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  Cooking Duck~ Chinese Style
  Category: Oriental
  Author: The Savvybearcat
  Date: 1/1/2007
  Hits: 629
Stephen Ceideburg
1 each Duck
intimidating to home cooks. Unlike chicken, there's a layer of fat
that can cause problems. When duck is simply roasted, it often cooks
unevenly, leaving a lot of excess fat. In addition, much of the
potentially delicious skin is discarded. Chinese cooks slove these
problems by applying two or more cooking methods to melt away most of
the fat while enchancing the flavor of the meat. As a bonus, this
technique can produce duck skin that is succulently crisp. For
example, a duck may be seasoned and hung overnight in a cool, airy
place, then steamed, perhaps smoked, and finally fried to a golden
brown. Or, a duck may be browned over high heat in a wok full of oil
(which melts away some of the fat), drained, and finally simmered in
a wine/soy/rock sugar sauce, which is reduced at the end of the
cooking time to a syrupy glaze. Sometimes just the skin is stuffed
with boned duck meat, which has been mixed with glutinous rice or
barley, mushrooms, Chinese dates, lotus seeds and ham; then the whole
thing is steamed. The famous Peking Duck, which many rank as one of
the world's greatest dishes, begins by easing the skin away from the
meat then pumping in air so the whole duck inflats like a balloon.
The duck then is scalded in a honey-vinegar mixture and hung
overnight to dry before being cooked. This dish is not a good choice
for the home cook because the duck is best roasted suspended in a
special clay-lined oven. The lacquered-looking ducks that hang in
Chinese delicatessens, somethimes mistakenly thought to be Peking
ducks, actually are Cantonese roast ducks. After basting the skins
and hanging the ducks overnight, they are roasted to golden brown
perfection ~- a sauce of five-spices, star anise, wine and garlic
simmering in their cavities. For not much more than the price of an
uncooked duck, these, by the half or whole, make excellent take-out
food. The method that follows for making Sichauan Crispy Skin Duck is
typical of Chinese duck cookery. It requires a few steps over a
couple of days, and two cooking procedures, but it's not difficult -
although frying a whole duck in a wok full of oil may be a new
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