Nánjīng Salted Duck

南京盐水鸭nán jīng yán shuǐ yā


1/2 of a whole duck

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn

2 tbsp + 2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black peppercorn

2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (or white wine)

3 green onions

4 large slices ginger

1/2 of a clementine or orange peel

2 bay leaves

If you want to prepare a whole duck, don't forget to double the recipe. Also note, the duck will need to marinate in a salt & pepper rub for at least 12 hours, so best to start preparing the day before you want to serve / eat!

Prepare Sichuan pepper salt

  1. Heat a pan over medium-low, and add 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns and 2 tbsp salt.

  2. Stir slowly for 10 minutes or until salt turns light brown.

  3. Crush the peppercorns and salt with a mortar and pestle. If you don't have one, pour the peppercorns and salt into a plastic bag after they cool and roll over it with a rolling pin. Set aside.

Prepare the duck

  1. If you're working with a whole duck, cut the duck into quarters. You can double the recipe and use the full duck, or just take 1 duck breast and 1 duck leg and store the rest.

  2. Wash the duck quarters under cold water.

  3. Use tweezers to pull any tiny feathers out.

  4. Dry the duck quarters with paper towels.

  5. Evenly spread the crushed pepper and salt onto the duck pieces. You can use plastic gloves if you want because you'll want to rub the pepper and salt for a few minutes on the duck skin.

  6. Place the duck into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

  7. Refrigerate the duck for 12-24 hours (48 hours max).

Boil the duck

  1. Trim 3 green onions, wash, and cut each in half.

  2. Fill a 6-8 quart pot about 2/3 full of cold water.

  3. Heat the pot over high temperature and wait for it to boil.

  4. While waiting, remove the duck from the refrigerator and wash the salt & pepper rub off with cold water.

  5. Once the water is boiling, add in the Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 2 tsp salt, ginger slices, bay leaves, and the orange (or clementine) peel.

  6. Add the duck to the pot and turn off the stove. Cover the pot with a lid.

  7. After 2 minutes, transfer the duck to a bowl or plate.

  8. Turn the heat back to high and wait until the water is boiling again.

  9. While waiting, check to see if the water has revealed any additional tiny feathers on the duck - if so, remove them with tweezers.

  10. Repeat steps 6-8 two more times.

  11. After you've removed the duck from the water for the third time, wait for the pot to boil again.

  12. Once it does, turn the heat to medium-low, and add in the green onions and the duck. Cover the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes.

  13. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat. Keep the duck in the pot until it cools - this usually takes 30 minutes - 1 hour.

  14. Scoop the duck out. You can either slice and serve or refrigerate and serve cold!