Making Chinese Pancakes for Duck – Just 4 Steps

by Ella

Chinese pancakes are a quintessential component of Peking duck, a beloved dish with origins dating back to imperial China. These thin, delicate pancakes provide the perfect vessel for showcasing tender slices of roasted duck, along with savory hoisin sauce, crunchy cucumber, and scallions. While making Chinese pancakes from scratch may seem daunting, with a bit of practice and patience, you can achieve the perfect balance of texture and flavor that elevates your Peking duck experience to new heights. In this article, we’ll explore the traditional method of making Chinese pancakes for duck, along with tips and tricks to ensure success in your culinary endeavors.

Understanding Chinese Pancakes

Chinese pancakes, also known as Mandarin pancakes or moo shu pancakes, are a type of unleavened flatbread made from a simple dough of flour, water, and sometimes oil. Unlike traditional Western pancakes, which are fluffy and thick, Chinese pancakes are thin, tender, and slightly chewy, with a delicate texture that complements the rich flavors of Peking duck.


The key to achieving the perfect texture for Chinese pancakes lies in the dough preparation and cooking technique. The dough should be soft and pliable, allowing it to be rolled out thinly without tearing. Cooking the pancakes over high heat in a dry skillet or griddle ensures that they cook quickly and evenly, resulting in a light and airy texture.


Ingredients for Chinese Pancakes

Making Chinese pancakes requires just a few simple ingredients, most of which you likely already have on hand:


All-purpose flour: Provides the base for the pancake dough and gives it structure.


Water: Binds the flour together to form a smooth dough.

Sesame oil (optional): Adds flavor and helps prevent the pancakes from sticking to the cooking surface.

Cornstarch (optional): Helps tenderize the dough and improve its texture.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making Chinese pancakes for duck:

1. Prepare the Dough

Start by combining the flour and water in a large mixing bowl, stirring until a rough dough forms. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead it for 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too dry, add a bit more water, one tablespoon at a time. Conversely, if it feels too sticky, sprinkle in a bit more flour.

Once the dough is smooth and elastic, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

2. Divide and Roll Out the Dough

After the dough has rested, divide it into small, evenly sized balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a thin, round pancake, about 6-8 inches in diameter. If desired, brush the surface of each pancake with a thin layer of sesame oil to add flavor and prevent sticking.

3. Cook the Pancakes

Heat a dry skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully transfer one pancake to the hot skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface and the bottom is lightly browned.

Flip the pancake using a spatula and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the other side is lightly browned and the pancake is cooked through. Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls, stacking the cooked pancakes on a plate and covering them with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.

4. Serve and Enjoy

Once all of the pancakes are cooked, it’s time to assemble and serve your Peking duck. Start by spreading a thin layer of hoisin sauce on each pancake, then top with slices of roasted duck, thinly sliced cucumber, and scallions. Roll up the pancakes tightly, tucking in the ends to prevent the filling from falling out, and serve immediately.

Tips for Success

While making Chinese pancakes for duck is relatively simple, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure success:

Use hot water: Using hot water to mix the dough helps relax the gluten and makes it easier to knead and roll out the dough.

Let the dough rest: Allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes before rolling it out allows the gluten to relax, resulting in a more tender and pliable texture.

Roll out the dough thinly: Aim to roll out the dough as thinly as possible without tearing it, as thinner pancakes are lighter and more delicate.

Cook over high heat: Cooking the pancakes over high heat ensures that they cook quickly and evenly, resulting in a light and airy texture.

Keep the cooked pancakes warm: To prevent the pancakes from drying out, stack them on a plate and cover them with a clean kitchen towel while you cook the remaining pancakes.

By following these tips and techniques, you can achieve the perfect Chinese pancakes for duck that are light, tender, and bursting with flavor.

See Also: Crispy Cantonese-Style Roast Duck

A Quick Review

Making Chinese pancakes for duck at home may seem intimidating at first, but with a bit of practice and patience, you can master this traditional dish and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article and keeping a few key tips in mind, you can achieve the perfect balance of texture and flavor that elevates your Peking duck experience to new heights. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal that’s sure to become a favorite in your household.



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