Chinese Peking duck is a Chinese delicacy that became an icon of Chinese food in the entire world. This recipe originated some 500 years back and continued to remain a favorite of the elite and royal classes. Peking duck was previously known as Jiu duck, until the name was changed when it became the favorite dish of Emperor Qian Long and Empress Dowager Cixi.
Peking duck is one such classic recipe that became tremendously popular in the entire world but still the original recipe remained quite unchanged. In this recipe, the duck is first cleaned and then dried in a cool place. Then the duck is basted with a sweet and sour sauce before drying it for another 24 hours. The duck is then finally roasted either in a close or open oven.
Finally, the duck is carved in front of the diners. Traditionally, a carved piece of Peking duck mostly consists of the crispy skin and a little bit of the meat. The carved pieces are then wrapped up with hoisin sauce and scallion sticks in thin mandarin pancakes. So, if you want to cook and eat Peking duck in authentic Chinese style, you should definitely follow this recipe.
Difficulty level: Medium
Servings per recipe: 4-6
Time required for preparation: 10-24 hours
Time required for cooking: 1 hour 10 minutes- 1 hour 20 minutes
1 roasting pan
1 sauce pan
2 wire racks
1 table fan
4 lb. Peking duck
6 cups of water
½ cup + 2 tablespoons of rice wine or dry sherry
3 tablespoons of corn starch
3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of pure honey
2 green onions, sliced
2 teaspoons of vinegar
1 1-inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Mandarin pancakes, for serving
10 scallions, cut into long strips
1 cup of hoisin sauce, for serving
Method of cooking
1. Take out the duck from the refrigerator and leave it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Letting the duck to sit at room temperature helps to thaw it and makes the cooking process easier. Then take the thawed duck and rinse it thoroughly inside-out. Make sure that there is no liquid inside the duck.
Then shake the duck a few times to drain as much water from it as possible. Then place the duck on your cooking counter and pat-dry it with paper towels. Make sure that you dry both the inner cavity and the outer skin thoroughly. Remove any giblets from the cavity of the duck before rinsing it.
2. Then trim off the wings of the duck. Trim off any excess fat hanging from the head region of the duck and then seal the head opening of the duck with kitchen threads. Once done, tie a kitchen twine around the neck of the duck and if you don’t have enough space for that, you can make a puncture at the neck region of the duck to pass the string. Then attach a large hook to the string to easily hang the duck.
3. Once the duck is ready, hang it in a cool and dry place for 4 hours and place a table-fan beside it to keep it dry. Once the time elapses, take a saucepan and pour the water, rice wine, vinegar and the soy sauce in it. Then take the ginger and cut off its extensions.
Peel off the skin of the ginger and then slice it thinly. Once done, take the green onions and cut out the whiter portion. Discard the green portion and then slice the white portion thinly. Once both the ginger and the green onions are sliced, add them to the sauce in the saucepan and then finally add-in the cornstarch and the honey.
4. Stir the mixture with a spoon to mix everything nicely and then place the saucepan on the stove. Turn the knob to light up the flame and then maintain it on medium high. Cook the sauce and wait for it to come to a boil.
Once the sauce starts boiling, turn down the flame to extreme low and let it simmer covered for 20 minutes. Once ready, take a large baking dish or tray and put the dry duck in it. Hold the hook attached to the string of the duck and then baste it on both sides with the hot sauce.
5. Baste the duck by ladling the sauce several times over it. Make sure that you baste all the sides of the duck equally, to make it look very attractive and shiny from all sides. Baste the duck for 15-20 minutes or until it gets completely and very nicely covered with the sauce.
Once done, hang the duck once again in a cool place and place a tray below it to collect the dripping sauce from it. Let the duck hang in the cool place for another 6-24 hours and make sure that you use a fan to fan it all through the resting stage.
6. Once the time elapses, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a roasting pan by placing a wire rack over it. Brush some oil on the grills of the rack and then place the duck breast side-up on the rack. Then pour enough water into the roasting pan, so that the water level reaches up to 2 inches.
Once ready, insert the roasting pan into the preheated oven and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Close the oven and let the duck roast for 30 minutes. Once the time elapses, flip the duck by holding it with a pair of long tongs and then let it roast breast side-down for another 30 minutes.
7. Once done, flip the duck and rotate the roasting pan once again to roast it for the last 10 minutes or until the skin turns into a dark brown color. Once ready, take out the roasting pan from the oven and place the duck on a separate wire rack to cool it down.
Once the duck cools down a bit, slice it into ¼-inch thick slices. Each slice should have some meat and good amounts of the crispy skin on top. Serve the pecking duck slices with mandarin pancakes, hoisin sauce and scallion florets.