Crispy Duck with Plum Sauce
This is a marvellous dish, seemingly ostentatious yet incredibly simple. It’s the perfect way to impress guests as the centre piece for any Chinese dinner.
Some Chinese versions of crispy duck advocate deep frying but there’s no need. Just make sure you crisp the duck’s skin skin well.
Ingredients for 4 people:
4 good sized duck breasts.
2 tablespoons crushed Chinese Brown peppercorns (black pepper is fine if this is unavailable).
2 tablespoons sea salt.
1 freshly grated ginger root.
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion.
6 star anise, crushed.
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce.
2 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry.
Oil for frying.
For the Plum Sauce:
6 fl oz water.
10 ripe plums.
4 tablespoons soft brown sugar.
1 tablespoon clear honey.
2 cinnamon sticks.
2 star anise.
Juice of 2 limes.
First make sure you score the skin on the duck breasts to allow the marinade to permeate the meat.
To make the marinade, combine the peppercorns, salt, ginger, spring onion, star anise, soy sauce and rice wine in a bowl. Add the duck breasts and massage the marinade thoroughly into the meat. Cover and leave for at least 20 minutes but ideally 2 hours.
Now to cook the duck. There are two ways you can approach this.
Method one: steaming the duck breasts for about 2 hours until tender before crisping the skin off for 4-5 minutes until crisp and golden.
Method 2: Crisp up the duck skin as above. Then cook the meat skin side up in the oven at 200 degrees c/400 degrees f/ gas mark 6. How long you cook it for depends on how well done you like your duck but 4 minutes should be the minimum cooking time for a pink meat.
For the sauce, boil the water and then add all the other ingredients and cook until you have a syrupy sauce.
Serve the sauce poured over each duck breast with plenty of fluffy white rice to soak up the excess. As an alternative, the duck can be served with Chinese pancakes with shredded spring onions, with the sauce on the side for dipping