Peking duck

Do you like Chinese food?! Before I moved to London and encountered real Chinese, I was not a fan. Chinese food in Sweden is not the same at all. As it is cheap and instead of other dodgy take aways it is basically anything covered in batter, deep-fried and served with sweet and sour sauce. That’s miles away from soft dumplings, the lovely turnip cake, succulent ribs or Peking duck.

Peking duck or crispy and aromatic duck, as it is also called is exactly that; duck with crispy skin and soft tender meat, seasoned with five spice, a certainly aromatic spice blend.

When I was cooking this at home, I thought I had five spice in my cupboard, but no. But after googling the spice blend I realised I had all the ingredients at home and with the pestle and mortar it took me only a minute to mix the spices together.

At first I rinsed the duck and placed it in a colander. I poured the water from a recently boiled kettle over it and let it drain. I then placed the bird on a wire rack in a large roasting tin, covered with tin foil in the bottom and placed it in the oven for about 40 minutes on a low temperature to crisp up the skin. I then brushed the duck lightly with olive oil and rubbed it with the spices. Back into the oven on a higher temperature and after an hour and 15 minutes it was ready. Just like with pulled pork, you pull the meat off the bone with forks serving it with the crispy skin.

The complusory condiments are plum sauce (hoisin sauce), sticks of cucumber and spring onions and chinese pancakes.

As usual I had ordered my food from Waitrose but they failed to deliver my pancakes. After a tour around the local shops I realised I had to go to China town to find them. It was certainly a pleasure to walk around a large Chinese food shop and of course I ended up buying more than what I intended.

It was a lot easier to cook the peking duck than I expected. I found inspiration from fellow food blogger Hanna, and actually Jamie Oliver, but still cooked it my own way. Hanna’s approach to crispy skin was certainly more hard core than mine, but both methods worked. 🙂

Peking duck, serves 2-4 portioner

1 duck

water from a recently boiled kettle

olive oil


bought five spice blend or your own mix (2 star anise, 1 part sechuan pepper, 1 part fennel and slightly less of cinnamon and clobes. I also added some freshly grated nutmeg. Blend together in a pestle and mortar. )


1 cucumber

1-2 bunches spring onion/ salad onion

hoisin sauce

Chinese pancakes

Rinse the duck and place in a colander. Pour a recently boiled kettle over the bird, turn so all of the bird gets in contact with the water. Drain for a minute or two. Take a large roasting tray, cover the bottom with tin foil. Place a wire rack on top and place the bird on it. Place in 120 C oven for 40 minutes. Take the roasting tray out of the oven and brush the bird all over with olive oil. Add salt and five spice. Turn the temperature up to 175C and put the duck in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn occasionally so the bird crisps up all over.  You want the duck to have crispy golden brwn skin and the juices to be clear.

Leave to rest for a few minutes, then pull the skin and meat off the bone using two forks. Serve with the accompaniements and steamed pancakes.

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1 Response to Peking duck

  1. Wow, what a great job you did Hanna! I’ve never made Peking Duck myself, only eaten it (in copious amounts :P).

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