Chinese Duck Pancakes
Chinese Duck Pancakes
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This is our take on the traditional Chinese dish of shredded duck with matchsticks of cucumber, spring onion and Hoi Sin sauce, all wrapped up in a pancake.
- For the duck
- 1 × duck
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 20g fresh root ginger
- 20g green chili (1)
- 160g onion (1)
- 1 × star anise
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 500ml water (or enough to come half way up the side of the duck)
- For the pancakes (makes about 30):
- 300g plain flour
- 15g caster sugar
- 300g boiling water
Preparation Time: 40 minutes (in total)
Cooking Time: 5 hours for the duck, 15 minutes for all the pancakes
- Heat your oven to 110°c.
- Peel the garlic, cut the chilli in half lengthways and cut out the seeds and white pith. Then roughly chop the onion, chilli, ginger and garlic.
- Put all the ingredients for the duck, except for the water and the duck itself, into an oven-proof dish with a lid.
- Then put the duck into the dish and pour in the water until it comes half-way up the side of the duck.
- Put the lid onto the dish, put it into oven and cook it for 5 hours.
- After the time, take the dish out of the oven and turn the oven up to the highest it will go (ours reached 260°c). Then line a baking tray with a piece of foil.
- Using a pair of tongs, a spatula or any sort of lifting equipment, very carefully lift the duck out of the dish and put it onto the foil-lined baking tray (it will be unbelievably soft and will want to fall to pieces, if it does collapse, just rebuild it on the baking tray as best you can).
- Put the duck into oven and roast it until it has turned a deep golden brown (ours took about 7 minutes but it will depend on the temperature of your oven, just don’t forget about it!).
- While the duck is roasting, pour the cooking liquid through a sieve into bowl and discard the vegetables. Using a spoon or ladle, remove the fat from the broth into another bowl, pour the broth into a sauce pan and boil it rapidly until it has reduced to almost nothing.
- When the duck is ready, remove it from oven and set it to one side to allow it to rest and cool for about 20 minutes.
- Using your hands or a fork, shred the duck (including the skin), then pour over the reduced sauce and mix it through.
- To make the pancakes, put the flour, sugar and water into bowl and mix them until they have completely come together.
- Then tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it until it becomes smooth, soft, elastic and is no longer sticky.
- Allow the dough to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 5mm thick and then cut out disks using a 7cm pastry cutter.
- Using plenty of flour, roll each of the disks out to about 1mm thick (or as thin as you possibly can). They should end up being about 20cm in diameter.
- Keep the rolled out disks in a tea-towel to prevent them drying out.
- When you have rolled out all the disks, put a dry frying pan on to a very, very high heat and heat it up until it is very, very hot.
- Put one of the disks in the pan, wait for it to begin bubbling (about 20 - 30 seconds).
- Then turn it over and cook it on the other side for a further 20 - 30 seconds (it should have browned spots on both sides). Repeat for all the disks.
- (You will burn at least one of the pancakes. We did. Don’t worry, it’s actually a tradition and you are simply following the well trodden path of the ancient Chinese pancake fryer. Consider it a rite of passage. And unless it’s actually turned into carbon and on fire, it’s probably still edible.)
- Finely slice (julienne) some cucumber and spring onion and serve with Hoi Sin sauce.
Can it be frozen? Yes, once cooked, both the pancakes and the duck can be frozen.
Can it be prepared in advance? Yes, the duck can be finished up to 3 days in advance, the pancakes can be finished up to 2 hours in advance and kept in a tea-towel.
Will leftovers be nice? Yes, but don’t keep the pancakes in the fridge or they will turn into massive, crispy biscuits. Keep them at room temperature in an air-tight container and reheat them in the microwave or wrapped in a moist tea-towel in a low oven until warm.
- The traditional method of rolling out the pancakes is to take two small balls of the dough, brush one side of one of them with sesame oil and then press the two together (so the oil is separating them). You roll this out until it is very thin and then peel apart the two pancakes, giving to two super-thin pancakes. It’s a great theory. In practice, you usually end up with one pancake that gets torn to bits when you try to peel them apart, and we highly recommend not bothering.