Roast Duck

Home-made Roast Duck – Not Oily!

Roast duck is one of our favourite food. When in London, we have roast duck at least once a week.  I am delighted to be able to make roast duck at home. I must say I am quite pleased with my Roast Duck – the skin was crispy and had the right colour and the meat was flavoursome and juicy. The best part of making it at home is it is not oily. I removed all the fat before roasting, pour out the accumulated oil in the roasting tray mid-way through the roasting and skim off the oil from the gravy. It is definitely a healthier option.

I only used 1 teaspoon each of five spice powder, salt & black pepper to season the belly of the duck so was surprised how flavoursome the meat is. It could do perhaps with a little sesame oil and perhaps some ginger slices to add more aroma. The skin is bathed in hot water containing a mixture of honey and lemon juice. The duck is then “air dried” in the fridge overnight. That gave it the crispiness and the red hue.

I always thought it must be difficult to roast a duck without the requisite huge roasting oven that the Chinese restaurants use. But I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to roast a duck in the normal oven that we all have at home.


  • 1 duck
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


1. Prepare the duck for roasting – cut off the wings, bottom or tail and neck.

2. Fill a saucepan with sufficient water to cover the whole duck. Add honey and lemon and bring the water to a boil.

3. Dip the duck in the water and bathe the duck by scooping the water over the duck until the skin looks puffed up (takes 5-10 mins). When the water starts to boil again, turn off the heat and remove duck to a plate. Set aside to cool.

4. Mix the five spice powder, salt & black pepper. Scoop the spice mixture into the belly of the duck. Use a brush to fully coat the inside of the duck with the spice mixture.

5. Prop the duck on a rack in a plate for the water to drain out from the back.

6. Place duck in the fridge for the skin to air-dry, preferably overnight.
The next day, place the duck onto a rack in a roasting pan, with the breast facing up.

7. Roast the duck in the oven at 180°C (15-20 minutes for every 500 gm of duck). Add 1 cup of water to the roasting tray to catch the oil drips.
Mid-way through the roasting, pour away the accumulated oil in the roasting tray. Pour another cup of water into the roasting tray to make gravy.

8. At the end of the roasting time, the skin of the duck should be golden brown. If not, turn the temperature to 200°C and roast for another 5 mins.
Insert a small knife into the thickest part of the thigh. If water or juice (and not blood) oozes out, the duck is cooked. Alternatively, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The duck is cooked if the temperature reaches at least 75°C.

9. Pour the gravy accumulated in the roasting pan into a bowl. Skim off the oil before serving with the duck.

10. Cut up the Roast Duck and serve with the duck gravy, plum sauce and/or spicy chilli oil. Roast duck goes well with noodles or steamed rice.

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