Sunday, February 9, 2014

Recipe: Crispy-skin Chinese Roast Duck 烤鸭

So far this year, I have had great success in the kitchen trying to cook/make something for the first time, including Chinese roast pork (siew yuk) and pineapple nastar rolls. So happy that I can now add crispy-skin Chinese roast duck to the list!

We are always on the hunt for decent roast duck in KL. Our criteria for a good roast duck is crispy skin plus flavorful, juicy meat. Not difficult, right? When we were at the supermarket last week, Hubby saw ducks for sale and said, "Wanna make roast duck for Chinese New Year?". Challenge accepted.

Glistening, gloriously crispy skin

To achieve crispy skin on the duck, it is important that the skin is very dry before roasting. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about sun-drying the duck as I was worried it would attract flies and other insects. Fortunately, no such problem plus with the very hot weather during CNY, it didn't take long for the skin to dry. Both my kids found it a funny sight to see the duck sunbathing in the garden ;)

In between the sunbathing sessions, the duck also needs to be "bathed" in a mixture of maltose and rice vinegar. Once the skin is dry, simply stuff the cavity with the seasoning and put in the oven to roast. There is no need to leave the meat to marinate - easy! One reason why I've never attempted making roast duck until now, is that I was under the impression that it makes a lot of mess in the oven, however after making it I can now say that roasting duck is pretty mess-free (even less oil splatter than making siew yuk- the oil just drips onto the tray).

Our duck sunbathing in the garden.... enjoying the scenery with a bottle of Moet LOL!!

It didn't take long for the skin to brown in the oven and soon, we had a beautiful, glistening roast duck at the dinner table. I served it with oiled rice and 3 types of sauce - homemade chilli sauce (recipe here), plum sauce (store-bought) and the duck gravy (which you pour out from the cavity). The roast duck was simply sensational - it ticked all the boxes for a fantastic roast duck - crispy skin, flavorful, moist and juicy.

I was really happy to see my family enjoying this so much. Hubby commented that this is far better than a lot of those being sold outside. I would definitely make this again - though there is a long waiting time (to sun-dry the duck), the actual work that goes into this is pretty minimal. Easy and delicious!

Fantastic roast duck!

Love love love this!

Crispy-skin Chinese roast duck 烤鸭
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Nasilemaklover
Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus 3-4 hours for drying)
Cooking time: 55-60 minutes
Serves 4-5

1 whole duck (2.5kg)
3 cups water
2 tbsp maltose
1 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp fermented soybean paste (taucu)
1/2 tsp Chinese five Spice powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp caster sugar

4 shallots, blend into paste
4 cloves garlic, blend into paste

To serve
Rice (4 pax)
2 tbsp shallot oil (recipe here)
Chicken stock

1 Japanese cucumber, sliced

The sauces
Homemade chilli sauce (recipe here)
Plum sauce (store-bought)
Gravy from duck

1. Wash the duck well and remove any visible hairs. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.

2. In a large wok, combine water, maltose and vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat. Place the duck into the wok and bath the duck with the mixture several times. (ie use a ladle and scoop the mixture all over the duck).

3. Sun-dry the duck for 2 hours. I placed a bottle in the duck's cavity so that it can stand upright and get even sunning. You can also get a hook to hang the duck (around the neck), whatever works. After 2 hours, bring the mixture in the wok to a boil again. Once boiling, turn off and bath the duck again and then sun-dry for 1-2 hours until a dried skin is formed. (weather-dependent - it is done once the skin is hard to the touch).

4. Combine the seasoning with the blended shallots and garlic in a bowl, and mix well. Spread the seasoning in the duck's cavity only (make sure you spread it around well). Do not rub the mixture over the outer skin.

5. Preheat oven to 190°C (roast mode). Place the duck on a wire rack, with a tray underneath to catch any oil drippings. Cook for 55-60 mins until the skin is brown and crispy. Do remember to turn the duck around half way through for even browning of the skin.

6. Once ready, remove from oven and pour the gravy out from the duck cavity. Try not to get it onto the skin as it will make the skin lose its crispiness.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then chop into bite-size pieces using a meat cleaver. Serve with white rice, oiled rice or noodles and sliced cucumbers.

7. To make oiled rice, simply cook as you would normal white rice but replace water with chicken stock and add in 2 tbsp of shallot oil. The rice will have a lovely fragrance once ready.

During CNY, ducks are often served as it symbolises fertility

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*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's FB page on 15 February 2014.


  1. Wow, you done it and I believe everyone would be giving you not one but two thumbs up. I got to try this one day though I have bookmarked this ever since Sonia has posted this delicious duckling.

  2. I saw Sonia's post and now yours. Great...this my favourite.

  3. omg! this is absolutely lovely! gorgeous... i'm just lost for words... i can never do this

    1. Hi Victoria, it's really not tht difficult. I think some of your bakes are even more challenging... so you can definitely do this! :D

  4. Slurpsssss!!!! I love duck! But I think I will just have to go eat in the shop - my missus doesn't touch the meat. Sobsssss!!!!

  5. Wow Yen! Well done. This is far too challenging for me.
    Interesting to see duck sunbathing :D

  6. Your roasted duck turn out very nice! Sure happy seeing family enjoy it.

  7. I'm not a fan of duck meat but this looks good here.

  8. heheh, great pic of the sunbathing duck! and the final result looks meaty and tasty! :D

  9. LOL i like the photo in which you poked the duck using a Moet and Chandon champagne bottle xD

  10. I must try this! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wow this looks good. Looking forward to your homemade chilli sauce recipe.

  12. LOl that's hilarious that it was sunbaking! Is the heat ok though with keeping it out? I've always dried my duck out in the fridge.

    1. I think it's fine - all the stalls here practice sun drying too. Just need to keep an eye on the insects or cats!

  13. Your roast duck sure looks good! Have been wanting to try this out for quite some time :)

  14. This looks so good! please send some over!

  15. I love roast duck a lot!!! I think this new year I ate three rounds of roast duck already! Hahaha.

  16. Fabulous, Yen! I have spotted this recipe when Sonia post it last time but I don't dare to try because of the same reason you mention in your post regarding the sun bathing. But after reading your post, I think I should give it a try!

  17. This is really good. Better than so many restaurants out there. Thumbs up!

  18. hey Yen, great job! I can never resist a good roast duck with crispy skin.

  19. Hi Yen,

    I really enjoy looking at how you sun bathing your duck..ahahha

    Must keep an eye in case got suspicious visitor to take away the duck.

  20. Yen, I couldn't help laughing at the sight of your sunbathing duck! But wow, it turned out so beautiful! I am still apprehensive or rather I find it inconvenient to hang the and "bathe" the poor duck.

  21. Yen, your roast duck looks so good and skin is well baked too, Thumbs up!
    I like the way that you dry the duck with bottle in the garden, hehe!.

  22. Yen , that is one GORGEOUS siu ab :D It really looks like the one we have here ! I remember your char siu and siu yuk and just sigh - yeah , it's me , the drama queen :P :D

    May the Year of the Horse bring you and your family good health , joy and prosperity ! Kung Hei Fat Choi !!!!

  23. Hi Yen,

    The picture showing the duck sun-bathing is so funny... Funny or not, you have made your crispy duck extremely well. Well done!!!


  24. super thanks for this recipe. I love roast duck. Just bought one yesterday, Maybe when I am confident, i will try my hand on roasting one

  25. Thanks for the mentioned. Well done, look like store bought ^_^.

  26. Hi Yen,
    Mouth-watering roasted duck! The ones selling outside is rather costly during CNY!
    We love roasted duck! Yours looks perfectly roasted!

  27. Wow looks good Yen, so professionally done!

  28. Yen, looking at your roast duck the other day on Facebook has made me salivating! This big fat roast duck didn't look like home-roast at all as it looked so seriously good & tasty, I imagine! So roast duck really no-fuss dish to make? I also thought that it takes a lot of work to do. Well done!

  29. I have a vertical roaster I would use that also is it possible to dry the duck in my apt. Without sun I live near wild animals at a park

    1. Hello, you can drying it under a fan or overnight in the fridge.


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