This imaginative Western adaptation of the Cantonese classic pressed duck dish was one of the most popular offerings in my uncle’s restaurant. The Chinese themselves prefer either a roast duck or Peking duck. Our American patrons loved this version because it is delicious, and also perhaps because, after preparation, although it is clearly duck, it does not require any skill in carving: convenience food, not fast food. And I am sure that an added appeal was that it was fried and had a crispy texture. The almonds and Chinese seasonings, of course, add a pleasing touch of the exotic.
Once the duck has been braised, it is boned, floured and then fried. It is quite aromatic and delicious in this version.
Cut the duck in half lengthways. Dry the halves thoroughly with kitchen paper. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large pot and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the duck halves and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover the pot and slowly braise the duck for 1 hour, or until it is tender.
Skim from the surface of the liquid the large amount of fat that will be left when the duck is cooked. Allow the duck to cool. Once the sauce has cooled, remove any lingering surface fat and reserve.
When the duck is quite cool, carefully remove all the bones, keeping the meat and skin intact. Place the duck halves between
Next set up a steamer, or put a rack into a wok or deep pan, and fill it with
When you are ready to serve the duck, heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Pour in the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, carefully lower in the duck halves, skin side down, and deep-fry until they are crispy. Remove and drain well on kitchen paper. Heat some of the reserved braising liquid and serve as a sauce with the duck.
Save the remaining liquid in the freezer for future braised dishes.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.