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DUCK COOKED the Chinese way can be roasted, braised, red-simmered, white-simmered, steamed or deep-fried. It can also be preserved by salting or drying (and eaten with congee), or cured and smoked (and used as a flavoring like smoked ham.
In northern China, duck is first inflated with air, then roasted to make its skin crisp and wonderful. In the South, it is filled with liquid seasonings before roasting to make it savory. The former is Peking Duck; the latter, Cantonese duck. The Cantonese version, available ready-cooked in Chinese grocery stores, can be stir-fried briefly with vegetables or made festive with a sweet-and-pungent sauce. It can also be eaten cold at picnics: The familiar pressed duck calls for a combination of cooking techniques: the bird is steamed, boned, pressed flat and deep-fried.
(Although there are special presses for this purpose, the Chinese usually press the duck by hand.)
TIPS ON COOKING DUCK: Always be sure the oil sacs above the tail are removed. If they aren't, cut a 1-½ inch slit at the back of the tail and remove them.
When a recipe calls for breast and leg meat, use the remainder of the bird (bones, neck, lower wings and lower legs) for soup or congee.
Use the same duck three ways: First roast the whole duck and serve its drumsticks and upper wings as one dish. Then stir-fry the breast meat with vegetables, or serve it cold with pineapple. Use the remainder for congee, as above. (The Chinese call this "three-in-one duck" and serve it either at the same meal or at separate meals.) Prepare braised, steamed or simmered duck a day ahead; then refrigerate it so that the fat will congeal and can be easily lifted off. Carve or cut up the duck (see "How-to Section") and reheat at the last moment in its own sauce.
Defrost frozen ducks completely before using them. Remove the large pieces of fat from the duck cavity and discard. Pour boiling water over the duck to cover and let stand 10 to 15 minutes (this will shrink the skin). Rinse duck in lukewarm water. If bird is to be roasted, dry well inside and out.
Test the duck to see if it's done by moving one of its legs up and down.
When the leg moves easily in its joint, the duck is ready.
From <The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook>, ISBN 0-517-65870-4. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .
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