Thursday, February 2, 2012
PEKING DUCK FOR THE HOME COOK
I was personally very surprised when my husband first suggested that I should try cooking Peking duck at home. I assumed it was a very lengthy and laborious process. He took the effort to locate a couple of doable recipes from the internet and handed me the printouts. The trickiest part for me was to find the duck!!!! The first couple of times, the ducks were not big enough. After all the effort that goes in to make the duck, there was very little skin and meat for us to eat.
So here is a step by step procedure to making Peking duck at home. I looked up a couple of recipes online and altered them according to the size of ducks I had and the time available.
2 ducks of weight 2 kgs (live weight)
10 tbsp hot water
1.5 tsp corn flour
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Rice vinegar
1.5 tbsp sugar
Mix all of the above and thicken it on a stove just for a few seconds. Keep aside
30 pieces Chinese pancakes
1 cucumber, cut into 5 cm strips
1 bunch spring onion, cut into 5 cm strips
Clean and wash the ducks thoroughly. In a large pot, take about 30 cups of water (approximately) and bring to a roaring boil. Put off the flame and dunk the ducks in for a minute. Make sure that the entire birds are submerged in water. After a minute, drain and remove the ducks from the pot and keep aside. Bring the water to a boil and repeat the procedure for 4 more times.
Make an arrangement to tie the ducks up in an airy room. Tie the ducks up for atleast 5 - 6 hours before baking it in an oven. Place a container right below the ducks to collect all the dripping liquid (you will not need this later). After every hour, baste the ducks with the basting sauce using a brush.
Heat the oven to 200C. Place the ducks on a wire rack placed in a roasting pan without touching each other. Bake the ducks at 200C for 10 minutes with the breast-side up. Now turn the ducks over to the back-side and bake for another 10 minutes at 200C. Lower the temperature to 170C and bake for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, increase the temperature to 200C and bake each side for about 5 minutes each. Keep a close eye on the ducks during the last 10 minutes of baking as it can get burnt depending on the performance of different ovens.
Remove the ducks from the oven, it should be deep golden brown in colour. Allow the ducks to rest for atleast 15 minutes before carving. Serve with all the recommended ingredients.
Recipe for the Pancakes:
1.5 cups plain flour
salt to taste
Boiling hot water, as required
2 tbsp sesame oil
Mix the salt along with the plain flour. Add enough boiling hot water to form a firm dough. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and allow the dough to rest for about half hour. Divide the dough into 30 equal-sized balls.
Roll out 2 balls at a time in to 5cm circles. Brush sesame oil on one of the circles. Place the second circle on top of the sesame oil brushed surface of the first circle. Roll out the sandwiched dough in to 10-12cm circles. Place it on a hot pan and cook both sides until light brown in colour. Remove from the pan and allow it to rest for 2 minutes. Now you should be able to peel away the pancakes from each other. The sesame oil keeps the two different dough balls from sticking to each other. After cooking on the pan, you will be getting 2 pancakes at a time.
Finally, stack all the pancakes, cover with aluminum foil and steam for about 10 minutes. This method will provide thin and soft pancakes to accompany the Peking Duck.