• Tea-smoked duck with Chinese pancakes and cherry sauce (China Squirrel)

This is my version of Peking duck pancakes but I'm cooking duck breasts (instead of a whole duck) that have been rubbed in a fennel salt and smoked over jasmine tea alongside a sweet-salty-tart fresh cherry sauce.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (6 votes)


Tea-smoked duck

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • ½ cup jasmine tea
  • ½ cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Chinese pancakes

  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) hot water
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, for brushing 

Cherry sauce

  • 1 handful cherries, pitted (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 125 ml (½ cup) water
  • 75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 cm piece ginger
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tsp lemon juice 

To serve

  • 4 spring onions, sliced into 10 cm batons
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 1 hour

Resting time: 20 minutes

For the tea-smoked duck, using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck with incisions about 2-3 cm apart.

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. When cooled, mix with the salt and pound in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Rub the salt mix over the duck and marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.

Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat, add the duck, skin-side down, and cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin has browned and most of the fat has rendered. Remove the duck from the pan.

Combine the tea, rice and sugar – this is your smoking mixture. Line a wok with three layers of foil and tip in the smoking mixture. Place a wire rack on top of the mixture and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Heat the wok over high heat for 10 minutes or until smoke starts to form. Quickly open the wok, place the duck on the wire rack, return the lid, reduce the heat to medium and smoke the duck for about 20 minutes. Do not open the lid during this time.

Remove the duck, cover in foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving into thin slices.

When cooled, discard the smoking mixture.

For the Chinese pancakes, combine the flour and hot water in a bowl, stirring consistently until the flour clumps (you may not need to add all the water). Carefully form into a ball of dough and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Knead the dough for 10–15 minutes or until silky smooth. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Tear off chunks of dough to form balls about 2–3 cm in diameter.

Take 2 balls of dough. Brush half of 1 ball with sesame oil and place the other ball on top. Flatten them together with the palm of your hand, making sure to keep their shape as two separate discs. Roll out to form a thin “double” pancake (you want to aim for as thin as you can get, about 2 mm for each pancake). Do not press on the rolling pin too hard or the two discs will fuse. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over low heat. Add a double pancake and cook for 1–2 minutes. When the two pancakes start to separate, flip and cook for another 1 minute. Remove and keep warm under a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. The pancakes should be served immediately or they will harden. If this happens, you can steam for a few minutes to soften.

For the cherry sauce, add all the ingredients to a saucepan, except for the lemon juice, and heat over medium. When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cherries start to break down. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.

To serve, place the duck, cherry sauce, pancakes and carrot, spring onion and chilli on separate plates and have guests roll their own pancakes.


Cook’s notes

• If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you can use a small piping nozzle. Lay the piping nozzle on a flat surface, with the tip upright. Place the cherry on the nozzle tip and push down to remove the pit.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel


This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.