Cantonese Roast Duck
Serves 10 - 12 as a starter, or 4 to 6 as a main course. (Note: total preparation time does not include the time needed to dry the duck before cooking).
One 4 1/2 lb (2 kg) oven-ready duckling
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons maltose or honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
about 1/2 pint (280 ml) warm water
For the Stuffing:
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
Clean the duck well. Remove the wing tips and the lumps of fat from inside the vent. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, remove and dry well, then rub the duck with salt and tie the neck tightly with string.
Make the stuffing by heating the oil in a saucepan, add all the ingredients, bring to the boil and blend well. Pour the mixture into the cavity of the duck and sew it up securely.
Dissolve the maltose or honey with vinegar and red food coloring (if using) in warm water, brush it all over the duck - give it several coatings, then hang the duck up (head down) with an S-shaped hook to dry in an airy and cool place for at least 4 - 5 hours.
To cook: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C./Gas 6). Hang the duck head down on the top rack, and place a tray of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C., Gas 4) after 25 minutes or so, and cook for a further 30 minutes, basting with the remaining coating mixture once or twice.
To serve: let the duck cool down a little, then remove the string and pour out the liquid stuffing to be used as gravy. Chop the duck into bite-sized pieces, then serve hot or cold with the gravy poured over it.
Yield: 4-6 Servings