Crispy duck pancakes with chilli-plum sauce

James Martin shows us to how to make this takeaway classic at home. Great for sharing, try serving it on a platter for people to help themselves.


  • 1 x 2kg/2lb 4oz duck, back bone removed, flattened
For the chilli-plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 500g/1lb 2oz plums, stones removed, roughly chopped
  • 125ml/5fl oz rice wine vinegar
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pancakes
  • 225g/8oz strong white flour
  • 175ml/6fl oz boiling water
To serve
  • 4 spring onions, finely shredded
  • 2 red chillies, seeded, finely shredded

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210C/410F/Gas 7.

  2. For the crispy duck, place the duck, skin side up, onto a rack over a roasting tray and pierce the skin all over with a knife.

  3. Boil a kettle and pour the boiling water over the duck skin, discarding the water. Pat the duck dry, using kitchen paper, then rub salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, over the skin.

  4. Transfer to the oven to roast for 1-1¼ hours, or until crisp and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Shred the duck into fine pieces using two forks.

  5. For the chilli plum sauce, heat the olive oil in lidded pan and fry the spring onions and chillies for 1-2 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.

  6. Add the plums, vinegar and sugar and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover with a lid and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until the plums are tender. Set the plums aside to cool

  7. Remove the cinnamon stick and blend the mixture to a purée in a food processor. Strain the purée through a sieve into a bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  8. Meanwhile, for the pancakes, place the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the boiling water and stir to form a dough. Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Top recipe tip

If you don’t want to make your own pancakes, you can buy ready-made Chinese-style pancakes in most Asian supermarkets.

Required techniques

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

Less than 30 mins preparation time

1 to 2 hours cooking time

Serves 4