1 duck breast (double breast)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp 5-spice powder
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup hot water
A little oil
Spring onion, sliced (about 20 - 30 pieces)
Preheat oven to 200°C. Take the duck breast and pat dry with a very clean teatowel. If it is a whole breast, cut the breast into 2 halves. Then using a sharp knife, score the duck skin diagonally both ways about 2 cm between cuts. Be careful not to cut the meat underneath. Your duck should have a neat argyle pattern all over the skin.
In a small bowl, mix the salt, sugar and 5-spice together. Rub most of the seasoning on the duck skin and the rest onto the reverse side.
Lay the pieces skin side down onto a room temperature cast iron skillet (one with a metal handle). No need for any oil, you’ll see why in a moment. Turn on the heat to medium and once you hear the skin start to sizzle, turn on your timer for 5 minutes. As the duck fat renders out of the skin (thanks to your argyle scoring), carefully tilt the pan and spoon out the fat. Save this fat for culinary delights such as duck fat potatoes or duck fat croutons.
At 5 minutes, take a peek at the skin and check for crispiness and colour. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes if required, otherwise, flip over and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Remove the duck from the pan and drain all the duck fat out to your reserve container.
Return the duck to the pan or to a small oven proof dish and place in the oven for 6-8 minutes at 200°C depending on how pink you like it. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Make a cut down the length of each piece 1 thickness in from the edge, then slice this into half. This makes 2 slices. Then with the remaining meat, make 7 cuts on an angle so that you have 8 more slices. This makes 10 fairly even pieces (see diagram). Repeat with the other duck breast half. Arrange duck slices on a platter.
For the pancakes, sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the hot water and mix. Using your hands, gather up the dough and knead the mixture in the bowl until it forms into a loose ball. Cover bowl with a teatowel and set aside for half an hour.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a lightly oiled work surface until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Divide the dough in half and then roll each piece into a long roll. Cut into 5 pieces each and roll up into even sized balls. Place these balls back into the bowl and cover with a teatowel. Taking 1 ball at a time, divide into half and flatten each ball into a 5 cm wide disk. Place a disk on the work surface and spread a dot of oil over it followed by the second disk. Roll out until about 15 cm round.
Put a skillet on medium heat and spray or add a tiny amount of oil. Cook the double pancake (flipping once) until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from heat and set on a plate. Once cool enough to handle but still very warm, split the double pancake by carefully peeling them apart so that you have 2 thin pancakes. Place split pancakes on a platter.
Repeat with rest of dough balls. You’ll get a good work station going, roll out dough / flip pancake / split pancake. (Pro tip: Have 2 skillets going at once to cut down on cooking time).
To serve, Place sliced duck, pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce in platters and bowls the middle of the table and just go for it with your hands. Pancakes and duck are usually served warm to room temperature rather than piping hot.
For the uninitiated: Take a pancake, add a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, top with cucumber, spring onion and a slice of duck. Fold over like a burrito and enjoy. Repeat until finished.
Credits: Genie De Wit
Photo Credits: Genie De Wit