Chinese style duck like Peking or roast duck has always been a favourite of mine. Finding them in Hobart used to be rare and so our family had a little tradition of swinging by City BBQ in Melbourne’s China Town to grab a couple of roast ducks on the way to the airport to catch the return plane ride. Their home-coming would be celebrated immediately with a family dinner of this well-travelled delicious take away roast duck.
The traditional mandarin pancake is light and delicate. But let’s face it, it’s pretty cold in Hobart right now and I like the idea of a warmer, heavier wrap with a bit more meat in it to go with my beer so I’ve combined a couple of recipes with some modifications to try and recreate a Peking duck wrap I discovered at a travelling food van a while ago.
Note: both the duck and wraps need to be left overnight, so allow preparation time the day before.
2 Tbs of malt
1.5 Tbs of boiled water
I’ve always been in awe of the idea of cooking Peking duck, thinking it needed crazy amounts of culinary expertise and equipment, but this recipe from ‘The Food of China’1 has been modified to suit being cooked in a home kitchen and as I discovered is not so scary, just needs time to be prepared and rested before cooking.
Put a large pot of water big enough to hold your duck on to boil. Meanwhile, prepare the duck by rinsing, removing any fat from the cavity opening and neck then cutting the wing tips off and discarding the parsons nose. Plunge the duck into the pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes to tighten the skin. Remove and leave to drain and pat dry. Dissolve the malt with the 1.5 Tbs boiled water and brush the duck all over while the skin is still warm. Traditionally, this would need to be hung up in a dry cool and airy place, but at home, place it on a plate slightly elevated on a rack or in our case a couple of knives and leave uncovered in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
In a preheated oven at 200 degrees, place the duck breast side up elevated on a rack in a roasting tray. Cook without basting or turning for 1 ½ hours. Cover with foil if the skin looks like it is getting too dark, but be careful of the fat that can spit from the tray when hot. Carve the duck meat with skin into thin slices and put aside.
500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup water
2 tbs condensed milk
2 tbs olive oil spread, at room temperature
½ egg, lightly whisked
Additional olive oil spread
Additional vegetable oil
I tend to shy away from any form of dough that I can’t make in the food processor as I hate getting it all stuck to my hands and bench surface. This Roti Chanai recipe from Poh’s Kitchen, though sticky to start with works into a beautifully soft dough and I’ve added a few tips to lessen the ‘stick effect’ (chefs look away now).
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, making a well in the centre, poor in the wet (leaving the additional spread and oil). Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir the flour into the wet ingredients grabbing it from the outsides of the well until it is one sticky mixture. Lay a silicone mat on a flat surface and knead the dough (sorry, you’ll get your hands dirty here) until the stickiness subsides and the dough is lovely and soft. Roll it into a log and then divide into 10 equal pieces. Give each one another knead before rolling into a ball and covering with the additional olive oil spread. Lay the dough balls next to each other in a deep dish, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest at room temperature overnight.
Using your silicone mat again, lay one of the balls of dough on it and pressing down with the palm of your hand, flatten and smooth out the surface as much as possible of the dough moving your hand in a circular motion. The dough should be super thin and for these wraps roughly 30-40cm in diameter.
The original recipe forms a square roti, but the wraps need a rectangular shape so fold the dough in roughly a third of the way on either side of the circle with a smear of olive oil spread in between each layer, then fold in the ends to form a rectangle shape. Make sure they’re roughly 10cm wide, a good size to eat comfortably with one hand. On a high heat, pan fry the roti in a little hot vegetable oil until golden blisters appear on both sides. Once cooked, place the roti onto a chopping board and give it a gentle squish from around the edges so the roti bunches up and flakes. Repeat a few times and put aside ready to be served.
Cucumber finely sliced lengthways
Spring onion finely sliced lengthways
125ml hoisin sauce
While the roti is still warm, lay it flat and spread a fine dollop of hoisin over one side. Lay a few pieces of duck meat in the centre with the cucumber and spring onion. Gently roll the wrap up and lay on a bed of salad greens and garnish with edible flowers or in this case, grab a stunning salad mix from Provenance Growers at the Farmgate Market on Sundays.
1 The Food of China Hsiung and Simonds Murdoch Books 2001