Cantonese Roast Duck

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Roast duck has always been a popular dish in China, especially Peking roast duck, which is considered as royal dish and one of Chinese national foods. Unfortunately, Peking duck is much more expensive than ordinary duck. As a cheaper alternative for roast duck, one can serve ordinary duck, which is cooked with Cantonese style.

The difference between Cantonese and Peking roast duck is not only from the duck, but also the cooking style (we’ll get to Peking roast duck recipe in another article). This is the Cantonese-style roast duck recipe:


1 duck, 5 pounds weight, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon salt
1 scallion
3 slices fresh ginger
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Few sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish

Roast Duck (Illustration only, results may vary)


  • Thaw the duck, if frozen. Remove any excess fat, and rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the entire surface of the duck, inside and out, with the salt. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or, overnight.
  • Put the scallion in the cavity and lay the slices of ginger on top of the duck. Add at least 2 inches of water to a large flameproof roasting pan with a lid and put the pan on the stove. Place a large rack in the roasting pan and bring the water to a boil. Choose an oval casserole large enough to hold the duck and small enough to fit into the roasting pan. Place the duck in the casserole and then put the casserole on the rack. Cover and steam for 1 hour, checking the water level from time to time and adding more boiling water if necessary. Save the duck broth to use in soups or stir fry dishes. When done, remove the duck from the casserole and place it on a rack to dry.
  • Combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. With a pastry brush, paint the hot glaze over the surface of the duck. Allow duck to dry for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Roast the duck, breast side down, for 20 minutes. Turn over and continue to roast for 40 more minutes.
  • Transfer duck to a chopping board and allow to cool slightly. Using a cleaver, disjoint and cut the duck through the bone into bite size pieces. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve the Cantonese roast duck.

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