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Hoisin Duck Pancakes

Melissa Hemsley's healthy take on this classic Chinese dish features succulent duck and a brilliant Hoisin sauce.

From the book

Melissa Hemsley


While it would be impossible to recreate true Chinese-style duck at home, this version comes with a big thumbs-up from my family. It uses duck breasts, speedy to cook and widely available, and quick pancakes made with chickpea (or gram) flour. The best thing about the recipe is the hoisin sauce, brightened with orange juice or any citrus and creaminess from the tahini. It’s simple to make and tastes like the real deal. It’s such a versatile sauce too. Just a little will enhance the flavour of leftover vegetables and it’s also brilliant with fish burgers.

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4 duck breasts (skin on; total 600g)
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
a good pinch of sea salt
For the Hoisin sauce:
6 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp tahini or smooth nut/seed butter
1½ tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp orange juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
To serve:
12 small wraps of your choice
chilli flakes, to taste
1 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
6 spring onions, sliced into matchsticks


1. Preheat the oven to fan 200°C/Gas mark 7.

2. With a sharp knife, score the fat of each duck breast in a crisscross pattern, then sprinkle over half the five-spice powder and salt and rub in.

3. Make the hoisin sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl, then taste for seasoning and set aside.

4. Heat up a wide, ovenproof frying pan to a high heat (no oil needed) and place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the pan. Sprinkle over the rest of the spice and salt. Cook for 3 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered, and the duck skin is golden.

5. Turn the duck breasts over and cook for a further 30 seconds to seal the other side. Place the pan in the oven for the duck to finish cooking – 8 minutes for rare or 10 minutes for medium rare – then remove the duck and leave to rest on a chopping board for 10 minutes. Use this time to make the chickpea batter and, while the duck is resting, use the same pan to make the wraps.

6. Pour any excess duck fat from the pan into a bowl. 7. Cut the duck breasts into thin slices, sprinkle with chilli flakes and place on a serving plate with the hoisin sauce in a bowl. Put the wraps on another plate and place the sliced cucumber and spring onions in a separate bowl. Let everyone assemble their own pancakes, pouring or spooning the hoisin sauce over the duck before adding the other ingredients.

Use It Up: Duck and orange go so well together, but if you don’t have an orange, use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the hoisin sauce instead. Save the duck fat for frying vegetables.

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From the book: Eat Happy: 30 Minute Feel-good Food

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