03 Aug2007


We had some friends over for dinner last night. One of them was at our wedding many years ago, the other, a friend from Jakarta when we lived there in the early 1990’s. Our friend from Jakarta had since moved on to California then New York, and was on one of those whirlwind but monthly vacations home. It’s always nice to see folks “from way back when,” since it is the easiest way to relive an earlier part of your life… they didn’t get all the years in between and conversations take off from where one left off, despite the intervening years. I didn’t have much time to prepare dinner but this meal just shows what you can do with limited time and a little advance planning. The meal was a bit whacky, with a Filipino thread for the Balikbayan (homemade lechon kawali/bagnet with homemade acharra I had stocked in the fridge) and a Western thread for the other friend my wife spent time with in Europe… This is the second half of the meal… a simple roast duck and some oven roasted sweet potatoes.


I had intended to make a psuedo-Peking Duck, but the recipe needed several days to do the duck right and ensure that the skin was really crisp. The process involves drying out the skin, and that is best done by hanging the duck in a refrigerator for days. So instead I did a quick glaze of honey, sherry vinegar, five spice powder and ginger and basted the duck and stuck it in a low heat oven for 2 hours, increased the heat for the remaining 1.5 hours. Turn the duck over every hour or so. I didn’t watch it that closely and it caramelized just a bit too much (read: burned the skin), but it tasted really good. I also made a simple sauce of damson plum jam, duck broth and a touch of cornstarch. About 45 minutes before the duck came out of the oven, I threw in a dish of peeled and chopped kamote or sweet potatoes and a mixture of melted butter and muscovado sugar and let it bake until cooked. The combination of duck and sweet potatoes was a bit rich and slightly sweet, but it seemed to work, serving platter was wiped out. Two kids ate more duck than I thought they would…



  1. Maria Clara says:

    I’ve seen people using their bicycle tires pump — pump up the skin of the duck to dry it out before cooking. Anything that is glazed with sugar, honey and molasses burn easily even before the internal temperature of the meat reached the desirable doneness Lots of talking involved over roasted pato and kamote with all the years involved. Kamote has the tendency to propel unpleasant gas after enjoying them. The gas has to come out nothing could stop it from expulsion – a good thing all the Diners held up well and nothing discretionary happened! Having said that it sounds like a well-orchestrated dinner for both East and West theme.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 7:52 am


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  3. millety says:

    yes, a bicycle pump to separate the duck skin from the flesh, before air drying, and periodic bastings of hot water, i think, while the duck is hanging over the sink. this is one of the scenes i remember from my childhood, when my dad went crazy over peking duck and just had to learn it and do it himself. we must have eaten a flock of ducks during that experimentation phase, so that by the time he got it right, we were all sick and tired of eating duck. of course, later on, he had to go to beijing and he HAD to have you-know-what on his first meal there.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 8:10 am

  4. Jade186 says:

    The recipe seems alright to me; I would omit the sugar on the sweet potatoes, though. Green salad would be a good accompaniment, especially with rocket, for contrasting flavours.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 8:13 am

  5. meekerz says:

    Yum! Where do you buy duck? I’ve only see frozen “young duck” at the grocery, and quite smallish ones at Salcedo Market. I’ve been wanting to try to cook duck, but don’t know how to choose or tell. Hehe. Any tips in choosing duck? Thanks! :)

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:11 am

  6. kaoko says:

    Like Maria Clara mentioned, some people do pump the duck dry. I remember one Iron Chef episode where Ming Tsai did Peking Duck with a motorized air pump, all within the challenge duration.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:16 am

  7. Apicio says:

    I tried my hand once in cooking duck at home and although it turned out delicious the amount of grease it generated both on the pan, on the oven walls and my kitchen floor intimidated me from ever repeating the experiment.

    My pet family story is of a grand uncle who turned out to be a medical doctor as an adult who reputedly manifested his early curiosity about the mechanics of the human body by attempting to inflate a smaller brother with the tire pump that came with the first bicycle ever of the town.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:18 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Actually, I tried a speed version, which almost always doesn’t work in recipes… I dunked the whole duck in boiling water for 1 minute, dried it with paper towels then used my daughter’s blow drier for 5 minutes to speed dry the skin. Let it rest for a few minutes, then repeat the dunking and blow drying 3 times… it didn’t turn out as crispy as I thought it should… but it tasted pretty good…

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:46 am

  9. Joni says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny to gather people who know how to prepare peking duck, line them all up with the duck and whatever they need, and watch them all prepare it in various ways…

    What with MarketMan dunking his duck in hot water and blow-drying it with a pink hair dryer. Next to him is Ming Tsai with his motorized air pump. Other bloggers with their bicycle pumps. Or whatever they use to prepare peking duck. Even a refrigerator with the dude waiting it out. (whilst periodically basting it…errr I obviously don’t know how to prepare peking duck) Hahahahaha!

    If I had walked in on an event like that, I would probably think it’s some sort of Guinness book event. CRAZY. hahaha!

    Okay, I was just musing here. (crazy imagination) Time to grab a bite to eat…lunch time. :D hehehe!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 12:23 pm

  10. Joni says:

    Correction: What with MarketMan dunking his duck in boiling water…not hot water. hahaha

    Aug 3, 2007 | 12:24 pm

  11. Mila says:

    I think it was a MM post on roast duck that got me into a roast duck mode last year. I ended up roasting over 10 ducks for dinners, with varying rubs and gravies. For Meekerz, you can use those frozen ducklings (cheapest I got was in S&R), defrost and then brine for a couple of hours at least before drying the skin and using whatever rubs/sauces you want on it. The simplest prep I found was to stuff the cavity with quarters of lemon, basting the skin with butter and ground black pepper (add herbs to up the gourmet quotient). Then roast over slow heat for 3 hours, 45 minutes on high heat. All those juices, Apicio, they are sooooo good for gravy or even better, save them for a Sunday brunch for roasting baby potatoes and other tubers.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 12:34 pm

  12. nunosapunso says:

    wild duck tastes better than normal duck and has less fat. Downside is when we buy wild duck, you have to look for those pellets still embedded in the duck.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 3:01 pm

  13. millet says:

    my dad’s version with the hot water was different. instead of dunking, he would have somebody hold the duck over a big pot of boiling water, and he would slowly ladle the boiling water over the duck repeatedly. tedious and hazardous, i should say, and i can’t remember the difference in the result, actually.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 7:19 pm

  14. tings says:

    this is off topic, but a canadian friend blogged about grilling a chicken with a can of beer inserted to its cavity – no kidding (imagine a chicken sitting on a can of beer)….. apparently, the steam from the beer makes the chicken tender and juicy

    Here’s what she said on her blog:

    First you buy a nice chicken …

    Then you buy a king can of Heineken beer…or twlewe just in case…

    While you drink half of the beer, you coat the chicken with oil, using your hands or if you are fancy you can use a brush…

    Then you coat the oiled chicken with your favorite chicken spices, mine are called ”poulet Montréal”

    Then you take the beer can (make sure there is still enough beer in it) put it on the counter and install the chicken on it slowly…

    Then installed the whole kit on the preheat BBQ as seen in the picture above…turn off the heat under the chicken while the other burner is at medium…

    Then you slowly cook the chicken, while you have another beer or a glass of wine…

    The animal will cook slowly with the beer steam inside it…

    It will give you plenty time to fix a salad, make a salad dressing, chat online with some friends…

    The chicken will be juicy and tender I promise you…

    Aug 3, 2007 | 8:33 pm

  15. tulip says:

    tings, my uncle from Nevada grills chicken with a can of beer too.It was indeed juicy and tender.Im allergic to beer but I was able to eat portions of it without a hassle. Maybe I’ll try doing it someday. Oh, and I think he also have tried using 7-up, but I wasnt able to sample it.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:20 pm

  16. kb says:

    Well if you need a recipe for peking duck and wrapper, just holler…but frozen peking duck is hard to come by nowadays. Do you know where I can buy them? Also, what kind of duck did you use and where is it sold? Thanks!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 9:22 pm

  17. mikel says:

    your roasted duck looks yummy. i would eat duck any way, any where. i managed to actually bake magret de canard. not expensive here in paris. about 6euros for a breast. and it came with cooking/serving instructions! just salt/pepper and voila! crispy skinned, med rare au jus.

    Aug 4, 2007 | 6:54 pm

  18. Sydney BR says:

    Hi Marketman, what are your favorite restaurants and markets in Jakarta? I heard that they have some great seafood markets similar to our ‘paluto’ markets. Will be going there on a business trip at the end of the month.

    Aug 18, 2007 | 9:56 am

  19. Marketman says:

    Sydney BR, I haven’t been to Jakarta in many years, but I gather Lori over at Dessertcomesfirst is currently or was recently there and has some suggestions…I would try her blog, its on my links page. However, in general, I think the eating scene in Jakarta has really progressed in leaps and bounds, from traditional food to western set-ups… I would at least hit a noodle house, the low brow but utterly delicious Bakmi Gajah Madah is a bit like going to a Jollibee but I personally loved it. You must have your fill of sate. And you should probably have a rijstafel, which is kind of like a buffet, but in good restaurants, they bring the 15+ dishes to you so you can pick and choose… ask your local hosts where the best place to get a real rijstafel… it used to be the Oasis restaurant but that is dated, sort of my like encouraging you to say hit Aristocrat or even Nielsen Tower in Manila…enjoy your trip!

    Aug 18, 2007 | 10:42 am


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