Project: Aromatic Crispy Duck – Part 5: Steaming the Duck

Today we are going to steam our duck. It has been marinating in its spiced salt for two days and is ready to hit the steam bath. We’ve come quite a long way in this long project, so don’t give up on me now!

  1. Five Spice Powder (see Project: Aromatic Crispy Duck – Part 1: Five Spice Powder)
  2. Aromatic Salt and Spice Mix (see Project: Aromatic Crispy Duck – Part 2: Aromatic Salt and Spice Mix)
  3. Marinating the Duck (the link above will show you how to marinate the duck)
  4. Black Bean Paste (see Project: Aromatic Crispy Duck – Part 3: Black Bean Paste)
  5. Hoisin Sauce (see Hoisin Sauce)
  6. Steaming the Duck
  7. Pancakes & Garnishes
  8. Frying the Duck

Here is our starting point for today, our lovely pink, marinated duck. You are going to need a bit of equipment for this part, unless you are lucky enough to have a steamer oven. You need a big steamer basket with lid and a wok large enough to deal with that basket. I’m using a 16″/40cm wok and a 14″/36cm steamer basket, which fits my duck and bowl perfectly.

Remove the clingfilm from the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with aluminium foil. Heat 2-3 litres of water in a wok large enough to accommodate a bamboo steaming basket that can hold the duck in its dish. Once the water is boiling rapidly, set the steamer basket in the wok and cover. You will need to steam the duck for 2-3 hours.

The water will evaporate, so be sure to add water whenever necessary. Use boiling hot water, so as not to interrupt the steaming process. I find that adding one litre every hour is sufficient. Try and keep the bamboo basket closed as much as possible, so the duck steams evenly.

After 2 hours, turn off the heat and carefully remove the basket with the duck in it. Unwrap a corner of the dish and use a small knife to check the doneness of the duck. It should be very soft and tender. For this dish, it is better for the duck to be too soft, rather than too tough. Once the duck is tender, leave it to cool  wrapped in the foil inside the basket. This will take a very long time, possible 4-5 hours. Once the duck has cooled down sufficiently, unwrap the dish, pour the liquid into a bowl and reserve it. Now wrap the duck tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate it overnight or for up to two days.

The liquid you have collected will make a wonderful base for a soup or a stock, but remember that it is quite salty, so make the necessary adjustments.

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