Boned Duck with Plum Sauce

(Photo by roboppy/Flickr)

Serves 4-6.


1 x 2 kg/4 lb duck
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese wine
1 teaspoon five spice powder
oil for deep frying

Master sauce

375 ml/12 fl oz dark soy sauce
375 ml/12 fl oz water
125 ml/4 fl oz Chinese wine or dry sherry
3 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
6 slices fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
cold water to mix

Dipping sauce
3 tablespoons plum sauce
3 tablespoons chilli sauce
2 teaspoons ginger juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic


Chop tail off duck, wash and drain the bird and dry it with paper towels. Rub over with salt, soy sauce, wine and five-spice powder and leave for 30 minutes.

Combine ingredients for master sauce in a pan just large enough to hold the duck. If liked, the smaller spices (fennel seeds, Szechwan peppercorns and cloves) may be tied in a knot of muslin for easy removal. Bring to simmering point.

Heat oil in a wok for deep frying, and fry the duck until evenly browned all over, turning it carefully when done on one side. Drain duck from the oil (reserve oil for later use) and put it into the master sauce, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until duck is very tender. Lift out of sauce and drain in a colander until cool.

Combine flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and enough water to make a coating batter. Set aside while boning the duck.

With a sharp knife make a cut through the skin of the duck from neck downwards. Part the flesh to expose the breast bone, below the neck. Wiggle it out, spreading the skin and flesh away from the bones, and lift out the whole bony framework. Turn duck over and make slits in the legs and wings. Loosen the bones and twist them free at the joints. Remove thigh bones in the same way.

Cut duck in half lengthways and chop the now boneless duck across into strips about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. Dip each piece in batter before dropping into the hot oil and frying until golden brown. Do not fry too many pieces at a time or the heat of the oil will be diminished and an oily batter will result. Lift out on a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. When all the pieces are fried, arrange on a platter.

Prepare the sauce by combining all ingredients and dividing among individual sauce dishes. Serve with dipping sauce and steamed rice, or bread.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)