All The Chinese You Need To Know

Chinese New Year - Fine Feasts and Far Flung Travels to the Far East (part 1 of 2)

Feb 15 2015

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, starts on 19th February and lasts for around 23 days, ending on the 15th day of the following month.

Celebrations start on the ever of Chinese New Year with a reunion dinner when family members get together to share a good meal. The reunion dinner is often celebrated at home but in recent years, more and more families head out to celebrate in a good, local restaurant. When the clock strikes twelve, firecrackers and fireworks are set off to mark the official start of Chinese New Year.

New Year Feasts
Crispy duck is one of the most popular and irresistible Chinese dishes - you'll find it on the menu of almost every Chinese restaurant, but it's surprisingly easy to make at home. If you only cook one celebration dish this Chinese New Year then make it this one.

Crispy Aromatic Duck with Pancakes
(Makes enough for 30 pancakes)

For the Duck: For the Pancakes:
1 duck weighing approx 2kg
1 heaped tbsp 5 spice powder
1 tbsp rock salt
1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns (place in bag and crushed with rolling pin)
2 slices root ginger

To Serve:
Wing Yip Hoisin Sauce
Wing Yip Plum Sauce
spring onions (shredded)
cucumber (finely sliced lengthways)
330g plain flour
110ml boiling water
75ml cold water
1 tsp Wing Yip Sesame Oil
Flour for rolling out
1. Mix 5 spice powder, salt and szechuan peppercorns together, rub duck inside and out with the mixture.
2. Place ginger in cavity, clingfilm and leave overnight.
3. Prepare steamer, remove clingfilm and place duck in the steamer on a heat resistant plate.
4. Steam for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours, ensuring steamer does not run dry.
5. Remove, drain away any liquid and allow the duck to cool completely.
6. Brush the duck with sesame oil, place on a roasting rack and finish cooking a hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
7. Alternatively, deep fry in hot oil, cutting into quarters for easier handling, until duck is crispy (approximately 10 minutes).
8. Drain well and shred with two forks.
(This recipe makes roughly 30 pancakes. )
1. Add boiling water to the flour and mix well, then add the cold water.
2. Knead well until dough is smooth, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
3. On a lightly floured board divide dough into 2 pieces and roll each piece into 35cm long and 5 cm round.
4. Cut these into 2cm pieces, lay these out with cut side up and flatten with the heel of your hand.
5. Brush surface of dough with sesame oil and lay second pancake on top of oiled surface, then roll both layers to about 12cm.
6. Heat a non stick pan on medium heat, cook pancake on side one for about 20 seconds (until it starts to bubble), flip over and cook second side for about 10 seconds.
7. Remove from pan, quickly and carefully separate the rounds.
8. Stack and cover with a dry towel to keep warm.

Freeze unused pancakes.

To heat, place in a steamer for a few minutes or in a microwave for 30 seconds.

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