Cantonese Roasted Duck is known for its juicy and succulent meat, golden red and crispy skin. It’s a must-eat dish during any family gathering.
Serve: 4 people
Prep time: 40 minutes
Rest time: 26 hours and 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
1 pair tweezers
1 stainless steel turkey lacer, 8 inches (you can replace with a bamboo skewer) (sold in most supermarkets)
1 S-shaped hook (sold on online)
1 large pot
1 roasted pan
1 roasted rack
1 air compressor
2 sharp knives
1 whole duck, 3.5 pounds
Plum sauce for dipping
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 pieces fermented red bean curd (sold in any Chinese supermarkets or online)
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3 stalks scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces
3 slices ginger
3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
8 cups water
1/2 cup rose cooking wine (mei kuei lu chiew)
1/2 cup diluted red vinegar (da hong zhe cu) (sold in any Chinese supermarkets or online)
1/2 cup maltose (can be replaced with honey) (sold in any Chinese supermarkets or online)
16 cups water, separated
2 cups ice
To clean the duck, wash the duck with warm water, pat dry with a paper towel, and remove most extra fat, if there’s any. (If you can, choose a leaner duck because that will make the roasted duck crispier.) Pluck out its feathers with a pair of tweezers. (If you have a cooking torch, you could also use it to burn out these stubborn pinfeathers.) Remove its feet.
To mix the dry rub, in a bowl, add salt, white pepper, five-spice powder, and sugar. Rub it all over the duck both inside and out. Put it in the fridge and marinate for 2 hours.
To make the marinade, in a bowl, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, fermented red bean curd, five-spice powder, and sugar. Mix well. Also add in the scallions, ginger, and garlic.
To add the marinade in the duck’s cavity, take the duck out from the fridge. Pour the marinade inside the duck’s cavity and rub it all over the inside of the duck. Seal the duck with a stainless steel turkey lacer.
To blow air under the skin of the duck, use an air compressor. Put the duck breast side up. Insert the cord around the neck area, under the skin of the duck. Cover up the cavity and the rest of the neck with paper towels. Make sure no air is leaking out from the cavity and the neck area. Blow air into it for about 1 minute, until the duck inflates like a balloon, and the skin and the meat are separated. (This will ensure that you have crispy skin.) Flip the duck, insert the cord around the neck, under the skin of the duck. Again, blow air into it for about 1 minute until the duck inflates like a balloon, and the skin and the meat are separated. (Many people think that you only do this for Peking duck, but in fact, high-end Cantonese roasted duck places also do this.)
To make the duck’s skin nice and firm, first, secure the S-shaped hook on the duck’s neck.
Then in a large pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Hold the hook and use a ladle to pour the liquid over the duck until the skin becomes firm and turns white for about 2 minutes. (By doing so, the skin will be nice and firm. So, therefore, the skin will be very crispy when it’s roasted) Immediately, immerse the duck in iced water. (Again, this will firm up the skin.) Pat dry with paper towels.
To make the poaching liquid, in a large pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then add the rose cooking wine, red vinegar, and maltose. Mix well. Turn off the heat.
To poach the duck with the liquid, hold on to the hook, and use a ladle to pour the liquid over the duck for about 2 minutes. (Again, by doing this, it will make the skin super crispy, add color to the skin, and add another layer of flavors.)
Take out the S hook from the neck of the duck. Cut out the duck’s neck. (Traditionally, Cantonese roasted ducks are hanged in the oven by hooking the duck on the neck or under the wings. I don’t have one of those big ovens that fit a hanging duck. Instead, I’ll put my duck on a roasting rack. So I’m just going to chop the neck away now. You could of course keep the head all the way to the end.)
To air dry the duck, place a cooling or baking rack on a plate. Put the duck on the rack, breast side up. Dry it in the fridge for 24 hours. (By doing so, the skin will be very crispy.) (You could also use a fan or blow dryer to speed up the process.)
Preheat the oven to 425 °F (218 °C).
Cover foil paper over your roasting pan. So it won’t get dirty. Place a roasting rack on it.
Before baking the duck, place the duck breast side up on the roasting rack. (Because the breast side is thicker.) Cover up the wings and feet with foil papers to prevent burning. Rest in room temperature for 20 minutes.
To bake the duck, transfer it in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (218 °C). (You want the temperature to be high first, so the skin would crisp up and set its form.)
Lower the heat to 350 °F (177 °C). Continue to bake for another 20 minutes.
Take the duck out from the oven. Flip the duck to breast side down. Transfer it back in the middle rack of the oven and bake at 350 °F (177 °C) for 20 minutes.
Take the duck out from the oven. Take out the foil papers. Put it back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes under 350 °F (177 °C) (plus an additional 15 minutes for each more pound.) (The USDA recommends cooking duck breasts to an internal temperature of 170°F to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.)
Take out the liquid from the duck’s cavity. Chop it into small pieces. Serve with plum sauce!