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Aromatic, Crispy Duck


Chinese cuisine abounds with delicious duck recipes, the most famous of which is, of course, Peking Duck. But that really has to be tasted in the original Beijing Duck restaurant at Qianmen in Beijing. And once eaten there, nothing else will do. So this is my next favourite duck recipe, attempted for the first time when I was out of work and could not afford to eat out. It takes a long time, but is very simple to prepare and extremely rewarding in the end.



1 duckling, weighing about 1.5kg/3lb
1 tablespoon salt
2 slices of root ginger, crushed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 spring onions, cut into short lengths
3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons five spice powder
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
oil for deep frying

1) Clean the duck well; rub with salt inside and out; place it in a deep dish.

2) Pour the rice wine or dry sherry over the duck

3) Spread the crushed garlic and ginger over the skin of the duck and then sprinkle all over with the five spice powder.

4) Sprinkle the Sichuan peppercorns and spring onions over the duck.

5) Steam vigorously for about 2 1/2 hours; remove and turn the duck over to let it marinate in the juices for 2-3 hours.

6) Remove the duck from the juices and put on a rack in a cool place to drain and dry.

7) Heat up the oil and deep-fry the duck until it is golden and crispy.

Shred the meat and crispy skin from the bone and serve with pancakes, hoisin sauce, shredded cucumber, spring onion and celery. You can make your own pancakes, but any Chinese supermarket (and most ordinary ones now) sell them.

Note: The duck can be steamed and deep fried in two halves if your dishes are not big enough.

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