Wednesday 20 September 2017

Cantonese Roast Duck 广式烧鸭

My family members are true blue Cantonese that enjoy any kind of Cantonese roasts, be it roast pork, char siew, roast chicken or duck. The Cantonese Roast Duck 广式烧鸭 probably tops my family's list. I usually have to queue early at the popular stalls over weekends to buy our favourite roast duck. Sometimes, I disappoint them by coming home empty handed when the roast ducks are sold out in the morning! Seeing how much they love this Cantonese Roast Duck 广式烧鸭 spurred me on to do it myself at home. 

i have done this Cantonese Roast Duck 广式烧鸭 quite a few times as of now. In view of my poor stitching skills, I had tweaked it from the traditional way of sealing the poaching liquid in the duck cavity. Instead, I inserted  pineapple chunks into the cavity to keep the meat tender and moist. I have also simplified the processes a little to suit my home kitchen environment. Albeit all these changes, I do not think I have compromised much in taste and texture. Not as traditional in the prepping and not as difficult as most people perceived, but this homemade version of Cantonese Roast Duck 广式烧鸭 is a hit at home. 

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :
  • 1 duck (about 2 to 2.5 kg)(cleaned and pat dry) 
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder (to dry rub the duck)
  • 2 tsp salt (to dry rub the duck)
  • 1 tsp grounded pepper (to dry rub the duck)(I used grounded Szechuan peppercorn)
  • 1 slice pineapple (cut to chunks)

Poaching Mixture (A) :
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise (broken into smaller pieces)
  • 3 cloves
  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 3 stalks spring onion (tie in a knot)
  • 1 tbsp five spice powder
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp dark vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup dark sugar syrup (those used for baking mooncakes)(can replace with honey)
  • 2 pcs rock sugar (approx. 2 tbsp portion)
  • 2.5 litre water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Brushing Mixture (B) : 

  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark sugar syrup or honey
  • 50 ml water

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon) 

Method :
  1. Score duck skin with a needle tenderiser. Do not have to puncture/pierce into the meat. Try not to tear the skin. 
  2. Mix dry rub ingredients together in a bowl evenly (i.e. 1 tbsp five spice powder, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp grounded pepper).
  3. Marinade the duck by dry rubbing mixture on the surface of duck and inside the cavity. Adjust the quantity of salt/powder in accordance to the size of the duck.
  4. Chill the duck in the refrigerator for at least half a day (do not cover with lid).
  5. When time's due, remove duck from chiller to rest at room temperature. 
  6. Heat big pot with cooking oil at medium heat. 
  7. Toss in aromatic ingredients (in Group A) (i.e. ginger, garlic, spring onion, cinnamon, cloves, star anise)  and stir fry till fragrant. 
  8. Fold in mixture comprising all other poaching ingredients (in Group A) into pot and allow to simmer till boiled.
  9. Hold the duck vertically above the pot. Use a ladle to poach duck with boiling poaching mixture.
  10. Repeat at least 3 times till the skin tightens. 
  11. Do not waste the poaching liquid. Strain and freeze poaching liquid in storage boxes to braise or cook other dishes.
  12. Pat dry duck with paper towel.
  13. Insert pineapple chunks to fill up the cavity of duck.
  14. Hang the duck to air dry for at least half a day. 
  15. Pre-heat oven to 190C, grill mode (fan assist) before roast.
  16. Mix all ingredients in Brushing Mixture (Group B) in a bowl evenly.
  17. Arrange duck on roasting pan.  
  18. Lightly brush entire surface of the duck with Brushing Mixture. The skin will easily get burnt if brushed too thick.
  19. Send duck to roast in lower tier of oven for 25 to 30 minutes (subject to size of duck)
  20. Turn duck over and roast for another another 25 to 30 minutes (subject to size of duck). (Note : If you use a roasting rack over the pan like me, you probably do not have to turn the duck as the duck will still be evenly roasted at the bottom as there's no contact at the bottom. Just continue roasting will do.)
  21. Turn duck back to breast side up.
  22. Adjust oven temperature to 230C and allow to roast for another 10 minutes (adjust timing according to size of duck) to achieve crispy skin.
  23. Remove duck from oven when even skin colour is achieved.
  24. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cutting the duck to serve.
  25. Remove and discard pineapple chunks from cavity before serve.

Note : Roasting time and results may vary due to size of duck and different oven makes. Do adjust accordingly. As heat distribution for every oven varies, you may find certain parts of the duck more burnt. If you find any part of the skin starting to burn (usually at the top and the tip of the wings), cut a piece of foil and cover over that portion will do.

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