Peking Duck, Mandarin Pancakes & Dumplings


National Dish of China

China’s globally recognized national dish is the Peking duck. The dish traces its origin from the Yuan dynasty in Beijing, and is characterized by its thin, crispy skin.

Peking Duck is served with Chinese Pancakes called Mandarin Pancakes, Cucumber and Scallions sliced in sticks and Hoisin Sauce. The duck meat is cut into small pieces. 

When you cut the duck meat: Locate the sternum, make a cut near the sternum, then make a cut on the side of the duck. Next, cut sideways diagonally. 

When eating the Peking Duck you place a few sticks of cucumber and scallion on one pancake, put a couple pieces of the cut duck meat and add Hoisin sauce. Roll the pancake to a roll and eat. 

To make this dish took a lot of studying before starting. And the preparations, several days from start to finished meal. However for me the challenge is just as important as eating the finished result. Some would say don´t attempt to make it at home. I say the opposite, try!

Make Peking Duck:

You need 1 Peking Duck. Peking Ducks can be bought in Asien Markets. I got mine frozen in the Asien Market Store in Stockholm and defrosted it overnight in the refrigerator.

Instructions for preparing the duck:

If you have a pump at hand at home pump air underneath the skin through the neck cavity to separate the skin from the fat and the flesh. If you cannot find something to pump with you just have to skip this. Anyways doing this is for the purpose of helping to make the skin very crispy. Cut off the wings and the feet, remove the innards. Keep the hearts and gizzard.  I used it to make the stuffing of dumplings as a side dish. But you can make other dishes as well.

Wash the duck thoroughly. Wash the cavity a few times to remove any residue. Dry off the duck with papertowels. 

Shrink the skin: 

Boil 2 l water and pour over the duck to make the skin shrink. Pour with a sleeve around and all over. You can keep the duck in a strainer when doing this so the water will drain immediately. You will see the skin shrink and tighten when doing this.

Preparing the Glaze: 
Boil

  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 2 cups of honey
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of Maltose

If you cannot find Maltose mix 4 tablespoons of Corn Starch mixed with ½ cup of water and pour into the glaze. This will thicken the glaze and help the glaze to stick to the duck. Pour the hot glaze over the duck (half of it at first). Make sure it covers all parts of the ducks skin. Repeat after 20 minutes and use all the glaze.

Hang the duck with a wire, a hook or a string in a windy and cool place for 24 hours. If you can remove shelves and hang it in your refrigerator do this. Or like me I don´t have room for that so I hang it above the kitchen sink with a bowl underneath to gather juice or glaze that would spill. And I put a fan in front to blow on the duck for 24 hours. This is important to dry the duck and prepare it so it will get crispy skin.

Roasting:

After the duck has hang for 24 hours you are going to roast it. 

Put a pan with boiling water in the bottom of the oven. And lay the duck on a rack above. This way the juice and the fat from the duck will drip into the pan with water. And the moist from the water will also help to keep the ducks meat from drying out. The oven should have a temperature of 180 Celsius Degrees. Lay the duck on the side on the rack and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn it over on the other side and roast for another 20 minutes. This makes sure the skin will get evenly brown. Turn it on the back and roast for another 20 minutes and turn it on the breast side and roast for 20 minutes. 

When you see it is all evenly roasted and the skin crisp and you can loosen the leg easily it is finished. Turn the oven off and keep the duck inside for additional 15 minutes. 

This will allow the juice to reabsorb into the meat making the meat very juicy and tender. 

Mandarin pancakes: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually stir in boiling water until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Return dough to bowl and cover with a damp towel; let stand 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a snake. Cut in pieces and form balls a little smaller than tennis balls. This dough should make about 32 pancakes.  (16 double after rolling). Use a rolling pin to make the balls into small pancakes. Roll two pancakes at a time into flat round pancakes. With your fingertip brush the upper side of one pancake with sesame oil. Make sure it is all covered. Place the second pancake on top of the one with sesame oil and use the rolling pin to roll both together to make it a bigger and thinner pancake, about six inch circle (ca 15 cm). Do not press on the edges of the pancake. Cover with a damp towel and repeat process with remaining dough rounds.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add one pancake and cook, turning once, until lightly golden and dry, about 30 seconds per side. Remove from pan and let cool slightly; than insert a knife or something thin and sharp in the edge of the pancake to separate into 2 pancakes. Repeat process with remaining pancakes.  

Pancakes can be made ahead and wrapped with plastic wrap. Before serving heat them. To heat, unwrap pancakes and steam in a steamer basket set in a saucepan with 1 inch simmering water until warm. 

Peking Duck is served with Chinese Pancake called Mandarin Pancakes, Cucumber and Scallions sliced in sticks and Hoisin Sauce. The duck meat is cut into small pieces. 
When you cut the duck meat: Locate the sternum, make a cut near the sternum, then make a cut on the side of the duck. Next, cut  sideway diagonally. 

Then when eating the Peking Duck you place a few sticks of cucumber and scallion on one pancake, put a couple pieces of the cut duck meat and add hoisin sauce. Roll the pancake to a roll and eat.

Dumplings with the innards as filling

Steamed Dumplings
Dough for the dumplings:
  • 3 cups tapioca starch
  • 1 cup boiling water (add more if needed)
  • 1 tbs cold water

Mix the tapioca flour with the hot water and add the cold water. Work the dough until it is smooth like play dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Make the filling:

Finely cut or shred the Innards of the duck Scallions finely chopped1 Carrot shreddedGreens of your choice can be added and chopped finely½ tsp Pepper1 tsp Salt1 tbs OilPinch of GarlicMix the ingredients. Fry the filling in a frying pan before filling the dumplings.

To make the dumplings.

Divide the dough into small pieces like the size of a tennis ball. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough or work it into a flat round shape with your hands. Lay the filling in the middle and close the edges with your fingertips.Place the dumplings in a steamer. Put parchment paper underneath in the steamer basket. Steam for 5 minutes.

Usually in Chinese or Vietnamese Dumplings you add fish sauce and sugar as an ingredient, even shrimps. However since I served this with the Peking Duck I chose to not add it this time, but just used salt and pepper as spices and only the duck innards and no shrimps. This is really just a choice of mine to not mix too many different flavors. The dough could also be made with other types of flour. Using the tapioca flour comes from a recipt for Rose Dumplings that is a dish in Vietnam.

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