Peking Duck

Peking Duck-017

Peking duck is one of those famous and alluring dishes that you hear a lot about but have never actually tried… mostly because not many places offer it and even fewer places make it well. When Nathan mentioned wanting to make this Beijing delicacy I assumed he had tried it and it wasn’t until we were starting on the recipe that we realized neither of us knew exactly how it’s supposed to taste. Well, we’re pretty sure it’s supposed to taste like this…super flavorful skin and tender meat folded into a chinese pancake and topped with plum sauce, scallions, cucumber, and a zesty hoisin sauce. You’ll definitely need to venture to your Asian market for the duck and a few other ingredients…the pancakes can be store bought but we made our own since I couldn’t find them at our market. If this is a dish you’ve been wanting to try don’t be afraid to make it home…you’ll understand why it’s been around since the Imperial era!

Peking Duck-033 Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Val De Salis Viognier
Rating: 6.5 out of 10.0

This wine was…serviceable. It tasted very much like I imagine an everyday French white table wine would taste. The problem is that it didn’t have anything that made it stand out or distinctive…no flavors really presented themselves and it was very neutral. However, with the duck it was pretty good and was one of those wines that accompanies without adding or subtracting a whole lot from the dish. I wouldn’t recommend it but it got the job done!

Peking Duck-034 Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Abbey Ale Dubbel Ale, Brewery Ommegang
Rating: 8.75 out of 10.0

I have always liked Ommegang’s beers and their Abbey Ale is no exception. This dubbel style ale starts with rich aromas of dark fruits, sweet malts, and spices. This is followed up by similar tastes of rich malt and grain flavors with spicy notes of licorice and plums. The carbonation helps the beer to end with a sharp crisp finish. All these flavors work perfectly with the chinese 5 spice and honey glaze on the duck and the tangy carbonation helps to wash everything down.

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Peking Duck:

Adapted from this recipe


For the duck:
One 5 to 6-pound whole duck
Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
6 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
6 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
12 Chinese/Mandarin-style pancakes,recipe follows
3 scallions, sliced into long thin strips, for garnish


For the duck: Prick the duck all over with a small knife or fork. Carefully pour hot water over the duck to rinse. Discard the hot water. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and dry all over by patting it with paper towels. Sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper and leave it in the roasting pan until ready to cook.

In a small bowl, mix together the honey, 6 tablespoons water, five-spice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Brush the duck all over, inside and out. Let dry for about 10 minutes and then brush again. Repeat this process until you have used all but 4 to 5 tablespoons of the glaze (reserve this glaze). Ideally, let the glaze marinate on the duck overnight, leaving it uncovered in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the duck in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Flip the duck over, baste with the reserved glaze and cook until the skin is crisp and golden brown, another 45 minutes. Flip the duck again, baste one more time and then return duck to the oven for 30 minutes. When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and let rest while you make your sauce.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and set aside. Next, heat a pan or wok over medium heat and add the hoisin, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce. When the sauce starts to bubble slightly, add the cornstarch mixture and stir well to thicken. Set aside and let cool.

Carve and slice some duck. Place a teaspoon of the sauce in the center of each pancake, add a couple slices of duck, garnish with the plum sauce, scallions, and cucumbers and serve immediately.

Chinese/Mandarin Pancakes:

From this recipe
Makes 12 pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup sesame oil


Combine flour and boiling water in medium bowl and stir with wooden spoon until shaggy dough forms. Turn out on floured countertop and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cut dough into 12 even pieces about 1 tablespoon each. Cover with damp towel.

On floured surface, roll one piece of dough into three-inch circle. Repeat with second ball. Using pastry brush, coat top of first ball with thin film of sesame oil. Place second ball on top of first. Roll balls together into 8 to 10-inch circle (the thinner the better). Preheat heavy-bottomed 12-inch cast iron or non-stick griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Place pancakes on griddle and cook until lightly browned in spots on first side, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat on second sides, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to plate lined with clean kitchen towel and carefully peel pancakes apart. Fold towel over cooked pancakes to keep warm and repeat with remaining dough balls.

Plum Sauce

From this recipe


4 plums, pitted and chopped
2.5 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch Chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon chilli powder
juice of ½ a lemon


Place your plums into a pan with sugar, the five-spice, soy sauce, half a teaspoon of chilli powder, a splash of water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer until you get a nice shiny pulp. Put the sauce to one side to cool before serving it, and taste to check the seasoning.

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3 Responses to Peking Duck

  1. Ryan says:

    Pics look great! How did the skin turn out? I’ve tried making Peking duck a handful of times and can never get the skin to turn out crispy like at the restaurants.

    • Nathan says:

      We couldn’t get the skin quite as crispy as we would have liked either… We even turned down the temp on the oven and cooked for longer but certain parts of the bird were still in danger of getting burned. We will have to do more research next time we make this to see if we can figure out a better way.

  2. Ryan says:

    I tried this method:

    I even did the hanging and fan drying. The flavor was there, but still couldn’t get the crispy skin!

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