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Basic Steamed Deep-fried Duck

1 Duck; 4 to 5 pounds
Salt & pepper
Oil for deep-frying
Scallions


Wipe duck inside and out with a damp cloth. Rub liberally with salt and pepper. Let stand 1 hour.


Place bird in a deep, heatproof bowl and steam 1-1/2 to 2 hours by the bowl-in-a-pot method.


Drain duck and let cool. Wipe dry, then truss.


Heat oil to boiling. Using a wire basket or long-handled Chinese strainer, gently lower in duck and deep-fry, basting and turning, until golden. Drain on paper toweling.


Let duck cool slightly, then chop, bones and all, in bite-size pieces. Serve with scallion brushes, a plum or hoisin sauce dip, or any other dip for deep-fried duck (see recipes).


NOTE: The technique of double-frying can be used here. In step 4, deep-fry the duck 5 minutes, lift out; reheat the oil. Then return the bird and deep-fry again until crisp and golden.


VARIATIONS:


In Step 1, rub duck with any of the following mixtures:


a. 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon anise pepper and 1/8 teaspoon Five Spices


b. 2 tablespoons sherry, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar,
1/4 teaspoon red pepper


c. 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon brown bean sauce, mashed; and 1/2 teaspoon Five Spices


d. 1 to 2 scallion stalks and 3 or 4 slices fresh ginger root, both minced; 1 tablespoon Szechwan peppercorns, crushed; and 2 teaspoons salt


In Step 2, before steaming, add to bowl with duck 2 scallion stalks and 2 or 3 slices fresh ginger root.


In Step 3, before trussing duck, coat with a mixture of 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon soy sauce; or 3 tablespoons flour and 1 egg, lightly beaten.


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