Crispy and Aromatic Duck

Because this dish is often served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and duck sauce, many people mistakenly think this is Peking Duck. This recipe, however, uses quite a different cooking method. The result is just as crispy but the delightful aroma makes this dish particularly distinctive. Plum sauce may be substituted for the duck sauce.


serves 6 - 8
1.75 - 2.25 kg (4 - 5 1/4 lb) oven-ready duckling
10 ml (2 tsp) salt
5 - 6 whole star anise
15 ml (1 tbsp) Szechuan peppercorns
5 ml (1 tsp) cloves
2 - 3 cinnamon sticks
3 - 4 spring onions
3 - 4 slices fresh root ginger, unpeeled
75 - 90 ml (5 - 6 tbsp) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

to serve

lettuce leaves
20 - 24 thin pancakes
120 ml (4 fl oz) 1/3 cup duck sauce
6 - 8 spring onions, thinly shredded
cucumber, thinly shredded


1. Remove the wings from the duck. Split the body in half down the backbone.

2. Rub salt all over the two duck halves, taking care to rub it well in.

3. Place the duck in a dish with the star anise, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, spring onions, ginger and rice wine or dry sherry and set aside to marinate for at least 4 - 6 hours.

4. Place the duck with the marinade in a steamer positioned in a wok partly filled with boiling water and steam vigorously for 3 - 4 hours (longer if possible). Remove the duck from the cooking liquid and leave to cool for at least 5 - 6 hours.The duck must be completely cold and dry or the skin will not become crispy.'

5. Heat the oil in a preheated wok until smoking, place the duck pieces in the oil, skin side down, and deep-fry for 5 - 6 minutes or until crisp and brown, turning just once at the very last moment.

6. Remove, drain, take the meat off the bone and place on a bed of lettuce leaves.

7. To serve, wrap a portion of duck in each pancake with a little sauce, shredded spring onion and cucumber. Eat with your fingers.

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