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Peking Duck Recipe

Peking Duck

Rating 4-5 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again
An Ideal Recipe for Entertaining

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The Chinese have special reverence for duck, regarding it as a symbol of wholesomeness and fidelity (and maybe its taste too??). There is little doubt that Peking Duck was first concocted in the Imperial kitchens. Its popularity quickly spread as restaurants, often staffed by former Imperial chefs, made it a speciality to be served at banquets.

The preparation and cooking of Peking Duck has now become an art form in China, including feeding the ducks a rich diet of maize, sorghum, barley and soya beans for six weeks before they are ready for the kitchen. Also, after being killed and cleaned, air is pumped through the windpipe to separate the skin from the meat (allowing the skin to roast separately and remain crisp while the fat melts, keeping the meat moist).

In this recipe, however, I have devised a simpler method that closely approximates the real thing and does little to undermine the quality of this fabulous dish. Just allow yourself plenty of time and the results will be good enough for any emperor!

Peking DuckTraditionally, Peking Duck is served with Chinese Pancakes, sweet bean sauce, spring onions and (optionally) thin slivers of cucumber. In Hong Kong and in the West, hoisin sauce is used instead of sweet bean sauce. It is very similar but contains some vinegar. Each guest spoons some sauce onto a pancake, then a helping of crisp skin and duck meat is placed on top, with a few cucumber and spring onion sprigs. The pancake is is then rolled round the filling and makes an unforgettable dish for a very special dinner party (don't forget a finger bowl. The pancakes are 'finger-lickin' good, but your guests will still appreciate a way to rinse their fingers afterward

      Preparation Time: 30 Minutes + waiting

      Cooking Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients for Peking Duck

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4 - 6:
1 x 3½ - 4 lb
whole duck (fresh or frozen)
2½ pints
3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons
dark soy sauce
5 fl oz
dry sherry or rice wine
6 - 8
hoisin sauce
spring onions (a.k.a. scallions or salad onions)
small cucumber


How to Cook Peking Duck

  1. If the duck is frozen, thaw it thoroughly. Rinse the duck well and blot it completely dry with kitchen paper. Insert a meat hook near the neck.
  2. Cut the lemon into ¼" (5mm) slices, leaving the rind on. In a large pan, combine the lemon slices with the water, honey. dark soy sauce and dry sherry or rice wine. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour this mixture over the duck several times, as if to bathe it, until all of the skin is completely coated with the mixture. Hang the duck in a cool, well-ventilated place to dry for 4-or-5 hours (longer if possible). Once the duck has dried, the surface of the skin will feel like parchment.
  4. Preheat the oven to Mk 9 - 475ºF - 240ºC. Meanwhile, place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Put ¼ pint (150ml) of water into the roasting pan to prevent the fat from splattering. Now put the duck into the oven and roast it for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to Mk 4 - 350ºF - 180ºC and continue to roast for 1¼ hours.
  5. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the spring onions (scallions) into 2" (5cm) long pieces and sliced finely long-ways. Peel the cucumber and cut into thin sticks about 2" (5cm) long. You can also use the duck's cooking time to make the Chinese Pancakes which can be kept warm or reheated when needed.
  6. When cooked, remove the duck from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you serve it. Using a cleaver or sharp knife, cut the skin and meat into pieces and arrange them on a warm platter. Serve immediately with Chinese Pancakes, thin spring onion and cucumber sticks and a bowl of hoisin sauce.

An alternative to cutting the duck meat into pieces for serving is to joint the duck then use a fork and a spoon to "shred" the meat. Many people prefer it served this way.
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Reviews of Peking Duck

Rating 4 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again August 11 2014
This recipe was very good. Full of flavor, my only downfall was I would have liked for the skin to be a little more crispy, other than that it was a very easy recipe, although my son and I had a fun time with the chopstick, I should say my son and I had a very good fun time making this recipe. Maybe I'll dry it a little more next time. Oh yeah, my oven was perfectly fine, no splatter at all, guess that's what happens if you do it right.
(6 reviews)
Rating 5 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again August 29 2013
This duck was unbelievable. I was a little leary about hanging a duck out for so long, but wow, this was truly fantastic. I prepared it exactly as the recipe is written, hung it for 6 hours in front of a fan and it was the juiciest duck ever. The skin was a beautiful color and very crispy. We had these with Bergy's "Mandarine Pancakes" and ate like kings. Top notch recipe with perfect results.
(1 review)

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