Monday, May 30, 2011

Duck Breasts In Hoisin-Plum Sauce

Pan-fried to render the oil and finished in the oven to crisp the skin.

Duck breast with hoisin plum sauce.

Duck breast on pancakes, a la Peking Duck style.

Today's a public holiday, the Ka'amatan or Rice Harvest Festival. For lunch, I cooked duck breasts with hoisin-plum sauce. This was the second time I cooked duck breasts. It was only recently that I found duck breasts at Hong Seng, the cold storage mart in Damai. At about RM8/USD2.60 per piece, duck breasts are  much cheaper than beef or lamb. And easier to cook and fancier too.

The first time I cooked duck breasts, I pan-fried them until they were nearly done. The meat was slightly pink, moist and sweet. This time, I decided that frying four breasts in two batches just takes too long so I fried them until half-done (7 minutes each side) and finished them in the oven. However, I was distracted and the breasts were in the oven for a good 20 minutes instead of 7 minutes. Duck breasts, as you know, are best slightly underdone. Anyway, although the duck breasts were a slight disaster, my Peking duck pancakes were good--  they popped apart. That was great, because I've always had difficulty pulling the pancakes apart. Now I know that the reason my pancakes were always stuck together was because they were underdone. That, or maybe because they used to stick together because I've always used my finger to smear oil on the pancakes but this time I used a brush. Oh, and another good thing about today's cooking experiment was that I found that potatoes fried in duck fat is heavenly! I saw cans of duck fat in Europe and imagined that they were rather gross, but oil rendered from the duck breasts didn't smell ducky at all and somehow made better potatoes than even butter. Wow. I actually preferred the potatoes in duck oil to the duck.

Duck Breasts In Hoisin-Plum Sauce
One breast per person is good. Score the skin (for easier rendering of the fat) and pan-fry the breasts, skin-side down, two each time, without any oil in the pan. In no time, the breasts will be swimming in oil. Halfway through, after 7 minutes on each side in medium heat (I actually cooked the breasts on low heat but I think medium heat will render even more fat out and make the skin crispier), season the breasts with coarse salt and pepper (black or white or even Sichuan peps is good), pop the breasts into the pre-heated oven at 200 C for another 7 minutes or so. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly (mine were too thick). Spoon some sauce onto a plate, place duck slices over the sauce and serve. If serving with potatoes, boil the potatoes until just done, cut into smaller pieces and then fry in the rendered duck oil until golden. Season with salt and pepper.

For the sauce, just heat 1 spoon of hoisin sauce with 1/2 spoon of plum sauce for one breast.

Peking Duck Pancakes
1. Put 1 cup plain flour into a bowl and add 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir quickly with a pair of wooden chopsticks or fork, until small lumps form. After 30 seconds of cooling, gather dough into a ball and knead until smooth. If too sticky, add more flour and if too dry, add a little bit more water. Cover and let dough rest about 30 minutes.

2. Roll dough into a long cylindrical shape and break into even number of small pieces about twice the size of your thumb. Dust well with flour.

3. Take two pieces of dough, roll each into a ball and press to flatten into a disc/circle. Brush oil liberally (veg or sesame oil) on one disc and press the other piece on top, placing it slightly askew so that it'll be easier to see when you pull them apart. This is a very clever space-saving way of frying two pancakes at once, allowing more pancakes to be fried.

4. Roll (make sure not to press too hard or pancakes'll not pull apart easily) into a thin pancake and fry, without oil, in a non-stick pan until it turns slightly transparent on both sides, about 1 minute each side over low heat. Do not fry until golden or scorched. When cool, pull apart. Keep covered with a cloth as you work on the rest of the dough.



Laura said...

Hi Terri!
Hope you're fine!!
I love pancakes with duck!!!
I'd like to try this!!

Greetings to you and Yi!

LittleAsianGirl BigAppetite said...

I love duck..such a staple in asian cuisines

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i love duck too but unfortunately for some funny reason in australia, its aud8 a piece compared to rm8 and at aud8 i rather resort to chicken or a piece of steak.

bh said...

wow! thanks for the DIY peking duck pancake receipe :)

terri@adailyobsession said...

laura: how are you and your plans on your new job?

lagba: yes, duck's yum. goose is even better!

joe: you can't conver the currency bc yu are making oz $!

bh: make it soon?

Laura said...

Hi Terri!!!
I'm fine. I'm sending my Curricula and Portfolio!! I didn't hear anything positive for now, hope someone will call me soon!! How is Yi?


TeaLady said...

Oh! My! THIS looks fabulous!!

OkiHwn said...

Looks delicious - gotta try this!

Greg Wee said...

This looks so good!!!! i have to keep this recipe/s. the pancakes..i always wonder how to do good ones. thanks for sharing.

BTW i meant to comment on your posts on kuching..but just did not manage. Thank you for your kind comments on Nee's and i am sure my business will be better after your posts. i was really blushing when you published those pictures and writings. to have the sharp tongued blogger like you commenting, i am floating liau heheheee...

the lunch guy said...

looks good, i will have to try your recipe for pancakes as i have never had success with them before.

pix are great as per your usual self.

rendered duck fat and also lamb fat are tops for potatoes and also when pan frying other meats.

when i was working in the restaurants and i would roast huge pans of ducks or lamb legs and then i would pour off the rendered fat and reserve it for pan frying.

potatoes, onions and peppers are one great dish but i also got into the habit of frying chicken in duck fat, and pork in lamb fat. it adds a flavor that can not be matched by anything else.

whole garlic cloves slow-fried in duck fat are also great to use as a spread on baguettes. or tossed with green beans (instead of bacon).

terri@adailyobsession said...

laura: yi's very very very happy in sh and loves her job. the projects are big and exciting and her team mates are great. expat life in sh is fun. she travels whenever there's a holiday. why don't you apply for a job in sh? they are really expanding and looking for ppl. write to yi, she'll tell you.

tealady: tq:))

oki: go for it!

gregwee: i bet you'll take the recipe n make better pancakes than i do:)

lunchguy:wow, tt sounds awesome. garlic in duck fat. will do tt!

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