Crispy-skin duck with red plum sauce

Serves: 6-8 as part of a banquet
Prep: 30 min, plus overnight marinating
Cook: 1 hr 40 min

1 Duck, 1.5 kg in weight
2 tbsp Sichuan Pepper and Salt
30g plain flour
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the red plum sauce:
250ml water
225g white sugar
250g ripe red plums, halved and stoned
160ml Fish Sauce
6 Star anise
2 cinnamon quills
60ml fresh lime juice


1. Rinse the duck under cold water. Trim away excess fat from inside and outside the cavity, but keep neck, parson’s nose and winglets intact.

2. Pat dry and rub the skin all over with Sichuan pepper and salt.

3. Cover the duck and place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.

4. Transfer duck to a large steamer basket. Place basket over a pan of boiling water and steam, covered with a tight-fitting lid, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the duck is cooked through (to test, insert a small knife between leg and breast – the juices should run clear).

5. Using tongs, gently remove duck from steamer and place on a tray, breast-side up, to drain. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to refrigerator to cool further.

6. Meanwhile, make the plum sauce. Combine the water and sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil.

7. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.

8. Add plums, fish sauce, star anise and cinnamon and simmer for a further minute.

9. Stir through lime juice and remove pan from stove. Keep the sauce warm while you fry the duck.

10. Place the cooled duck breast-side up on a chopping board and, using a large knife or cleaver, cut duck in half lengthways through breastbone and backbone.

11. Carefully ease meat away from carcass, leaving thighs, legs and wings intact.

12. Lightly toss duck halves in flour to coat, shaking off any excess.

13. Heat the vegetable oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly.

14. Deep-fry duck halves, one at a time, for about 3 minutes, or until well browned and crispy.

15. Using tongs, carefully remove duck from oil and drain well on kitchen paper, then leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

16. Finally, with a large knife or cleaver, slice the duck, arrange on a platter and spoon over the hot plum sauce.

Cooks Notes:
“This is one of the signature dishes at Billy Kwong,” . “I remember a table of four once ordered four ducks because they’d heard so much about it – they wanted a duck each and that was that! If plums aren’t in season, use blood oranges or regular oranges to add that lovely sourness.”

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