There is little debate that Peking Duck is a delicious dish. While being a Chinese dish/icon, it really seems to have a special place in the hearts of Brits. It is another one of those recipes that the more you delve into it, the more variety there is over which sauce (plum or hoisin) should be served with it and exactly how to prepare your duck. If you saw Heston Blumenthal’s efforts in “In search of Perfection” you may think eating out is the only option.
There was a restaurant that served excellent Peking Duck in Christchurch that we really liked but unfortunately it burnt down. The internet has loads of recipes for it even Jamie Oliver www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/duck-recipes/crispy-peking-duck-in-pancakes has one and there is a video recipe on www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-peking-duck
In my experience (not being a shooter) ducks are quite pricey in New Zealand. I was wondering if there was alternative way for a fun family treat, while not being a truly authentic version but easier to prepare. We already sell the premade pancakes and then I came across some roast duck seasoning. The ingredients are interesting as it
states no preservatives or MSG added however it does include as well as spices, sugar and salt some caramel colour and artificial flavour.
I decided to give it a go with some chicken, since this is a lot more readily available. I had some chicken pieces(thighs and wings) that I defrosted and in the morning I liberally coated them with the seasoning. I then left it in the fridge uncovered. (Which I think was also something Heston did with his duck). At dinner time I heated the oven to 190C and put my chicken pieces in the oven. At this stage they didn’t look very coloured.
While they were cooking, I had decided to make my own Mandarin pancakes. In the morning I had already made the dough – flour and boiling water and I had left it covered to rest. I rolled it out and cut out the pancakes. The idea is that you coat them with sesame oil (or any oil you have handy) and then put two pancakes together. Then you put these pancake sandwiches into a hot frypan (this was a dry hot pan – no oil). They don’t take long to cook and then I flipped them over in the pan to do the other side of the top pancake. Once cooked I lifted the pair out of the pan, separated them (which was very easy) and placed them in bag to keep them moist while I cooked the rest of the pancakes.
The chicken crisped and browned up nicely in the oven. Then we sliced it up and had it in the pancakes with spring onion and hoisin sauce. Sure it was different from your restaurant Peking Duck – for start being chicken, but it was still very tasty and all the elements were there, especially if I had remembered to buy a cucumber. It was not as time consuming but with the saving in time you do lose authenticity.
If you want a fun family meal that is similar to your Peking Duck experiences (even more so if you have a duck handy) then it is very enjoyable, which is definitely part of what food and cooking is all about.