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Peking Duck with Plum Sauce

Introduction & method

Whenever I look at Peking duck recipes there's inevitably somebody messing about with bicycle pumps, steam, and many days of prep. You haven't got time for that, so here's a quick way using duck breast portions instead of a whole duck.

Peking Duck with Plum Sauce Recipe

Make the Plum Sauce

Wash your plums and cut them vertically from north to south. Grab one half in each hand and twist. One half will come away without the stone, the other half will contain it. Cut around the equator of the half with the stone and pull the quarters away. Put all the plum pieces into a small saucepan. Cut the tops off the chillies and remove the seeds. Crush the garlic and roughly chop the cloves. Peel the ginger with the back of a spoon, then grate or finely chop it. Put the chillies, garlic and ginger into the pan along with the sugar, vinegar and the water.
Put the pan on the stove, bring it to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. When the plums are mushy, mash the mixture with a stick blender, then press it through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon. You should end up with a thickish syrup. If it is too thin, reduce it a bit on high heat. If it is too thick, add a bit of water. Taste it and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Allow to cool completely.

Cook the Duck

Heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. I'm using some duck breast portions rather than a whole duck. Pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Score the skin with diagonal lines about 1cm (half an inch) apart. Rub sea salt and ground black pepper into the skin. Place the duck portions into a COLD pan, skin side down. Turn on the heat quite hot and cook the duck for about 5 minutes without moving it. At the end of this time the skin should be crispy and the fat should have rendered out. Keep that fat - it's brilliant for making roast potatoes. Turn the duck breasts over and cook for one minute more. Now it needs to go in the oven. If your pan doesn't have a plastic handle, you can put it in the oven, otherwise you'll need to transfer the meat to a tray - make sure it's been warming in the oven beforehand. Cook the duck for 6-8 minutes, depending on how thick it is. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Tent it in foil if your kitchen is cold.

Pancakes and Veggies

The usual veggies for Peking duck are cucumber batons and spring onions (scallions). Take half a cucumber, slice it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Chop the flesh into batons. 
Pancakes, buy them! Really, I've tried making my own - it's very difficult and just not worth it. Follow the manufacturers instructions - they'll probably need to be defrosted and then steamed for about 5 minutes.

To Serve

Thinly slice or shred the duck. It's usual for diners to assemble their own pancake rolls. Take a pancake, spread some plum sauce on half of it, add a layer of duck and 2-3 batons of cucumber and spring onion. Roll it up and eat.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Peking Duck with Plum Sauce on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 450 grams plum
 2 red birds eye chillies
 150 grams caster sugar
 100 ml white wine vinegar
 150 ml water
 2½ cms fresh ginger
  salt and pepper to taste
 250 grams duck breast portion, skin on
 10 of those little Peking duck pancakes
 half a cucumber
 3-4 spring onions/scallions

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 2 
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Resting time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 35 minutes.
Total time: 55 minutes.