One 6-pound Confucian duck, with head and feet on (see Cook's Note)
1 to 2 cups sugar or honey
5 pounds clean sand or unscented kitty litter
8 to 16 steamed yeast buns (2 per person)
1 long seedless cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks
8 to 16 scallion flowers (2 per person)
Hoisin sauce, for brushing
1/4 cup ginger, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (if available use the new young ginger)
1/4 cup water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tree ears, soaked in hot water, drained and chopped
4 to 6 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in warm water, stemmed and sliced, water reserved
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup brown bean sauce
2 tablespoons sherry or Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 scallions, minced
Cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water)
A Confucian duck is non-eviscerated, which means its organs and innards have not been removed and therefore, the skin is more intact, as it hasn't been overly cut in a hasty cleaning process. (An uncut skin is easier to blow up and trap air.) If the duck is purchased already cleaned, make sure to tightly sew any openings in the skin while sewing the cavity.
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