Yummy! Peking Duck

I've just returned from Beijing covering Singapore's Raffles Education Corp and Malaysian government's investment in China's tertiary education industry. The weather was very cold and dry. During the 3-day assignment there, I and other journalists (from Malaysia and Singapore) got to taste the famed Peking Duck. Yay!

Here's a tip! You can make good wraps (popiah skin) using palm shortening because it has less water content than margarine.

Ingredients for wraps
1 cup flour
2oz palm shortening
16oz warm water

Ingredients for roast duck
1 duck
3 teaspoon salt
a pinch of white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
a pinch of five-spice powder
2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon vinegar
boiling water
shredded spring onions

To make the wraps: Mix the flour, palm shortening, and warm water together and knead it into dough. Roll it out to 2mm thick, cut out the wraps in circles like popiah skin. Then slightly pan-fry both sides.

To make the roast duck: Rinse and hang the duck to dry for 15 minutes. Put the salt, pepper, hoisin sauce, and five-spice powder inside the duck, to marinate it. Then, put the duck into the refrigerator for 6 hours.

Hold the duck upright and pour the hot boiling water onto its body until it is puffed. Prepare honey and vinegar paste. Paint a thin layer of the honey mixture all over the duck. Hang the duck for 5 hours in a dry area while using a fan to help blowdry it. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C oven and roast the duck for 40 minutes.

Let meat rest for 15 minutes after cooking. Remove the skin and meat from the duck in thin strips and slices. Spread hoisin sauce on a wrap. Put the duck skin and meat slices onto the wrap, top it with shredded spring onions. Fold and roll the wrap popiah style.

While I was in Beijing, I managed to persuade another journalist to accompany me to a local shopping mall. Birdy Law, the deputy business editor of Nanyang Siang Pau newspaper, helped capture these photos.

As you can see, middle class consumers in Beijing mostly use soybean (which is flavoured with peanut and walnut oil), sunflower, rapeseed (which is known as camelia oil there) and the very expensive olive oil.

There was no palm cooking oil on the grocery shelves, not even the official Beijing 2008 Olympics cooking oil brandnamed "Arawana" by Kerry Oils & Grains (China) Ltd, a unit of the Wilmar Group. Maybe it is because it is still winter over here in Beijing and ordinary palm cooking oil becomes jelly-like and cloudy.

Hmmm ..... this could be a business opportunity for "Novelin" palm cooking oil that remains liquid and clear during winter. Novelin is an invention by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board team of scientists, headed by Dr Siew Wai Lin.

The Novelin formulation and brandname is licensed to the private sector, one of them being Green Ocean Corp Bhd, listed on the stock exchange Bursa Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. Green Ocean Corp managing director Lee Byoung Jin, better known among friends and associates as McKinLee, is an enterprising man. Perhaps by next year, shareholders of Green Ocean Corp may hear news of Novelin hitting the supermarket shelves in the northern cities of China ;-)

Here's a closer look at the "Mighty" olive+sunflower cooking oil, popular in Beijing.

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