Monday 11 December 2017

Aromatic crispy duck

Aromatic crispy duck
Aromatic crispy duck

Helen and Lisa Tse

Aromatic crispy duck

This recipe for aromatic crispy duck is the Tse sisters' answer to Peking duck. The latter originated during the Yuan Dynasty and appeared on the imperial court menus for the Emperor of China. But the chefs were sworn to secrecy, and the recipe wasn't revealed until after the Republic of China was born in 1912, when the head chef started creating Peking Duck for the masses.

Dairy and egg-free

Serves two

Preparation time: 1½ hours

Cooking time: 45 minutes


320g duck legs, skin on

Cornflour, for dusting

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the marinade

1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns

1 tsp five-spice powder

2 star anise

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp dark soy sauce

200ml water

For the pancakes

220g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

½ tsp salt

150-170ml boiling water

Sesame oil, for brushing

To serve

1 cucumber, cut into 0.5 x 7cm batons

4 spring onions, white part only, cut into 7cm lengths then quartered

Hoisin sauce


Score the duck skin all over in a criss-cross pattern. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the duck and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked through. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to marinate for 1 hour. While the duck is marinating, make the pancakes. Combine the flour, salt and boiling water in a bowl and mix together with a fork until the ingredients start to come together.

Use your hands to bring the dough into a ball, and then turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for five minutes until smooth, adding a little more water or flour if necessary.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Take the duck legs from the marinade and pat dry on kitchen paper. Transfer them to a plate and set aside to dry in the fridge, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Now your dough is ready to use. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, but not sticky. Roll out into a large rectangle, 2mm thick, and cut out small circles about 6cm in diameter. Using a pastry brush, brush a light coating of sesame oil over both sides.

To cook the pancakes, pan-fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, then layer them on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Heat 750ml vegetable oil over a high heat to 180°C. Deep-fry the duck for 8-10 minutes until it turns dark brown. Remove the crispy duck with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, patting it dry.

Transfer the duck to a plate and shred the flesh. Serve with the pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and Hoisin sauce.

GLUTEN-FREE VARIATION: Use a gluten-free barbecue sauce such as Sweet Mandarin Barbecue Dipping Sauce rather than Hoisin sauce. And use gluten-free flour rather than plain flour for the pancakes – or even substitute pancakes for lettuce for a healthy alternative.

Irish Independent

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