Crispy roast duck with pancakes & dipping sauce

Fancy a roast dinner? Switch it up and roast a duck.

Serves 4 | time 4 hours

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 3 hours + rest 30 minutes



  • 1 duck (1kg – 1.5kg)
  • 2 x good handfuls of coriander
  • 3 heaped tbsp of Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 cm chunk of ginger, crushed lightly in a pestle and mortar
  • 3 cloves fo garlic. crushed lightly in a pestle and mortar with the ginger
  • 6 spring onions, one roughly chopped and the rest sliced thinly (or julienne)
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced thinly (or julienne)
  • Chinese pancakes -easily found in Chinese supermarkets and some bigger supermarkets


  • 3 tbsp of Lao Gan Ma chilli oil with Black Bean  (the brand is also known as The Godmother or Angry Lady)
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar or Mirin (I have used white wine vinegar before and it works fine)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2cm chunk of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp runny honey



Part one – Duck

  • Preheat your oven to 170c.
  • Dry your duck with kitchen paper (I sometimes get a hairdryer out if I’m feeling particularly dramatic) and dry the duck well – inside and out.
  • Cut off the flap of fat that hangs over the the cavity, then season the duck generously with salt, pepper and five spice powder. Really work it into the skin.
  • Pop spring onions, garlic, ginger and star anise in the city and place on a roasting rack.
  • It’s really important that the duck is not on the bottom of the pan, so either use a roasting rack (which sits on a tray), a trivet (using carrots and/or onions) or, as I do, a cake cooling rack sat on top off a roasting tin.
  • Cook in the oven for 1 hour at 170c then turn down to 140c for 2 hours.
  • You have a choice here – the Thomas Keller school of thought on crispy skin is that the less you open the oven the better, however the duck will produce a lot of fat which is great for flavour – so you can either leave the door shut and not baste or you can open the oven every 45 minutes and spoon that delicious fat all over the skin. I personally would go for the latter.

Part two – Sauce

  • Heat a small saucepan on a gentle heat. Crush the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar and work it hard until you’ve created a kind of paste. Add in the black beans and smush them together.
  • Put that in the pan until fragrant, then add soy sauce, vinegar and honey. Stir well and taste. You should get a sour salty note up-front, then heavy sweetness and lastly a slight heat from the beans. Remember that this will be diluted a great deal by the veg, duck and pancakes so it should be pretty punchy.
  • Bring it to the boil then, switch off the heat. If the sauce is very thin – you want it to coat the back of a spoon – then pop it on a low simmer for a few minutes. Don’t leave it – stay close and look after it.
  • Check the duck and baste if you have chosen to to do that.


Part three – Pancakes

  • Put a pan on to boil and either hook up a Chinese style steamer or a conventional western one and cook the pancakes in their packets as per the instructions. Then take the steamer off the heat – but keep them inside the steamer until you serve so they stay hot.
  • Now I am sure that you may be asking why not make these yourself, you absolutely can have a crack at it. Here is a recipe from The Guardian that should help you out. The reason I don’t is that they are loads of faff and they are never better than the packet ones. Another reason why the packet ones are great is that they are just like the ones you get from a takeaway and this is basically what we are trying to replicate isn’t it.


Part four – serve

  • Take the duck out and leave to rest for at least 30 mins – leave it on its rack so air gets around it and it doesn’t sweat. For this reason try to avoid covering it tightly with foil. Just leave it somewhere warm.
  • Pop everything on the table, gently re-heating your sauce if necessary, sprinkle some coriander on the duck from a height (this allows the herbs to fall naturally) then bring the meat out and shred at the table for a bit of theatre.