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Wild Ginger Fragrant Duck


This wonderful duck recipe came from a great restaurant in Seattle. It's a two-day process with Day One preparing the marinade (probably better described as a rub) and applying to the duck and refigerating overnight.

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  • Marinade:
  • 2-1/2 tablsepoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 t ablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 5-pound duckling, washed and patted dry
  • Other ingredients:
  • 2 whole green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root, sliced and gently crushed
  • 5 - 7 cups peanut oil
  • Plum sauce
  • Equipment:
  • 14 -inch wok with lid
  • 9 -inch glass pie plate
  • 10 -inch heavy frying pan
  • Food processor, spice mill or blender
  • One pair disposable chopsticks or steamer rack



Step 1

Roast peppercorns in a dry frying pan over moderate heat until aromatic and they just begin to smoke. Do not burn. Put peppercorns in a blender or processor (or spice mill) for 90 seconds. Sieve to remove peppercorn husks, the duck will be gritty if you don’t. Roast salt in a dry pan over moderate heat until light brown. Mix together the salt, peppercorns and five-spice powder. Reserve 2 tablespoons to serve with the finished duck. Rinse duck and pat dry with paper towels. Rub spices inside and out. Refrigerate overnight.

To steam the duck:

2 whole green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 inches fresh ginger root, sliced and gently crushed

Put onions and ginger in cavity of the duck. Place the duck in a 9-inch glass pie plate. Fill a 14-inch wok with water, approximately 3 inches deep. Place a pair of chopsticks in an X pattern in the wok, set the pie plate on top, and cover with lid. Steam over high heat for 60 minutes. Check water level every 10 - 15 minutes.

At the end of the steaming time, the duck is fragile and must be handled with care. Use a large fork to pick up the duck from inside the cavity, letting all juices drip into the pie plate; discard the juices (or save for a great gravy). Air-dry the duck for two to four hours. The duck will firm up and be easier to handle.

To deep-fry the duck:

Place 5 to 7 cups of peanut or corn oil (peanut tastes better) in the wok and heat to 375 degrees (or until it just begins to smoke).

Gently slip the duck into the oil, being careful as spattering can occur. If the duck is not completely submerged, turn it over after 3 or 5 minutes and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. When the skin is golden brown, remove duck from oil and place on paper towels to blot excess oil.

When the duck is just cool enough to handle, use a very sharp knife or cleaver to chop it in half on the long axis. Each half can then be chopped crosswise into six pieces. Serve with sweet plum sauce.

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