Crispy Skinned Duck w/ Chinese Pancakes

Having never cooked duck before, I thought I’d give this simple roast duck recipe a shot.  Although I don’t think I’ll be roasting one of these fatty beasts again any time soon (too much bone and not enough meat), it’s definitely worth a try. In future I would buy leg and breast pieces and bake them until the skin is crispy.  There is one advantage of roasting a whole duck however, the copious amounts of rendered fat that you glean, which can be used to roast the most delicious crispy potatoes (which I will be blogging shortly).  So whether you roast a whole duck, buy jointed duck or pre-cooked duck – the combination of the salty, crispy skin with the chewy pancakes, hoisin sauce and fresh, crispy veg is something to savor.


DUCK_10Ingredients – Duck

  • 2 kg whole duck
  • 2 tbsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • salt & pepper

Chinese Pancakes

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • sesame oil
  • 190ml boiling water

To serve

  • hoisin sauce
  • bunch spring onions, cut in 3 inch batons
  • 2 carrots, cut in 3 inch batons
  • half cucumber, cut in 3 inch batons
  • chili, sliced
  • fresh coriander leaves


Begin by preheating oven to 180°C.  Meanwhile, wash the duck inside and out, dry thoroughly with paper towel.  Sprinkle the cavity with salt, pepper and 1/4 of your 5-spice. Loosely stuff the duck with onion and ginger. Season the outside of the duck with the remaining 5-spice and salt and pepper. Place duck on a rack over a roasting tray with the breast facing up, wings and neck tucked under the body (you can truss the duck if you wish).  Prick the duck all over with a sharp fork, this will allow the fat to drain.  Place duck in preheated oven for 1 hour. Intermittently during cooking, remove the duck and drain the accumulated fat in the tray into a jug. You can also flip the duck every 30 minutes to increase crispiness. After 1 hour, turn the temperature down to 150°C and cook for another hour and a half.

DUCK_1If when nearing completion the skin is not crispy, crank the temperature to max and crisp the skin for 10 minutes.

DUCK_9With the duck in the oven you can make your pancakes.  Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl.  Add boiling water and stir to combine, you should be left with a soft and sticky dough.  If the mixture is too stiff add a dash of cold water. If too wet add some flour.

DUCK_2Bring the dough together and knead until extremely smooth, 5 – 10 minutes, adding flour as needed.  Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

DUCK_3Roll the dough into a sausage and divide into 16 equal pieces.

DUCK_4Roll each piece into a ball.  Taking two balls, squish them flat, brush the top of one disc with sesame oil.

DUCK_5Place the other disc on top of the oiled disc (making the oil layer the middle) and roll, with gentle pressure, into an 8-10 cm pancake.

DUCK_6Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the pancakes on each side for one minute, or until puffy and lightly coloured.

DUCK_7Transfer the cooked pancake into a clean tea towel and separate, while still warm, into two individual pancakes (peel apart both layers).

DUCK_8Wrap the pancakes in the tea towel and keep warm. They should be soft and chewy (they can be steamed gently just before serving to reheat).  When the duck is cooked, carve off the meat and crispy skin, scoop out the stuffing and mix with a few tablespoons of hoisin.  Serve the duck alongside the veg, hoisin and pancakes.  Combine all ingredients in the pancakes and eat. Good times.