‘Red braising’ is a Chinese technique that gives colour to meats. In this case, the duck is braised in Shaoxing wine, giving it an aromatic and medicinal scent; it is then left to dry out so when fried, the skin is crispy heaven. You will need to start this recipe two days ahead, but each step has minimal work, and you’ll create the most fantastic, delicious dish.
Two days ahead:
Heat a large pot of water till boiling and carefully immerse the duck completely in the water for 1-2 mins. Handle the duck carefully so the skin is not torn at all.
Carefully remove the duck and set aside. Discard the water.
Clean the pot and add the Shaoxing, soy sauce, ginger and spring onions, aromatics and 5 litres of cold water.
Bring to a boil then add the duck, weighing it down so it is totally submerged, and just bring back to the boil.
Remove pot from the heat and set aside until totally cool. Remember this is simply to prepare the duck and not cook it through.
Remove the duck and pat dry, discarding the braising liquor.
Place on a plate in the fridge for at least 2 days, uncovered, to dry the skin out.
On the day: make the pickles
Using a julienne peeler or a spiral peeler, peel all the vegetables except the bok choy into thin strips.
Place all in a pot of boiling water and blanch for 1-2 mins or until just tender but still having bite. Drain well. Blanch the bok choy very quickly and rinse in cold water immediately. Set aside.
Make the pickling liquid by mixing the vinegar with the sugar, salt and chilli in a jar with a screw top lid; shake well.
To keep their colour, we suggest only adding the vegetables to the pickling liquid an hour before serving, but you can sit the pickles in the liquid for 2 or more days, just be aware they will pick up the colour of the beetroot.
Wash and cook the red rice submerged in 3 cm cold water, covered. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low and cook for 35 mins.
Once cooked, remove from the heat but leave covered.
To cook the duck:
Carefully joint the duck, removing the leg and thigh portion in one piece, the breast and wings, also.
Heat oil in a large wok or pot to 180C, being careful not to fill too much as it will overflow when the duck is added.
Add the duck in small batches to the oil, skin side down and cook until the skin is well crisped, it is golden brown and cooked through (8-10 mins depending on which portion and thickness of piece), being careful of the hot oil that may spit.
Drain well on absorbent kitchen paper and, when cool enough to handle, chop into pieces to serve.
Dress all the vegetables well, mixing them in a large bowl.
Lay the rice out onto a large platter and top with the vegetables then the duck. Garnish with the chopped coriander and set on the table with plenty of napkins for fingers.
For the duck:
1 whole duck
500 mls Shaoxing wine
200 mls Lee Kum Kee dark soy sauce
3-centimetre piece fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon Farro whole fennel seeds
2 Farro star anise
2 spring onions, coarsely chopped
For the winter pickles and rice:
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 beetroots, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1 cucumber, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
1 bunch bok choy, trimmed and cut into thin long strips
300 grams red rice
1 spring onion, trimmed and sliced finely
Handful fresh coriander, well washed and roughly chopped