Learn . Laugh . Eat

Crispy Duck Pancakes with Cucumber Pickle

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 30 mins

Crispy Duck Pancakes recipe. Learn to make Chinese crispy duck pancakes with a cucumber pickle and spicy plum dipping sauce, perfect for Chinese New Year!

Duck

  • 2 large duck breasts
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
  • 16–20 duck pancakes

Cucumber Pickle

  • 1 spring onion
  • 1⁄2 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang black
  • rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 8 crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced

Spicy Plum Dipping Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons chilli garlic sauce
  • 4 teaspoons plum sauce
  • a dash of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Preparation

Let’s get pickling! First up, make your cucumber pickle. Slice the spring onion and cucumber into fine matchsticks and place in a bowl, before also adding the finely sliced garlic and crushed Sichuan peppercorns. Next, make your pickling liquid: pour the Chinkiang black rice vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar and salt into a ramekin along with a tablespoon of hot water and mix well to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Pour the completed mixture over the top of the cucumber and spring onion, and leave to pickle for at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile, make your spicy plum dipping sauce by mixing the chilli garlic sauce, plum sauce, dark soy sauce together in a small bowl or ramekin. Add two tablespoons of cold water and stir to thin the mixture, then leave to one side for later.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

Place the duck breast in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring to a boil and blanch for 2–3 minutes before removing from the pan and running under cold water to cool.

Once cool, pat the skin dry with kitchen paper and score gently using the tip of a sharp knife in diagonal cuts along the top of the skin, trying only to open up the fat and not cut into the meat itself. Rub the salt into the duck breast and then dab the skin dry with kitchen paper. Rub the five-spice onto the sides and bottom of the meat only, not the skin. Dab the skin dry once more to remove any extra moisture. (Hint: at this point, if you have the time, leave the duck to sit for 10-15 minutes. If not, just carry on to the next step!)

Place the duck breast skin-side down in a cold frying pan and let the pan heat up to a medium-high heat, frying the duck for 6–8 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Press down on the sides during the frying process to ensure all parts of the skin become crispy.

Once golden-brown, remove the duck from the pan and place skin-side up on a wire rack above a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 6–8 minutes to your liking. (Hint: To check whether the duck breast is cooked through to your liking, press it with your fingertips. If the resistance is the same as when you push your fingertips into your chin, then the duck is medium. For rare, it should be the same as pushing into your cheek, while well done will offer the same resistance as pressing against your forehead.)

Once the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes. While the duck breast is resting, steam the pancakes. Place a bamboo steamer over a wok a third filled with boiling water. Arrange the pancakes on top of a plate inside the steamer and steam for 3–5 minutes.

Finally, place the duck skin side down onto a chopping board. Cut the duck into thin slices and serve with the pickle and dipping sauce, accompanied by the pancakes in the steamer.


Duck

  • 2 large duck breasts
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
  • 16–20 duck pancakes

Cucumber Pickle

  • 1 spring onion
  • 1⁄2 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang black
  • rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 8 crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced

Spicy Plum Dipping Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons chilli garlic sauce
  • 4 teaspoons plum sauce
  • a dash of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Preparation

Let’s get pickling! First up, make your cucumber pickle. Slice the spring onion and cucumber into fine matchsticks and place in a bowl, before also adding the finely sliced garlic and crushed Sichuan peppercorns. Next, make your pickling liquid: pour the Chinkiang black rice vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar and salt into a ramekin along with a tablespoon of hot water and mix well to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Pour the completed mixture over the top of the cucumber and spring onion, and leave to pickle for at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile, make your spicy plum dipping sauce by mixing the chilli garlic sauce, plum sauce, dark soy sauce together in a small bowl or ramekin. Add two tablespoons of cold water and stir to thin the mixture, then leave to one side for later.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

Place the duck breast in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring to a boil and blanch for 2–3 minutes before removing from the pan and running under cold water to cool.

Once cool, pat the skin dry with kitchen paper and score gently using the tip of a sharp knife in diagonal cuts along the top of the skin, trying only to open up the fat and not cut into the meat itself. Rub the salt into the duck breast and then dab the skin dry with kitchen paper. Rub the five-spice onto the sides and bottom of the meat only, not the skin. Dab the skin dry once more to remove any extra moisture. (Hint: at this point, if you have the time, leave the duck to sit for 10-15 minutes. If not, just carry on to the next step!)

Place the duck breast skin-side down in a cold frying pan and let the pan heat up to a medium-high heat, frying the duck for 6–8 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Press down on the sides during the frying process to ensure all parts of the skin become crispy.

Once golden-brown, remove the duck from the pan and place skin-side up on a wire rack above a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 6–8 minutes to your liking. (Hint: To check whether the duck breast is cooked through to your liking, press it with your fingertips. If the resistance is the same as when you push your fingertips into your chin, then the duck is medium. For rare, it should be the same as pushing into your cheek, while well done will offer the same resistance as pressing against your forehead.)

Once the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes. While the duck breast is resting, steam the pancakes. Place a bamboo steamer over a wok a third filled with boiling water. Arrange the pancakes on top of a plate inside the steamer and steam for 3–5 minutes.

Finally, place the duck skin side down onto a chopping board. Cut the duck into thin slices and serve with the pickle and dipping sauce, accompanied by the pancakes in the steamer.

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