Crispy duck is very popular in the Sichuan province and it can be found in many restaurants. However, it is also equally popular to cook at home because, unlike Peking duck, it is easier to make in the home kitchen. My modern variation uses duck breast with the skin on. The duck is first seasoned and then pan-fried until the skin is crispy; the cooking is then finished off in the oven. I like serving this with a sweet and sour apricot and plum sauce.
To make the marinade: Place the star anise, grated ginger, rice wine, peppercorns, salt, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce, into a bowl, and stir to combine.
Add the duck breasts to the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a wok or pan over a high heat, and add the groundnut oil. Remove the duck from the marinade and place the duck into the hot wok or pan, skin-side down, and fry until the skin is brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the duck to a sheet pan, skin-side up, and roast in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on how well done you would like your duck to be. While the duck is in the oven, prepare the apricot and plum sauce
To make the sauce: Pour the water into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the plums, apricots, sugar, honey, cinnamon, star anise, and cook until the mixture has reduced to a sticky sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the lime juice.
To serve, place a duck breast onto a plate, pour over the sauce and serve with a salad. Cook's Note: You could also try serving this with my roasted sweet potatoes with smoked paprika.