Tender pieces of roasted duck with thin, crisp skin served with cucumbers, scallions, and sticky sweet hoisin sauce sandwiched inside of a steamed bun. The original method of making Peking duck is labor intensive. I came up with a simplified technique that replaces the need for a dry ager and wood-fired oven!
What is Peking duck?
Peking duck (Beijing baked duck, 北京烤鸭, Běi jīng kǎo yā, běijīng tián yā) is a gourmet cuisine that dates back to the imperial era. It is characterized by a duck seasoned with a five spice glaze and baked with a glassy appearance like that of burnished glass. It is served like a burrito or taco with soy wrappers, Chinese-style tortillas, or plain steamed buns with duck meat, cucumbers, scallions, and hoisin sauce.
How is Peking duck made?
The original method of cooking Peking duck at a restaurant is labor intensive. Its preparation typically involves sourcing ducks from farms that breed a very specific type of duck with the perfect fat to protein ratio. The ducks are also hung on a meat hook and stored it in a meat locker that is set to a precise temperature and humidity for dry aging.
How do I make the skin on my duck crispy?
Most home cooks prepare Peking duck by hanging the seasoned duck on a meat hook at home overnight before cooking. To practice food safety, I am instead leveraging the natural dry aging characteristics of a refrigerator. Although a professional dry aging refrigerator is ideal, a standard refrigerator is a fine substitute. To ensure that the duck dry ages uniformly on all sides, I place the duck upright using a wine bottle that has been covered with a zip lock bag. I allow the duck to rest for at least 24 hours before seasoning it with my five spice and maltose glaze. The use of the bottle also makes the act of glazing the duck a breeze.
What is maltose?
Maltose (mài yá táng, 麦芽糖) is a sweet syrup created from fermenting pure malt, rice, and water. It is commonly used throughout Chinese cuisine. It can be consumed directly, soaked in water, cooked, or baked. It has the properties of light corn syrup which is used to make homemade ice cream however, maltose has a higher viscosity and half of the sweetness of white sugar. Due to its thick texture, maltose may be challenging to use at room temperature. To make it more usable, zap the unsealed container in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
- 1 5-6 lbs duck
- 1 gallon water boiling
- 2 tbsp maltose
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp five-spice powder
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 5-6 lbs duck
- 1 English cucumber julienned
- 1 bunch scallions trimmed, halved, julienned
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- 1 pack of frozen guabao steamed
- Duck | Boil water in a kettle. Take the duck out of the packaging and set it in the sink. Discard the giblets and allow the excess liquid to drain out. Slowly pour half 1/3 of the water onto the skin on both sides. The skin should tighten as it makes contact with hot water. Repeat 3x. Set a bottle of wine on the center of a large dinner plate. Cover the bottle with a 1 gallon zip lock bag. Grab the duck. With its legs facing down, skewer the cavity on the wine bottle and push down until the tip of the bottle reaches the neck of the duck. Refrigerate overnight uncovered allowing the refrigerator to dehydrate the skin.
- Sauce | To a small microwave-safe bowl, add maltose. Microwave for 10 sec. Add in the oyster sauce, five spice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Mix. Using a pastry brush, brush the sauce all over the duck, including the cavity. Allow the sauce dry for 15 mins. Repeat 3x. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the bottom rack.
- Bake | Cover a half sheet baking tray with heavy duty foil and a wire cooling rack. Place the duck on top of the rack breast side down. Bake for 45 mins on each side until the internal temp reaches 165°F. Remove and let it cool. Using a knife remove the drums. Then cut out slices of the breast. Peel off the rest of the meat with your hands. Save the carcass for a homemade stock which may be used to make duck noodle soup!
- Assemble | Serve on a steamed bun with scallions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce.