Happy Chinese New Year!

We are now in the year of the Dragon according to the Chinese calendar. This is the most powerful of the Chinese signs, and symbolises strength and good fortune. Chinese New Year is a time of celebration and feasting. Our family is very fortunate to be hosting a Chinese student by the name of Jing Yuan Chun.  Chun has prepared a special celebration dish for us which her family usually eat on special occasions.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon

Chun says that she has never prepared this dish before but she has seen it being made. Like most Chinese families they will usually eat this meal in a restaurant, as Chinese households do not usually have an oven.

For dinner tonight we have our family, my mum and Jiang chao (kaka), Chun’s boyfriend all joining us for dinner so we have be prepared two ducks for the meal. Chun has been demonstrating the technique on the first duck; I have been diligently taking notes and preparing the second duck as per her instructions.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-2

Ingredients:

1 Duck

1 T/s salt

1 tsp Szechuan pepper (sweet)

3 star anise

½ t/s ground cinnamon

¾ ts ground ginger

1 green shallot sliced length ways

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup light soy sauce

1/3 cup Chinese rice wine

Basting Sauce:

¼ cup white vinegar

½ cup honey

Serving Suggestions:

5 potatoes sliced

Cucumber

Kechup Manis

Soft Burrito

Method:

Chinese Duck for New Year Year

Dry the duck with a paper towel. Rub salt all over the duck.

Chinese Duck for New Year Year-2

In a mortar a pestle, pound the star anise and szechuan pepper roughly, set aside.

Chinese Duck for New Year Year-3

Mix the soy sauce and rice wine in a bowl and add all the spices include the star anise mixture. Add the sliced shallot.

Chinese Duck for New Year Year-4

Place the duck in a bowl and pour the marinade over.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-3

Ensure all the duck is covered with the marinade.  Cover the duck with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turn the duck periodically.

Chinese Duck for New Year Year-5

Next day prior to cooking, remove the duck from the marinade. Dispose of the marinade and allow the duck to air dry.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-4

To make the basting liquid combine the honey and vinegar and allow to stand.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-5

Once the duck is completely dry baste the bird in the sauce.

Chinese Duck for Chinese Year

Ensure that all areas are completely covered in the sauce. Continue to sit the duck on the bench so that the basting liquid will dry.

Chinese Duck for Chinese Year-2

Once the basting liquid has dried on the duck wrap the drumstick and wings in foil to prevent burning.

Chinese Duck for Chinese New Year

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Slice the potato into ¾ cm thick rounds and place in a layer on a covered baking tray. Add the duck to the potato layer.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-6

Cook the duck for 1 hour. Half way through the cooking time remove the duck from the oven and repeat the basting process.  The duck must again be completely dry prior to entering the oven.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-7

Once the second 30 minutes cooking period has elapsed remove the duck and baste again using the same drying process. Increase the oven temperature to 220 degrees and cook for a further 15minutes to crisp the skin.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-8

I can’t tell you how amazing the kitchen smelled whilst the duck was cooking. The aroma was of a rich star anise and sweet honey sauce.

The duck was served with sliced crunchy cucumber from my garden a sweet soy sauce and potato which had been roasted with the duck.  These fillings combined with the duck in a warmed flat bread as a delicious rich sweet parcel.

Chinese New year, year of the Dragon-9

The duck itself had a sweet and salty crisp skin with the delicious after taste on Star Anise and Ginger.  The duck flesh was very moist, sweet and succulent. Chun explained that because duck is a sweet meat the accompaniments should always be sweet to compliment the flavour.

It was such an amazing meal, I am so grateful to Chun for sharing this feast with us and giving us the opportunity to learn more about the food she enjoys in China and how she celebrate the important days in  her culture.

I was surprised to learn that because Chun and her boyfriend were both born in the year of the Dragon that the coming year was supposed to be fraught with danger and obstacles which would need to be overcome. Chuns father is very concerned that she is out of the country for this inauspicious year. KaKa explained that the repeated year can be very difficult.

Australia Day

I am looking forward to sharing our Australia day with Chun and Kaka. Although China having a history which span over 5000 years old, kind of makes Australia look like an infant by comparison 🙂

So tell me readers do you join in celebrations from other cultures such as Bastille Day for the French, thanksgiving for the Americans or perhaps St Patrick’s Day?