My Grandma moved to England in the late 1950s and brought with her so many recipes for traditional Chinese home cooking. Visits to see her and Grandad always included food, and lots of it. A wonderful cook, there was always something going on in the tiny kitchen and its still difficult to work out how so much food came out of such a small space with only one person working in there!
I remember asking Grandma once for a recipe for the steamed chicken we were eating. She told me the ingredients and method and it seemed something was missing…and when asked I was told, “oh yes, some ginger as well”, and then the same question again, “oh yes, some soy” and so on. The recipes that I’ll bring you from my Grandma’s kitchen are therefore “directional” and you may need to use a little of your own judgement and experience in altering quantities, often to taste…that’s half the fun of cooking of course. And with a bit of practice I’m sure you’ll find them as delicious as my family always have!
To start with, I thought I’d share a recipe for roast duck – not crispy duck with pancakes but a whole roast duck, carved Chinese style. Traditional Chinese meals will tend to have roast meats, often duck or pork – do go ahead and try it – I’m sure you’ll be a convert.
1 duck (giblets removed)
2 spring onions chopped
Ginger – thumb sized piece chopped (no need to peel)
1 rasher streaky bacon (smoked or unsmoked) – chopped
2 star anise
For the marinade:
Soy sauce (2 tablespoons)
5 spice (teaspoon)
Hoisin sauce (tablespoon)
Red bean sauce (1 tablespoon optional)
Garlic (2 cloves crushed)
1. Rub the skin of the duck with salt.
2. Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the duck. Leave in the fridge overnight (or for as long as you can if you don’t have that time!). Get the duck out of the fridge an hour before you want to roast it.
3. Place the spring onion, ginger, bacon and star anise inside the duck cavity.
4. Roast the duck until cooked at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 – depending on the size of the duck should be between 1hr30mins and 2hr00mins – turn up to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for the last 15mins. Baste with juices periodically.
5. Rest for 15mins before carving. When carving the breast, try to take the whole breast off in a single piece following the breastbone to guide the knife. You can then cut pieces crossways to ensure that each part has some of the tasty skin!