Peking duck and pancakes: it’s a Chinese restaurant favourite of mine! Traditionally, preparing the duck is a six-day process. Not in my kitchen! My version gets you your duck fix quick(er) – I promise all the steps will be worth it. Pair it with my homemade pancakes for the ultimate showstopper.
4 x duck breasts, skin on
Chinese five-spice salt
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp Chinese 5 spice (find my homemade Chinese 5 Spice recipe)
2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp Chinese red vinegar*
4 tbsp maltose*
spring onion (scallions), cut into fine strips
cucumber, cut into fine strips
homemade Peking duck pancakes (or use store-bought)
For the Chinese five spice salt, add sugar, salt and five spice to a bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside.
Place the duck breasts onto a baking tray lined with baking (parchment) paper. Sprinkle the duck generously with the salt mixture all over, pressing in. Ensure the duck is skin side up, then transfer the tray, uncovered, into the fridge and refrigerate overnight to allow any excess moisture to dry out.
To make the maltose syrup, place the maltose into a small saucepan. (You may find it’s very hard in consistency at room temperature. If that’s the case, pop it in the microwave for intervals of 10 seconds until it becomes looser and easier to spoon out.) Add the Shaoxing wine and red vinegar to the pan as well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture has reduced by one-third and thickened slightly. Set aside.
Take the duck breast out of the refrigerator and bring it back to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to grill setting to high.
Pat the duck dry with some paper towel. Place the duck breast skin side down into a cold frying pan. Turn the heat on high and allow the duck skin to crisp up slowly (the duck fat will render as the duck cooks). Once the duck is gently sizzling, cook for around 7 minutes or until the skin is golden and the duck is almost cooked. Flip the duck over and cook for a further minute on the flesh side.
Transfer duck breast, skin side up, to a clean baking tray and brush the maltose glaze on the duck skin. Place the tray under the hot grill for 15 minutes, brushing with the glaze every 5 minutes.
Remove tray from the oven. Transfer duck breasts to a clean plate, then allow to rest uncovered for at least 5 minutes.
Cut each breast into thin slices and transfer to a serving platter, along with the strips of spring onion and cucumber. Serve with hoisin sauce and homemade cheat’s Peking duck pancakes. To assemble, take a pancake and smear some hoisin sauce in the down the centre. Add a few strips of vegies, a couple of pieces of duck, then fold up and enjoy.
– Chinese red vinegar should be available at a Chinese grocery store. If you can’t find it, you could use Chinese black (aka chinkiang) vinegar, or red wine vinegar instead.
– Maltose is available from Asian grocery stores or search it out online.