It’s great to discover a favourite restaurant dish can easily be made at home. Thus it was with crispy aromatic duck, a regular order at our local Chinese eatery.
Homemade Crispy Aromatic Duck
- Roasting tray and rack
- 1 wooden skewer
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Pestle and mortar (or small bowl)
- Kitchen paper and foil
- Carving knife
- Bamboo pancake steamer or microwave
- 1 2kg/4.5lb whole duck
- 2 star anise
- 1 white onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 spring onions
- 5cm piece of ginger
- 2 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tbsp red and black pepper
- 4-8 Sichuan peppercorns*
- 1-3 tsp ground cumin*
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 5 spring onions
- Hoisin or plum sauce
* start with a little and add more as needed. Some brands have stronger flavours than others.
There are quite a few steps to this recipe, however it is easy to do.
The duck has a spice rub applied to it the day before cooking, or in the morning.
- Remove giblets and tongue from the duck cavity. Save or discard.
- Rinse the duck under cold water, then dry it with kitchen paper.
- Lightly brush olive oil onto the duck’s skin.
- Mix all the spice rub dry ingredients together in a mortar, grinding with a pestle.
- Rub the duck inside and out with this mixture, applying it evenly.
- Wrap the duck in cling film and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Cooking the Duck
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/355°F (200°C/390°F non-fan).
- Carefully peel cling film from the duck, brush off excess rub to leave a thin coating.
- Prick the duck skin all over with a fork or skewer, including underneath.
- Bruise the garlic and spring onion. Slice the white onion into wedges.
- Add the star anise, onion, ginger, garlic and spring onion into the cavity of the duck.
- Seal the duck cavity by folding over the flap, securing with a wooden skewer.
- Cook the duck on a rack over a roasting tray for 60 minutes.
- Remove duck and roasting tray, increase oven temperature to 220°C.
- Discard the contents of the roasting tray.
- Cook the duck for a further 20-25 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
- Remove the duck from the heat and rest it covered in kitchen foil for 10 minutes.
Serving the Duck
- Whilst the duck is resting (or cooking)
- Slice the spring onion whites into thin strips.
- Skin the cucumber and slice into thin strips.
- Remove everything from the cavity and discard.
- Shred the meat from the legs, carve and slice the breast meat.
- Serve with steamed pancakes, spring onions, cucumbers and plum or hoisin sauce.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- Check your local Asian supermarket for pancakes, normally in the frozen section.
- Pancakes can be cooked in a bamboo steamer or in a microwave for 20-30secs. Microwaving can cause them to stick together/become brittle.
- The finishing and crisping stage can be done by quartering the duck and deep fat frying the pieces for 8-10 minutes before shredding. I prefer to do a dry-crisp in a hot oven, the end result is virtually the same.
- The duck fat will be tainted with aromatic flavours, so whilst normally I keep duck fat for cooking other dishes (e.g. duck fat chips), I don’t retain the fat from an aromatic duck cook.