Friday 3 February 2017

Madhouse recipe : Peking duck with noodles

As I mentioned on last week's menu plan, I have been going through the cupboards having a good #KitchenClearout, hunting out recipes for using up things that have been lurking in there for far too long. One such item was a bag of Vietnamese crispy pancake mix. I headed to google for inspiration and came across a million recipes for crispy duck, also known as Peking duck, 99% of which involved slow cooking duck then shredding it pulled pork-style, dousing it in plum or hoisin sauce and serving it in pancakes with cucumber and spring onions. This is apparently hugely popular in Chinese restaurants in the UK but it's not something I've ever tried (in France there are lots of Vietnamese restaurants but very few Chinese ones, which may explain why !). This didn't appeal to Madhouse Daddy and I couldn't get hold of any spring onions so I decided to change tack and look for French (or Vietnamese in French) recipes. I found one for "canard laqué" which is the most popular Oriental duck dish in France, and when I went to find a translation, I discovered that it's ... Peking duck ! This time, it's not necessarily served with the pancakes, cucumber and spring onions though, so I served it with stir-fried veggies and noodles. I didn't get to use up my crispy pancake mix but I did clear out lots of other odds and ends.

Most of the recipes I found said to roast a whole duck for 2-3 hours minimum or duck breasts for about half an hour, sprinkling them with lots of salt and Chinese five spice. However, the duck breasts that Madhouse Daddy brought back from the supermarket said that they should be cooked for 5 minutes on each side and not to add salt. As they were labelled "magret de canard", I returned to google for elucidation and learned that magret de canard translates as duck breast but, as it is a by-product of force-fed ducks from foie gras, it is a much richer and fattier version than the duck breasts you buy in the UK. Yuck, I never knew that ! Oh well, they were in my fridge by this time so it was too late to take the moral high ground.

This is only the second time I've ever eaten duck but it came out really well and really complemented the rich flavours of the Oriental glaze.

Peking duck with noodles

ingredients :

1 or 2 duck breasts
3tbsp Hoisin sauce 
1tbsp black rice vinegar
1tbsp runny honey
1/2tsp Chinese five spice
stir-fried veggies (onions, carrots, red pepper, bamboo shoots, mangetout, ...)

Use a sharp knife to make deep cuts through the skin/fat and into the meat, to help the marinade penetrate. Sprinkle over the Chinese five spice.

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and stir vigorously. I was using up the ends of bottles of hoisin sauce and black rice vinegar so this was all I could make, but you could go for double quantities if you want a richer flavour and more sauce.

You could leave the meat to rest in the marinade for a couple of hours but as I was short on time, I just poured it over the duck breasts halfway through the cooking process. Start by cooking the duck in a hot pan skin side down for 6-7 minutes until the skin is going crispy and the pan is full of fat. Drain off the fat but keep this for making Nigella Lawson-esque roast potatoes at a later date ! Return the meat to the pan skin side up and pour over the marinade, making sure it gets into all the slits. 

Cook for however long it takes to reach your desired level of rareness - for us, that was 6-7 minutes then an extra 2 minutes flipped back over to the skin side for the glaze to go gooey, so that it still stayed sightly pink in the middle. Leave to rest on a plate for 10-15 minutes before serving.

I had a pot of Spicy Szechuan noodles lurking in the cupboard (basically a posh pot noodle !) from a Degustabox so I decided to use that, along with a bag of Chinese-style stir fry veggies.

Cook the veggies then stir through the prepared noodles. I didn't need to add seasoning as there was already flavourings in the noodle pot but you could add a splash of soy sauce or your favourite Oriental sauce.

Slice the duck into strips or serve as a whole or half breast, along with the noodles and vegetables.

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up ends of bottles of hoisin sauce and black rice vinegar, as well as the noodle pot.


  1. This looks brilliant! As good as a restaurant!

    1. LOL not bad with odds and ends from the cupboard ! :)

  2. I love shredded duck in pancakes, one of my top favourite meat dishes. I didn't realise that Chinese was less popular in France than Vietnamese. Duck with noodles for dinner? Invite me!

    1. Vietnam was colonised by the French during the French empire whereas Britain had trade routes with China and "owned" Hong Kong, which probably explains the restaurant differences, I would think. French was the official language of Vietnam for many years, making it easier for Vietnamese people to resettle in France.

  3. Looks lovely, i really like duck but have never cooked it at home


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