into an oblong packet, and eats.
  8. Second, cut the duck meat off the carcase in strips, season with the oyster sauce, and stir-fry quickly in a little oil with the beansprouts. Serve this with two or three other dishes and plain boiled rice.
  9. Finally, to make the soup, chop up the carcase, cover it with water, add a little salt, and bring to the boil. Add one spring onion, some chopped green onion tops and green leafy vegetable such as very young English spinach (known locally as ‘flying dragon’), or Chinese cabbage, and serve the resulting soup last in a large bowl.
Tags:
SBS
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