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Five spice crispy duck with sticky plums

Got a craving for Chinese food but wish to gourmet it up a notch? This deliciously flavoured crispy duck is begging to be shared with hungry friends. Our version, made with a beautiful crispy five-spice exterior and chilli-soy, sticky-glazed plums, is one we hope you’ll make plans to stay in for.


For the duck
1 whole duck
1 Tbsp salt, to rub
2 Tbsp Chinese five spice
½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
125ml chicken stock
For the plum sauce
400g fresh plums, halved, stoned and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of five spice
½ tsp chilli powder
2 Tbsp soy sauce
125ml chicken or veg stock
For the homemade five spice mix
2 star anise pieces
2  whole cinnamon quills
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns


1. First, if you’re not using store-bought five-spice mix, you’ll need to make your mix. Toast the anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and peppercorns for a few minutes, until fragrant.
2. Pour all the spices into a spice or coffee grinder or pestle and mortar, and blend to form a powder.
3. Next rub the duck with salt, five-spice and peppercorns inside as well as outside of the cavity. Allow the duck to stand in the fridge for anything from 30 mins to 3 hours (the longer you leave it, the deeper the flavour infusion will be – the salt also tenderises the duck meat so more time is good but 30 minutes yields a good outcome).
4. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
5. Now place the bird on a roasting tray and rub the spices into the meat once again, then pop in the oven and cook for 1.5 hours. When it’s done, remove from the oven and add the chicken stock to the pan. Return to the oven for another 30–40 minutes.
6. Now to get started on your plum sauce, place the plums in a saucepan with the sugar, five spice, chilli powder, soy sauce and stock (your choice of chicken or veg).
7. Cook for 10–15 minutes until soft and stewed.

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