There are three forms of crispy roast duck. Let’s start with the Peking crispy duck. In Northern China the duck is marinated and the duck skin is seen as the delicacy with full of flavour. In some authentic restaurants in the UK, the authentic versions of the dish is served mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook.
You have the cantonese crispy duck often identified by red hued crispy skin seen hanging in the windows of chinatown restaurants. The duck is marinated overnight and hung to dry before before being slow roasted to perfection. I cannot represent most cantonese counter parts but I am sure we don’t slice this duck and serve with pancake and hoisin sauce.
Finally the crispy aromatic duck. In the UK, this alternative crispy duck was invented by the Chinese community in London’s Chinatown in the 1960s. With such a diverse culture in London, the Chinese had picked up the French method for ‘confit duck’ whereby the marinated duck is poached in a spice infused duck fat before frying. The British were not bothered about the duck itself. Back then, they loved the idea of constructing the wrap with the sauce, julienned leeks, spring onions and cucumber which is why it was a winner to the British hearts.
Here, the Chinese aromatic duck is braised in a flavoured broth before fried to crispness. The resulting duck packs a punch with its flavoured meat and crispy skin.
Since I’m making this dish at home, you can still achieve the crispy skin in the oven. I’ve opted for tortilla wraps instead of the duck pancakes as its easily accessible. However, it is more filling as a starter with this alternative.
Cooking time: 2hrs
2.0kg duck, innards removed
125ml Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) or Dry Sherry
1 litre of water
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 fresh orange chopped
1 thumb sized fresh ginger, crushed
5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tablespoon rock sugar (or regular sugar)
5 star anise
4 bay leaves
20 whole peppercorns
4 tortilla wraps cut into quarters
Braise the duck for 1hr on a low simmer. Turn the duck after 30 minutes to cook the duck evenly.
I could make fresh pancakes but I opted for the easier option of tortilla wraps laying spare in the fridge. The tortilla wraps were cut into quarters. Put 3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce into a serving bowl. One cucumber was cut into thirds and then julienned ready for serving.
After 30 minutes, turn the duck on the breast side and cook for a further 30mins.
Take the duck out from the braising liquid and place on a baking tray lined with kitchen foil ready for the oven . Here, I have double lined the tray.
Set the oven for 200 degrees and 45min or gas mark 6.
Once ready, leave to cool for 20mins before shredding the meat off the bone with two forks. Be careful as the centre of the duck will be rather hot. If you find you get big chunks of duck meat, use a knife to achieve the shredded texture.
Get a piece of the wrap, spread your hoisin sauce evenly, lay several strips of cucumber and then some ducks. Roll up and stick it into your mouth. Hope you enjoy it.