I recently had a dinner party, and I decided the theme would be Asian. I settled on peking duck pancakes for the entree, because at the restaurants, they always charge you an arm and a leg for 2 measly pancakes, well, I wanted to see how much it would cost to have pancakes for 10!
I looked into making the peking duck myself. First off, duck is very hard to find in Canberra. Apparently it’s a special order at most butchers. Then I looked into the actual process of cooking the duck. My first Youtube video completely put me off the very idea of making it myself. Two whole days of basting this duck, and then a revolving rotisserie! No way!
Luckily, our local Belconnen Fresh Markets conveniently hosts a BBQ Asian restaurant, which sells lovely BBQ ducks that are prominently displayed outside – $30 a duck! That was a bargain for me, when I value 2 whole days of my time at significantly more than $30. Pretty sure my hourly rate is at least $40.
What I did decide to make was the pancakes. I figured I should at least make that, otherwise, it can’t make the blog. Surprisingly easy once you’ve gone through the pain of doing it the first time. In hindsight, the next time I do it, I will get a pasta rolling machine to do my rolling for me. After reading the recipe, the process sounds crazy at first, but try it, you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Ben thought it was impossible to roll two slabs of dough together and not have a disaster, but he was wrong, and he admitted it!
Serves: 10 – 12 people, about 3-4 pancakes per person
Preparation time: 1.5 hours (this is mostly because of the rolling)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Source: Adapted from http://www.abc.net.au/tv/pohskitchen/stories/s2964593.htm
1 whole BBQ duck from a kind Asian BBQ restaurant – sliced on the diagonal into thin strips to add to the pancake
1 cucumber sliced into batons 7cm long and .5cm thick
Hoi sin/plum/san choi bau (store bought sauce)
8 spring onions, white part only cut into 7cm batons and quartered lengthways
440g plain flour
300 – 340ml boiling water
1 tsp salt
Sesame oil for basting
extra flour for dusting
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and water roughly with a fork until the ingredients start to come together. Then scrunch the mixture together with your hands. At first it will be hot, so you’ll need to do it in quick bursts, but as it cools you’ll be able to handle the dough with ease. When most of the dough is gathered into a mass, tip it onto the bench and knead until relatively smooth, adding a little more water or flour if required. Rest the dough under a damp tea towel for half an hour.
- Knead the dough for a further few minutes until it is smooth and not sticky. Grab a knob of dough, lightly flour it and roll to about 1.5mm thick. Use a round cookie cutter to make a round shape. With a pastry brush, brush a liberal amount of sesame oil on one disk and then place another disk on top. Pair all the disks together like this and place them under a tea towel to keep from drying out. Roll out each paired disc to about two millimetres thick and ten to twelve centimetres in diameter.
- Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and dry panfry the pancakes on both sides until dark brown dots appear on the surface. Remove from the frying pan and immediately find the seam where the two disks meet and carefully peel the two pancakes apart making sure that the steam trapped between them doesn’t burn you. Fold each pancake in half, and rest under a damp tea towel before serving. These actually store in the fridge or freezer very well but you will need to steam them before eating. Even when freshly made, you may want to steam for a few minutes in a bamboo basket to refresh and warm them before serving with the duck.
- Assemble. Pancake -> Hoisin sauce -> cucumber -> spring onion -> slices of duck. Roll it up, and consume.