Chefs' Recipes

Kylie Kwong's deep-fried duck with Davidson’s plum sauce

A top-order at Billy Kwong, for good reason.

By Kylie Kwong
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 45 mins cooking (plus marinating, cooling)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Deep-fried duck with Davidson’s plum sauce
"This dish is a Billy Kwong favourite and has had a presence on the menu since the early days," says Kylie Kwong. "If you're unable to find Davidson's plum, substitute oranges or European plums." Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the duck.


  • 1 duck (about 2kg)
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan pepper and salt (see note)
  • 35 gm (¼ cup) plain four
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Davidson's-plum sauce
  • 220 gm (1 cup) white sugar
  • 250 gm Davidson's plums (see note), cut in half, seeds removed
  • 6 star anise
  • 1 piece cassia bark


  • 1
    Rinse duck under cold water. Trim excess fat from inside and outside cavity, but keep neck, parson's nose and winglets intact. Pat dry with paper towels and rub the skin all over with Sichuan pepper and salt. Cover duck and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 2
    Transfer duck to a large steamer basket. Place basket over a large saucepan of boiling water and steam, covered with a tight-fitting lid, until duck is cooked through (1½ hours; to test, insert a small knife between leg and breast – the juices should run clear). Gently remove duck from steamer with tongs, place on a tray, breastside up, and allow to drain. Cool briefly, then refrigerate to cool completely
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for Davidson's plum sauce, combine sugar and 250ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thin syrup (5-7 minutes). Add plums, fish sauce (to taste) and spices, simmer for 1 minute, then stir through lime juice. Remove from heat and leave for 1 hour for flavours to meld. Reheat gently before serving.
  • 4
    Place cooled duck, breastside up, on a chopping board and cut in half through breastbone and backbone. Ease meat away from carcass, leaving thighs, legs and wings intact, then halve legs and thighs. Lightly toss duck in flour to coat, shaking off excess.
  • 5
    Heat oil in a wok over high heat until it begins to shimmer (about 180°C), then deep-fry duck in batches until browned and crisp (3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Carefully remove duck with tongs and drain on paper towels, then rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.
  • 6
    Cut duck breast into 1cm slices and arrange on a serving platter with legs and thighs. Spoon over hot plum sauce and serve immediately


For Sichuan pepper and salt, combine 1 tbsp roasted ground Sichuan peppercorns and 1 tbsp salt flakes. Davidson's plums are available from native-ingredient stockists such as