Recipe: Cantonese Roast Duck with Chinese Angelica Root (Dang Gui)

Living in different countries has given us opportunities to savour different cuisines, and one of them is of course the Cantonese Roast Duck. Back when we lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it was easy for us to buy a plump and juicy Cantonese Roast Duck from the mobile stall which is parked along the road in the OUG estate. We used to patronise this stall at least once a month, and sometimes twice a month if we craved for duck.

Ever since we moved back to Singapore, we have been trying to hunt for a good stall which sells succulent duck but so far it has never met our expectations!! Having successfully braved the difficulties of making a Peking Duck (check out this link if you are interested to make it), I am proud to present this homemade “sexy” Roast Duck recipe to you.  Few words of caution:  don’t expect to see a “red skin” and evenly browned duck as you will get commercially. I think the red skin of the duck is achieved by adding artificial red colouring which I will not add, and the temperature of our home oven does affect the roasting and its look.

I am very happy with the result; the duck meat was succulent and flavourful!! I was given a big thumb up from my family and friends. I will certainly make it again and again.

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Serves 4 to 5 persons


Marinade for the Duck

1 tablespoon salt

1½ tablespoons light soy sauce

½ tablespoon of Chinese five spice powder

1 tablespoon honey

Some white pepper

Liquid marinade

1½ tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of minced ginger

3 star anise

5 to 6 pieces Chinese Angelica Root/Dang Gui

2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce

2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine (Hao Tiao)

2 tablespoons of raw sugar/brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

5 stalks spring onion (cut into half)

Blanching liquid

18 cups of water

2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce

1½ tablespoons honey

1¼ tablespoons white vinegar


  1. Wash the duck, then pat dry with kitchen towel.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients for the duck in a small bowl.

  3. Rub the duck with the marinade and set aside.
  4. Next, in a pan heat up the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  5. Add in the minced garlic, minced ginger, star anise and dang gui. Sauté until fragrant.
  6. Add in all the rest of the liquid marinade ingredients and bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for later use.
  7. Remove the duck from the fridge and open the duck cavity. Pour the cooked liquid marinade inside the duck cavity.
  8. Stitch the cavity of the duck with 2 bamboo skewers/some toothpicks tightly and make sure that’s no leakage of the sauce. This is to prevent the blanching liquid from entering the duck cavity in Step 11.
  9. Allow it to be marinated for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

After 2 hours or the following day:

  1. Put all the blanching liquid ingredients into a big wok or pot. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it evenly over the whole duck until all the skin has contracted. Repeat the process till all the boiling liquid is used up.
  3. Pat the duck dry using some kitchen towels.
  4. Either air dry or sun dry the duck for 3 hours or longer, until the skin is completely dry.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C

  1. Place the duck on a tray lined with baking paper.
  2. Roast the duck for 30 minutes with the duck breast side up.
  3. Then transfer and turn the duck onto a new baking paper and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Retain the juices/sauces which might have flowed out from the duck and set aside.
  4. Using the first baking paper (oil discarded), turn the duck back to its original position and roast for another 10 more minutes or until the colour of the duck is richly browned.
  5. Once the duck is slightly cooled, cut and remove the sticks and let the meat juices and marinade drain to a bowl.
  6. Cut the duck into preferred sizes.
  7. Bring the meat juices/sauces to a boil and either drizzle them on to the meat or use them as a dipping sauce.

Note from Mummy’s Kitchen

  1. I roasted the duck after 2 hours, but I think marinating the duck overnight and roasting it the following day will give the duck more flavour.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

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