You know, there is always first time for everything. This was my first time roasting a whole duck in my entire natural life so far lol! The thought of roasting a big bird like that was a bit intimidating (to me at least!). But once you did it for that very first time, it’s like..okay…that wasn’t so bad ! and it isn’t really!
It used to be that Peking duck with Chinese pancakes were something that I would only able to enjoy at certain good Chinese restaurants. It is a very famous duck dish originated from Beijing, China. The crispy and paper-thin skin of the roasted duck with its juicy meat wrapped in a thin Chinese pancake smeared with touch of hoisin sauce is something that most Chinese enjoy about this dish. I googled here and there and saw recipes from cookbooks before, but did not dare to attempt until recently. So, I was using few tips from mom and Martha Stewart 😉
This is definitely a labor of love and I believe in what they say “you get what you paid for”. In this case the time you invest in preparing and cooking this large bird 😉 1 day ahead of preparing the bird and 4 hours + of roasting later, you get yourself a beautiful roasted Peking duck waiting for you to be enjoyed!!!
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
- 1 whole duck - about 4-5 lbs
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp of Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup honey
- Hoisin sauce
- 1 cucumber - peeled, seeded and cut into 3-4 inch sticks
- 6 stalks green onion - cut into 3-4 inch strands
Preparing the skin:
- Place the duck on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil . Pat the skin dry with absorbent paper towel. Use a sharp knife to score a diamond shape on the skin on the breast area but please don't cut into the meat. Then use the tip of the knife and prick the skin all over at the rest of the area. The reason why we do this, so the fat can render out easily leaving you a beautiful crispy skin. Cut off the excess skin near the butt area. Rub the skin with some salt and five-spice powder. Position the bird back to breast side up
Dehydrate the bird:
- Pop this whole bird into the refrigerator without any cover until the next day. The purpose of this is to dehydrate the skin further for that crispiness we are craving for.
Cooking the bird:
- Preheat your oven to 300 F. Place the whole bird into the oven and roast for one hour. Pull the bird out and use the tip of the knife to poke the skin again near the legs especially. You'll see some fat flowing out literally. Carefully flip the bird over, so the breast is facing down now and roast for another one hour. Pull it out again and poke the skin again with the tip of the knife and flip the bird back to breast side up and roast for another hour. Pull it out again and poke the skin all over again and flip the bird back to breast side down and roast for another one hour
- Pull it out again and flip the bird back to its breast facing up. Increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Brush the skin with honey all over and roast for another 10 minutes until it is dark golden brown. So, total roasting time is about 4 hours plus 10 minutes
- Pull the duck out from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving it with Chinese pancakes
While the duck is roasting, you can prepare the pancakes:
- Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the hot water with a spoon. The dough won't come together just yet. Use your clean hands to gently gather and knead the dough into a non-sticky dough. Add a bit flour if it's too wet. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes. Roll into a long log and cut into 25 equal-size pieces. Keep them covered. Working with one dough at a time, roll the dough out into very thin 3-inch circle (it's okay if it's not a perfect circle). Brush them with some sesame oil on one side. Continue to roll out the rest of the dough and stack them together and cover with damp cloth while you roll out the rest of the dough
- Get the steamer ready. Place a parchment paper on the steamer. Place one dough inside the steamer and steam for about 2-3 minutes or until the dough is cooked (it is somehow thin, stretchy and lightly chewy). Carefully remove and place another pancake inside and steam again and continue until you're done with the dough
How to eat them:
- Place one Chinese pancake on a plate. Smear with 1 tsp (or more if you like) of hoisin sauce. Place some cucumbers and spring onions. Top with some duck meats and some of the crispy skin. Fold the bottom towards the center and flip the two sides over enclosing the content and enjoy your labor of love