What better than a luxurious gourmet meal to welcome the chinese Year of the dragon?
We have decided to start the year with a blast by treating ourselves to one of the most exquisite prepared dinner here at the Summer Palace elegant and cozy Chinese restaurant.
A masterly Peking Duck, a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, now considered one of China's national foods and a Giant Grouper, the largest bony fish, known as " the King go Groupers", a wealthy men distraction by it's fresh succulent flesh.
Below a few interesting aspects about these two traditional masterpieces Chinese cuisine and a step-by-step recipe of the Peking Duck in case you can't go to Beijing at this time and bravely consider the option to make it at home.
Peking Duck :
The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, scallion, and housing sauce or sweet bean sauce.
The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names. We have chosen to experience it at the Aman at the Summer Palace Chinese restaurant in Beijing where I have asked the chef to take all his time and explain in details the procedure.
The Giant Grouper
The most attractive feature of the giant grouper is its thik collagen-rich skin that when cooked becomes so smooth and chewy, you may feel you are eating fish maw. Different parts are prepared in different ways. The dish I have picked is a mouthwatering steamed with vegetables.
Recepe Peking Duck:
- 1 (5 lb) duck
- 2 tablespoons maltose or 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 10 scallions
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Chinese pancakes
Cut off duck wings at second joint, remove excess fat and skin, rinse and dry well.
Insert chopstick thru neck opening and force along the wing bone under the skin until it protrudes slightly at the second joint.
Push other end along other wing so that you end up with a duck that has its arms straight out like a crucifix.
Tie a string on to the middle so you can hold the duck and hang it up.
Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a wok.
Add maltose or honey and stir to dissolve.
Add sherry and vinegar.
Make a slurry out of the cornstarch and add to wok.
When liquid returns to a boil, dip the duck into liquid and spoon liquid over duck.
Repeat until duck is thoroughly moistened.
Repeat dunking once more.
Hang duck by string in a cool airy place with a bowl underneath to catch drips.
Leave for 4-6 hours until skin is dry and taught.
Put roasting pan on lower oven rack and fill with 2-3 inches of water.
Oil rack above pan.
Preheat oven to 350.
Remove chopstick and string.
Put duck on oiled rack in center of oven breast side up.
Cook 30 minutes.
Turn duck breast down for 45 minutes.
Turn breast up for 30 minutes or until skin is dark brown.
While duck is cooking make scallion brushes.
Trim roots,cut off most of green part, leaving a 3 inch piece.
Make several 1 inch lengthwise slits in each end of scallion, put in ice water for 20 minutes, drain and refrigerate.
Carve duck and separate meat and skin.
Mix hoisin with sesame oil and 1 tbl water.
To serve: use scallion brushes to wipe hoisin mixture on to pancakes, add duck skin and meat and scallion, fold one end over and roll up.