Duck Pancakes for Chinese New Year’s Potluck
Gong Xi Fa Cai and Gong Hey Fat Choy! Yesterday was the Chinese New Year’s Potluck co-hosted by The Diva That Ate New York and Hungry Rabbit, two people who are amazing at bringing fellow food folks together. I’ve written about the Pie Party Live and the Cookies for Kids Cancer cookie swap, which they also organized. This time, it was a massive potluck inviting us to bring Asian dishes to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Tiger Beer sponsored the event which meant that we had some sudsy refreshment to wash down all the wonderful dishes that everyone brought to share.
I brought along the Duck Pancakes, in the photo above. I started with the idea of re-creating one of my favorite dishes from Duck Chang’s in my hometown in Virginia. The Peking Duck is legendary there. It was kind of a risk for me, having never, ever even attempted before to roast a whole duck or to make the pancakes.
When I searched around on line, I found this recipe from Jamie Oliver. His Crispy Peking Duck in Pancakes turned out to be very easy to make. I used a duck that weighed about four pounds, which yielded about 3-4 cups of shredded meat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the skin nice and crispy in the oven. I ended up taking some of the skin and frying it up separately so that I could add pieces of it to the pancakes.
For the pancakes, I found this video on line at Video Jug for Chinese or Mandarin Pancakes. Initially, I was a bit doubtful, as they made it seem so easy to do, but when I tried to make them according to the directions, they actually seemed to work well. Like crêpes, the first several didn’t turn out all that well, but after a while, I managed to get the hang of them. One recipe made about 30 pancakes, plenty to serve these as an appetizer or a dinner course.
With the duck cooked and shredded and the pancakes made, it was really a matter of setting up my prep station to begin rolling up the pancakes. I’d bought Hoisin Sauce at the grocery store. I’d considered making that from scratch but wasn’t sure that I’d be able to track down all of the ingredients in the time I’d allocated for this project during the week. As it was, I made the duck the night before I needed it, in case I ended up having to do a last-minute run into Chinatown to pick one up instead.
Some sliced cucumber (de-seeded), thinly cut scallions, hoisin sauce, duck, and pancakes, and the rolling machine was set to kick into motion. As usual, I’d underestimated how much time I needed to prepare everything before I was supposed to get to the event. I needed to move quickly to get all of these done and packaged up to get across town.
A slather of sauce, some bit of green things, some hunks of meat, all fit nicely together on the pancake. I rolled them up tightly and piled them high onto a red and gold-rimmed plate in honor of the new year feast. I had made two batches of the dough, or enough for about 60 pancakes. I portioned out the duck to be able to fill all of them with at least some meat.
The pancakes were well-received, and several people told me how much they enjoyed them, asking how I put them together. Only four lone ones remained by the time I left the event a few hours later. Although this was kind of a labor-intensive project, seeing as it was the first time I’d ever even attempted to do something like this, I would definitely make these again. The pancake recipe itself was also a hit for me, and I would keep it in mind to use again to make other Chinese dishes. I hope that the rest of the Year of the Dragon is as successful as the New Year’s party was!