As most of you probably know, yesterday was Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse. We decided we wanted to join in with some homemade Chinese food.
We both love crispy duck and pancakes. I have made pancakes before but they somehow had ended up being a bit fragile and weren’t so great, but I thought I would give it another go this year.
So last night we had crispy duck with pancakes and plum sauce, crispy chilli chicken and some vegetable noodles.
I started off with putting the oven onto 170C and while I waited for it to heat up I dried off the skin on my duck crown. Once it was dry I gave it a liberal covering of salt, pepper and Chinese five spice. Once the oven was up to temperature I whacked the duck in. I set my timer for half hour intervals so I could take it out and give it a good baste. Then after two hours I cranked the temperature up to 200C for a final 15 mins to give it some final crisp!
Meanwhile I quartered a dozen plums and popped them in a saucepan with 5 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, half a teaspoon of chilli powder and the same of Chinese five spice. Then a couple of tablespoons of water and got it up to the boil and left it to simmer away for about 45 mins until it was all broken down and looking jammy. Popped it into a little serving dish and left it to cool.
I made my pancake dough with 300g of plain flour (well mine was more like 60g of plain flour and then I ran out so the rest was strong white bread flour) and a tablespoon of sugar and 240ml of boiling water added slowly until it formed a dough. Then turned out onto a floured surface and kneaded until smooth. Then roll it out nice and thin. I used my largest circular cutter to cut out loads of circles until you have an even number. Then get some olive oil and sesame oil mixed together and with a pastry brush give one side of each circle a liberal brushing and then pair two together – oiled sides together – do this for all of them. Then take a joined pair and give them another roll out with the rolling pin until they are nice and thin and larger. I ensured the outsides were well floured and stacked up each rolled pair and covered the stack with clingfilm until I was ready. Once the duck is ready you can then fry the pancakes in a non-stick pan for a minute or so each side and they can then be peeled apart fairly easily ready for rolling up with duck. I thinly sliced some spring onion and cucumber to go with them. Tasty!
For my crispy chilli chicken I used some chicken thighs – off the bone, skinned and with any fat trimmed. I chopped them into bite sized morsels and seasoned well with salt and pepper. I made a batter out of one egg white and a few teaspoons of cornflour and whisked it up till light and frothy and poured it over the chicken and gave it a good mix to coat. I then deep fried them in some oil until golden and put to one side on some kitchen roll to absorb any extra oil.
In a wok I put some groundnut oil and quickly fried some matchsticks of fresh ginger root, sliced garlic and sliced chilli and then poured about half a bottle of sweet chilli sauce into the pan. I put a decent glug of light soy sauce in and added some pineapple chunks and the juice of half a lime. Once all mixed together and heated through I added the chicken into the pan to stir through and get nice and coated in the sauce. It was finished off with some raw spring onion and some fresh coriander leaf.
Then my noodles were nice and simple, thin egg noodles in boiling water for 3 mins. In a wok some groundnut oil, some slices of baby sweetcorn and mange tout and some carrot (I cut mine into little flower shapes with a cookie cutter to look pretty). I put a small sliced clove of garlic and a little bit of fresh ginger in too. Then added the noodles and some toasted sesame seeds and a little light soy sauce and sesame oil and a tiny bit of rice wine vinegar. Again just some raw spring onion popped on the top at the end.
It was all super scrummy. The duck was so very nice, the plum sauce was out of this world and it all was nicer than the takeaway! (Even if I do say so myself!) There was plenty left over for us to have duck pancakes for lunch today!
I went to the library today and picked up a Chinese cookery book to see if I can get some more ideas! Hope you enjoyed Chinese New Year too!