Chinese barbecued duck

Duck is notoriously fatty, but this method of cooking cuts down on the amount of fat you eat with the meat. For a deliciously healthy meal, start with a refreshing salad, then follow with the duck served with rice or noodles and stir–fried mixed vegetables.

Chinese barbecued duck


  • 1 duck, about 1.8 kg, without giblets
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons five–spice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • Gingered sugar snaps
  • 250 g sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • grated zest of ½ orange
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) canned bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. With poultry shears or a large knife, cut up one side of the duck's backbone, then cut out the backbone.
  2. Trim off as much fat as you can and cut off the flaps of skin.
  3. Place the duck, skin side up, on the work surface and flatten with your hand.
  4. Prick the duck all over, piercing through the skin and fat but not into the meat.
  5. Place the duck in a colander and pour boiling water over it twice to release the fat.
  6. Dry the duck with paper towel.
  7. Push 2 metal skewers diagonally through the duck to keep it flat during cooking.
  8. Combine the hoisin sauce, thyme and five–spice, and spread on the underside of the duck.
  9. Place it, skin side up, on a rack set over a roasting pan.
  10. Put the honey, soy sauce and 300 ml of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  11. Pour this over the duck, collecting all juices.
  12. Pour the mixture over the duck twice more, then leave the duck, on the rack, in a cool, draughty place for about 5 hours.
  13. Alternatively, leave it in front of a fan, or in a fan oven with just the fan turned on and no heat, for 2 hours.
  14. Reserve the honey–soy mixture.
  15. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  16. Pour 300 ml of water into the roasting pan.
  17. Roast the duck for 1 hour or until the skin is crisp and brown.
  18. Meanwhile, bring the honey and soy mixture to the boil and reduce by half.
  19. Set this syrup aside.
  20. About 10 minutes before the duck is ready, blanch the sugar snap peas in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain and refresh under cold water.
  21. Put the orange zest and juice, ginger and soy sauce in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  22. Add the sugar snaps and bamboo shoots and heat for 1–2 minutes.
  23. Stir in the sesame oil.
  24. Divide the duck into 4 portions and serve with the vegetables and the honey–soy syrup.

Serves 4
Preparation: 30 minutes, plus about 5 hours drying
Cooking: about 1hour



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