Sweet Mandarin Recipe : 香酥鸭 Aromatic Crispy Duck

For an alternative, why not cook a Aromatic Crispy Duck during the Christmas holidays? This recipe was supplied by the Tse Sisters from the renowned Sweet Mandarin restaurant in Manchester. You can check out more delicious recipes from their cookbook .


Use a gluten-free barbecue sauce, such as Sweet Mandarin Barbecue Dipping Sauce, rather than hoisin sauce.

Use gluten-free flour rather than plain flour for the pancakes; use lettuce rather than pancakes for a healthy alternative.

Dairy free

Egg free

Serves 2

Preparation time: 90 minutes

Cooking time 45 minutes

320g duck legs, skin on cornflour, for dusting vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the marinade

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 star anise
1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce 200ml water

For the pancakes

220g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
150–170ml boiling water
sesame oil, for brushing

To serve

1 cucumber, cut into 0.5 x 7cm batons 4 spring onions, white part only, cut into 7cm lengths then quartered

Hoisin sauce

Imperial chefs were sworn to secrecy and the recipe wasn’t revealed until after the Republic of China was born in 1912, when the head chef started creating Peking Duck for the masses.


Score the duck skin all over in a criss-cross pattern. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the duck and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to marinate for 1 hour.

Whilst the duck is marinating, make the pancakes. Combine the flour,
salt and boiling water in a bowl and mix together with a fork until the ingredients start to come together. Use your hands to bring the dough into a ball, and then turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth, adding a little more water or flour if necessary. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Remove the duck legs from the marinade and pat dry on kitchen paper. Transfer them to a plate and set aside to dry in the fridge, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Now your dough is ready to use. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but not sticky. Roll out into a large rectangle, 2mm thick, and cut out small circles approx. 6cm in diameter – I use a large cup as a guide. Using a pastry brush, brush a light coating of sesame oil over both sides of the pastry circles.

To cook the pancakes, pan-fry for 1–2 minutes on each side. Once cooked, layer up the pancakes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Heat 750ml vegetable oil over a high heat to 180°C and test the temperature (see page 35). Deep-fry the duck for 8–10 minutes until it turns dark brown. Remove the crispy duck with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, patting it dry. Transfer the duck to a plate and shred the flesh with two forks.

Serve with the pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce.

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