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Duck - Crispy Aromatic; Sichuan-style

An easy way of successfully-creating this popular restaurant dish at home. We have given a low fat version, meaning the duck won't be quite as the restaurant version, but this can be overcome if you turn a blind eye to fat, and deep fry the duck pieces at 180 degrees centigrade.

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Equipment: a steamer, or improvised version, made with a large colander that fits over a saucepan of boiling water (and is sealed with tin foil).

For 4 as a starter (or part of a meal):

1 whole Duck - an Aylesbury type will produce a crisper result, a Gressingham/Lunesdale type less fat- split into half or quarters by your butcher

For the Marinade:

1 tablespoon (15ml) Chinese Five Spice Powder - see (

1 tablespoon (15ml) Ground Ginger

2 whole Star Anise, broken into small pieces

1 tablespoons (30ml) Sichuan Peppercorns

1 tablespoon (15ml) Black Peppercorns

1 tablespoons Cumin Seeds

1 tablespoons Fennel Seeds

1 tablespoon (15ml) Dark Soy Sauce

1 ins/2.5cm Root Ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 Spring Onions

2 Bay Leaves

To Serve:

About a dozen Chinese Pancakes (from your local Chinese supermarket)

Half a Cucumber, finely-sliced

6 Spring Onions, trimmed, then cut on the diagonal into 1 ins/2.5cm lengths

Hoisin Sauce diluted with a little stock or water


Combine the marinade ingredients together, and rub them well into both sides of the duck halves/quarters. Put these and any remaining marinade into a non-reactive bowl (so not aluminium) and leave in the fridge for 8-10 hours, turning the duck over half way through, if you think it will benefit from being rubbed with any loose marinade.

- Bring some water to the boil in the base of your chosen steamer, put your duckpieces in the top half of the steamer or in a colander, place this over the boiling water and cover/seal the top so no steam can escape by this method.

- Steam for 1 hour, being careful not to allow the bottom of the steamer to run dry.

- Remove the duck, discarding the steaming water, and set aside until needed.
# Can be prepared ahead up to this point.

- When you are ready to eat, heat a grill, and when it's very hot, brown the duck pieces - skin side up - until they're crisp. As mentioned above, this can be done in a deep fryer.

Serve - by flaking off the duck meat with two forks, then rolling the resultant meat in the little pancakes, each with a little spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce mixture added.

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