Kung Hei Fat Choy!
(Happy Chinese New Year!)
This post is dedicated to everyone who is celebrating Chinese New Year on 31st January 2014! I invited some friends over for a celebratory meal and got a little stuck on what to cook. So I bought a Gressingham Duck crown at the supermarket and this is what I came up with…
Most people will be familiar with deep fried crispy from Cantonese Restaurants all over the world. Deep fried crispy duck is usually made up of shredded duck meat, ‘hoi sin’ sauce, and thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions, all wrapped in a thin wheat pancake. This recipe takes inspiration from this dish but uses other traditional Chinese cooking methods and some of the same flavours. This is a fairly long post, so please stay with me, it’s worth it!
For the duck, I loosely based the cooking on this recipe for Teochew Braised Duck (Lo Ack/滷鸭) but used a few different ingredients as I didn’t have all of the stated ones. Here’s approximately what I used:
- 4 star anise
- 4-5 cloves
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of Chinese rice wine
- 2 tbs five spice powder
- 2 tbs cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 4 inch piece of root ginger smashed up
The method I used was the same as the recipe. However as I cooked it the day before, I left the duck in the braising stock over night in the fridge for extra flavour!
As this recipe slow cooks the duck and doesn’t involve deep frying to get the crispy texture, I thinly sliced the duck meat and got the crispy texture from the pancakes instead…
For the pickled cucumber, I drew inspiration once more from one of my favourite cooks, Christine Ho who is my ‘go-to’ cook for Chinese food inspiration. Her recipe for ‘Sweet and Sour Cucumber’ sounded ideal for this dish. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, although I used one large cucumber so kind of guessed the quantities of the vinegar and sugar! (I used white wine vinegar because that was what I saw in the cupboard first!)
For the Spring Onion Pancakes, again Christine Ho came to the rescue! These ‘pancakes’ are not the fluffy kind that are usually served for breakfast. Think of them as the Chinese version of a pan-fried flat bread. The dough becomes is flaky and crisp whilst the spring onions give them a subtle ‘oniony’ flavour. I’ve never made these before but have eaten loads of my mum’s ones before. My mum uses lard in her recipe, as with a lot of Chinese recipes but Christine’s ‘Scallion Pancakes‘ don’t call for it, so I wasn’t too sure how they would turn out…
I followed the recipe but as I wanted to be able to use the pancakes to wrap up the duck meat, I decided to go for much thinner versions. these turned out fairly well but not as flaky as the usually thicker spring onion pancakes. I used ready made hoi sin sauce as I wasn’t even going to attempt it myself!
Although this dish is time consuming to make due to all the different elements, it is fairly satisfying to roll up these tasty morsels and enjoy them with friends for this special occasion.
The duck was moist and full of flavour, the pickled cucumber was great for refreshing the palate and the spring onion pancakes were crisp enough to add a little crunch but still pliable enough to roll up. Delicious!