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Crispy Aromatic Duck

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Serves: 4-6

2 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
75g / 3 oz Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
25g / 1 oz whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
3 tbsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
corn flour for dusting
1.1 litres / 2 pints groundnut oil
200g / 7 oz rock salt
2.7kg / 6 lb oven ready duck
7.5cm / 3 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into 6 slices
6 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 7.5cm / 3 inch lengths

To serve: warm Chinese pancakes, spring onion cut into shreds, cucumber cut into slices lengthways, hoisin sauce


Mix together the Chinese five-spice powder, Szechuan and black peppercorns, cumin seeds and salt. Rub the duck inside and out with the spice mixture. Wrap the duck with cling film and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Brush any loose spices fromn the duck. Place the ginger and spring onions into the duck cavity and put the duck on a heat proof plate.

Place a wire rack in a wok and pour in boiling water to a depth of 5cm / 2 inches. Lower the duck and plate on to the rack and cover. Steam gently for 2 hours or until the duck is cooked through, pouring off excess fat from time to time and adding more water if necessary. Remove the duck, pour off all the liquid and discard the ginger and spring onions. Leave the duck in a cool place for 2 hours, or until it has dried and cooled.

Cut the duck into quarters and dust lightly with cornflour. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fat fryer to 190ºC / 375ºF, then deep-fry the duck quarters 2 at a time. Cook the breast for 8-10 minutes and the thighs and legs for 12-14 minutes, or until each piece is heated through. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper, then shred some of it with a fork, ready to be put into pancakes. Serve immediately with warm Chinese pancakes, spring onion shreds, cucumber slices and hoisin sauce.

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