Cantonese roast duck

Making this is a labour of love. It takes a good three days to prepare, but the end results are worth it. Sealing the marinade inside the duck’s cavity before roasting keeps the meat succulent and juicy and the skin deliciously crisp. If you don’t have time to make the duck, try using the marinade on short ribs, pork belly or aubergine.

(Serves 4)
1 duck

For the dry rub:
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns

For the marinade:
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp five spice powder
½ tsp white pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3cm piece of ginger, grated
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 star anise
1 tsp orange zest

For the poaching liquid:
50ml soy sauce
100ml rice wine
100ml honey

  1. Combine the dry rub ingredients in a bowl then massage into the skin of the duck, making sure to get inside the cavity. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. Mix together the first eight marinade ingredients. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and add garlic, ginger, spring onion, star anise and orange zest. Cook until fragrant then add the other marinate ingredients. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.
  3. Remove the duck from the fridge and pour the cooled marinade inside the cavity. Sew it up with a metal skewer so that the sauce will not leak out. You may need to do this at both ends.
  4. Have a dish filled with ice water ready. Bring a three litre pot of water to a very gentle simmer and plunge the duck into it. You can hold it from one of the legs. Ladle hot water over any exposed parts of the duck, then remove from the pot and put into the ice water. Add the poaching liquid ingredients to the pot of water, then submerge the duck again. Remove it from the pot and let it dry on a wire rack for a minute, then repeat the process two more times. Leave the duck to air-dry on a wire rack in the fridge for two days.
  5. Remove the duck from the fridge about two hours before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan). Place the duck in a roasting tray with a wire rack and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to 200C (180 fan) and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven and flip it over so its underside is facing up. Bake for another 40 minutes then remove from the oven and let it rest under kitchen foil for about 30 minutes. Remove the metal skewers and shred the duck, then serve with steamed pancakes, fresh cucumber and spring onion.

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