Martha Liao's Peking Duck


This traditional Peking duck recipe comes from acclaimed opera singer Hao Jian Tian and Martha Liao, his wife. Also try: Martha Liao's Spring Rolls


  • 1 (4-to-5-pound) fresh or frozen (thawed) Long Island duck

  • 7 scallions, trimmed

  • 2 (½-inch thick) slices fresh ginger

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons Shao Hsing (Chinese cooking wine) or dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 12 to 15 frozen steamed rolls

  • Sweet black bean sauce or hoisin sauce, for serving


  1. In a very cool room, tie duck wings together using kitchen twine. In a cool room, hang duck from kitchen twine over a large bowl overnight, about 8 hours.

  2. Fill a large pot with 4 cups water, 2 scallions, ginger, and honey; cover and bring to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 cup cold water until well combined. Whisk cornstarch mixture into boiling water mixture until it is the consistency of a light gravy. Stir in wine and vinegar; remove sauce from heat.

  3. Add duck to pot and spoon over sauce, for 3 to 5 minutes, until very well coated. Remove from sauce and hang duck again, in a cool room, over a large bowl for 4 hours.

  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  5. Fill the drip tray of a vertical poultry roaster with water; set in a roasting pan. Place duck on vertical roaster and transfer to oven. Roast until duck is golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching the bone) reaches 175 degrees. Take care with duck grease as you roast; if too much begins to accumulate in roasting pan, ladle into a disposable heatproof container as the duck cooks and discard.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare frozen steamed rolls according to package directions. Quarter white parts of remaining 5 scallions and cut into 2-inch pieces, reserving green parts for another use.

  7. Thinly slice duck and serve with steamed rolls, scallions, and sweet bean or hoisin sauce.

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