Thursday, May 30, 2019

Five Spice Roast Duck

As our society becomes increasingly affluent, we no longer need to wait for that special occasion to enjoy roast duck but to prepare and roast a whole duck at home is still considered intimidating to many. 

I remember when I was a boy, roast whole duck was considered lavish. Grandma would only buy it on special days and on those occasions, I would be the happiest person on earth especially when I got to eat one of the two prized drumsticks. 

That also reminds me of the childhood story of Hong Kong’s superstar comedian actor-director Stephen Chow who was brought up in a poor single-parent family. His mother had to take on 2 jobs to put food on the table for him and his two sisters. Being the only boy and youngest, his mother always insisted that he be given the best cut of meat available, followed by the two sisters which left little or nothing for herself. 

Although young, Stephen was a smart and filial boy. He came out with this great idea to be picky during dinners, chewing and spitting out food that he "disliked" so that his thrifty mother would pick up and ate the "unwanted" meat. There was once he even dropped the prized drumstick on the dusty floor to his mother's dismay. She was so disappointed and angry with Stephen that she picked up the cane and whipped him furiously. She only found out years later that her boy's action was not due to his lack of respect for food nor because he did not cherish food but his love for her.

This drumstick story and the values behind it have become interesting discussion topics during a few of our meals. So when the kids were planning for the coming Father's Day menu, I suggested that they roast a whole duck for me. 

Besides the family bonding time, I thought it would be nice for them to experience firsthand the amount of time and effort that goes into preparing a meal to reinforce the values of empathy, be grateful and respectful. It might sound intimidating but as long as they follow the specific steps, I was quite sure they could do it and hence learning the importance of following instructions.

Do not be intimidated by the total 9-10 hours needed in this recipe. The actual "active" preparation time you need is about 30 minutes and roasting time is an hour. Most of the time, the duck is either in the fridge, hung in the open airy area or on the barbecue grill. Yes I chose to use my gas barbecue grill to roast the duck. By utilising and selecting the burners to create an indirect cooking mode, the barbecue works like an outdoor fan-assisted oven. 

So come this Father's Day, instead of bringing the man to the restaurant, give your Dad (or the father of your kids) the gift of a full and satisfied stomach with this perfect five spice roast duck served with soft steamed bun.


1 whole duck
2 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil
4-5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger root (skinned and pound into paste)
1.5 tbsp fine sugar
2 tbsp Chinese wine
1.5 tbsp fermented bean sauce
1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp five-spice powder
250 ml water

6 tbsp maltose (or honey)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
250 ml water


Prepare the marinade

Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic and ginger paste until fragrant.

Add sugar, Chinese wine, fermented bean paste, oyster sauce and five-spice powder. Stir and mix well.

Add water and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until liquid reduced and marinade sauce thickened, about 2 minutes.

Put aside and cool.

Prepare the duck

Wash and clean the duck. Remove the wings and feet.  Pat dry.

Rub salt all over the duck. Place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove the duck from the refrigerator. Scoop and rub cooled marinade into the cavity of the duck and stitch it up with a skewer (cake tester is perfect).

Place the duck in a wok of boiling water. Using a ladle, pour boiling water all over to tighten the skin. This should take a few minutes, not to cook the duck.

Remove and pat dry. Hang duck in a cool, airy place and air dry for 6 hours. Place a tray/pan under the duck to hold any dripping liquid.

Mix all the ingredients for the glaze and brush it over the duck during the air drying duration, about 2-3 times.

Roast the duck

Preheat the barbecue for indirect cooking at 200C.

Place air-dried duck on a grilling rack and place whole rack on a baking tray.

Place the rack with the tray in the middle of the barbecue. Half-fill the tray with boiling water.

Roast the duck with the lid close for 1 hour, turning the duck over and brush the duck with the glaze every 15 minutes.

Increase the temperature to 250C for the last 15 minutes.

Remove duck from barbecue and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Serve the duck

Remove the skewer and let the marinade juice flow into a pan. Bring the pan to boil and thicken into sauce.

Carve duck into serving pieces and serve with steamed bun, cold Japanese cucumber sticks and the sauce.


  1. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning

  2. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning

  3. Awesome Receipe to do it at home. To make you even more beautiful, do a routine dental check up

  4. Your post made me think of my own days as a child when I would pretend not to like something bigger knew it was my father's favorite part of the meal. Growing up in a Korean culture taught me respect for my elders and a deep love that I cherish. Hopefully my children feel the same as I try to raise them the same way.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...