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Asian Roasted Duckling

This recipe comes, slightly modified, from Tyler Florence, one of my favorite chefs.  The secret is in the simple, yet delicious glaze that is used to baste the bird while it roasts, and in the steaming which reduces the fat and helps the skin to crisp.  The wonderful oriental flavor is also enhanced by the use of Five Spice Powder, a blend widely used in Chinese cooking.

1 4-5 pound   duck
1 tablespoon   Chinese five-spice powder (see note)
2 teaspoons   sugar
2 teaspoons   salt
5 slices   fresh ginger (quarter sized)
4 cloves   garlic
bunch   green onions
For the Glaze  
cup rice vinegar
cup honey
cup soy sauce

Begin by trimming the excess fat from the neck and body. Rinse the duck, inside and out, and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Combine the Chinese five-spice, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the duck, inside and out. This rub makes a fragrant dry marinade, which draws some of the moisture from the duck so that the spices penetrate.

Stuff the duck cavity with the ginger, garlic and green onions. Fold the wing tips back under the duck and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Poke the duck breast a few times, piercing the skin.

Place a roasting pan on the stovetop over 2 burners and fill with 2-inches of water, turn the heat to medium. Set a V-rack insert inside the pan and lay the duck on the rack, breast-side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Steam the duck for 45 minutes, checking the water level periodically.  Steaming the duck first melts away some of the fat and shrinks the skin.

While the duck is steaming preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce over low heat. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick.

When the duck has finished steaming take the foil off the duck, remove the rack with the duck, and pour out the water and all the fat that has been rendered. Also carefully drain any liquid accumulated in the cavity of the bird.

Put the rack with the duck back inside the roasting pan. Baste the duck with the glaze, until all the skin is completely coated. Stick the whole thing in the oven. Roast the duck for approximately 1 hour, basting periodically with any remaining glaze to set in a deep mahogany color. Tent the breast with some foil if it gets too dark. When the legs wiggle easily the bird is done.

Let bird rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

Note:  If the flavor of liquorice is not to your liking, replace the five spice powder with: teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground clove and teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns.



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