For the duck
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 duck, about 2.2kg
1 medium root fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced lenghtways
2 tbsp chinese five spice
5 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
For the plum sauce
2 soft plums, peeled, stones removed, finely chopped
1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar, or more to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp chinese five spice
½ tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
2 packets Chinese wheatflour pancakes
shredded spring onions
For the duck: bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the shaoxing wine. Prick the skin of the duck all over with a fork and carefully put the bird in the pot so that it is fully immersed. Remove the duck from the water after a minute or so and pat it dry, then hang it up to dry overnight.
When ready to roast the duck, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Stuff the cavity with the sliced ginger. Mix the five spice powder with ½ teaspoon of sea salt flakes and ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper and rub the duck inside and out with the spice mix.
Place the duck on a rack in a roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes, then turn it and continue cooking for another 45 minutes.
Combine the dark muscovado sugar and golden syrup in a small bowl. Once the duck has been in the oven for 1½ hours, remove it and brush all over with the syrup mixture. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, so that the top is golden and has a light glaze. Set the duck aside to rest before serving.
For the plum sauce: bring 200ml of water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the chopped plums, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, five spice powder and dark soy sauce and stir well. Simmer over a medium heat to reduce the liquid by half – this will take about 8 minutes.
Carefully strain the sauce while still hot then taste and adjust the flavours adding more soy sauce and sugar as you think necessary. In a small dish, mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of cold water then stir this mixture into the sauce to thicken it.
Steam the pancakes following the packet instructions. Meanwhile, carve the duck and serve immediately with the hot pancakes, plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.