No matter how it’s done - roasted, curried, braised or barbecued, with or without the bone - duck has always been my meat favourite. So when it comes to holiday celebrations or festive meals, there has to be one or couple duck dishes.
When there is more time on hand, I would start off from scratch. The best place to buy frozen ducks is at Asian supermarkets where they charge less than $20 for one. After defrosting and cleaning the duck, prepare a double soy marinade by mixing brown sugar, a tablespoon of red wine and 2 oz each of light and dark soy sauce and brush evenly on the inside and outside of the duck, and marinate for at least 6 hours and hang it dry overnight (place a large bowl underneath to catch the dripping). The next day, deep fry the whole bird till golden brown. While waiting for the duck to cool down, stir fry 1 cup of glutinous rice, 1 each of diced lap cheung (Chinese sauce), deiced shitake mushroom and 1 tbsp of dried shrimp till the rice is semi-cooked. Stuff inside the duck and steam for 4 hours. Yes, this is one time and effort consuming recipe, but the tender fall-off-the bone duck meat and the amazing-flavoured sticky rice are worth every minute!
What about one very easy, fun-to-do and great party food (each duck is good for around 10 people) and very appealing duck recipe – a DIY 2-course Peking duck: Duck skin wrap and lettuce wrap.
To kick start, go to your favourite Chinese BBQ shop and purchase a BBQ duck; make sure you tell the butcher not to cut or chop the duck. You also need 1 head of lettuce, a bundle of green onions, 1 Japanese cucumber, 1 carrot, 1 medium onion, 1 red pepper and 6 shitake mushrooms. Don’t forget to pick up a package of 10” flour tortilla！For seasoning, you’ll need both light and dark soy sauce, hoisin and oyster sauce, and a small amount of peanut sauce.
Place the duck on a large plate once home. Line a baking pan with tin foil and put the wire rack on top of the foil. Use a pair of scissors and a paring knife, remove the skin while cutting into 2” X 1.5” pieces and place them onto the rack. Cover lightly with wax paper or foil, put aside. Remove as much meat from the duck, the carcass is great for making congee (or soup), so save and freeze it. Dice the meat and put in a bowl. Put aside.
Cut 4 pieces of tortilla into 4 even quarters, stack and foil-wrap them and put aside. You can prepare more later when needed.
With the help of a pointed knife, carefully take the lettuce leaves apart. Try to keep the leaves intact since they will be used as containers for the 2nd course.
Julienne the white parts of 3 green onions and the cucumber; put them into 2 separate bowls. Small-dice and place everything else in separate bowls.
While start serving your guests with dips and cheese, preheat the oven to 300F. .
For an easy peking duck sauce, just squeeze it out of the hoisin sauce bottle. But for a better-tasting sauce with the right texture, this is a good time to make your own. Bring 2 oz of water, 1½ Tbsp of brown sugar, 2 oz of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce in a saucepan on medium high heat to a soft boil, stir in 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Turn off heat and empty sauce into a serving bowl.
When the oven is ready, remove the wax paper or foil cover, place both the duck skins and the foiled-tortillas inside and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. While waiting for the skins and tortillas to be re-heated, why not cook the duck meat?
Place wok on high heat. Bring 2 tbsp of cooking oil to a medium boil. Add diced carrot, onion, red pepper and mushroom respectively at 10-seconds intervals and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 1 tsp each of hoisin, oyster sauce, dark and light soy sauce, brown sugar, cold water and mix well. Add duck meat and sauté for another minute, empty into a large bowl and serve with lettuce leaves and peking duck sauce.
Place a whole tortilla on a large round plate. Remove duck skins from the oven and transfer the skins onto the tortilla (to absorb the grease) and serve with the quartered tortilla.
Enjoy these fun duck courses and help yourselves to a delicious, healthy and happy 2012!