Five-Spice Duck with Noodles

Duck isn’t a meat that I usually cook with. It has a reputation of being quite fatty, which it is – but that isn’t really a bad thing. As with other meats fat generally means flavour (and rather delicious crispy skin!). Just think about the the duck you get from a Chinese restaurant and you know exactly what I mean!

On that note, duck also feels like one of those meats that “other people” eat. I’m not talking about the takeaway shredded duck here, rather when you have duck as part of meal it’s considered to be a little bit posh. You know what I mean, right? We all have an opinion, rightly or wrongly, of anyone who has duck (or goose) at Christmas instead of turkey.

I suspect some of it comes down to our peculiar British sensibilities with certain foods. Duck, like rabbit, is an animal we see as cute and fluffy in a way that cows, pigs and sheep aren’t. Surely you couldn’t eat one, right? As a result you don’t see it in the shops all that often – and when you do it’s generally quite expensive. Supply and demand, and all that!

Though in recent weeks it feels like there’s been a glut of it on the chiller shelves. There have been some really good deals on duck at our local supermarket. When you can pick up two generous breast fillets for under a fiver you’d be mad to turn down the opportunity.

It’s allowed me to play around in the kitchen with what feels like a new ingredient – which is always fun! I’ve made a few duck dishes recently. Duck with a port and orange sauce went down very well – plus it used up some of the leftovers of the festive booze stash rather nicely.

Here I’ve headed down the Chinese-inspired path, as you can probably tell from the name of this recipe! As duck has quite a rich flavour it pairs well with the flavours of Chinese Five Spice. The fresh pungent flavours of fennel, cinnamon, pepper, star anise and cloves – all spicy, warming and almost sweet – hold their own alongside the tender flesh and crisp skin.

Admittedly it’s not a very original recipe and you’ll see lots of variations of these flavours together. But when things work so well why force yourself to do something different for the sake of it? As they say: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Five-Spice Duck with Noodles

Chinese Five-Spice is a perfect companion for duck, with its fresh star anise flavour a lovely balance against the rich meat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Duck, Noodles, Poultry
Servings: 2
Calories: 635kcal


For the Stir Fry Sauce

  • 6 tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Root Ginger finely grated
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

For the Duck

  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • 3 tsp Chinese Five Spice

For the Noodles

  • 120 g Dried Medium Noodles
  • ½ Red Onion peeled and sliced
  • 50 g Shitake Mushrooms sliced
  • 50 g Baby Sweetcorn sliced
  • 50 g Baby Pak Choi
  • 50 g Mangetout halved
  • 2 Spring Onions finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds


  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Place a heavy baking tray in the oven to warm up.
  • Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and put to one side until needed.
  • Score the fat on the duck breasts, making sure to not cut into the underlying meat. Sprinkle over half of the Chinese five spice, then rub into the fat. Turn the duck over and rub the remaining Chinese five spice onto the other side.
  • Heat a large, dry frying pan over a medium heat. Place the duck breasts into the pan, skin side down, and fry for 4-5 minutes until the fat has turned golden brown and some has rendered out into the pan.
  • Turn the duck over and cook for a further minute, before transferring to the baking tray. Roast the duck for 10-15 minutes until cooked through to your preference. When cooked, remove and cover with foil, allowing the meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Put the dried noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Put to one side for 5 minutes until rehydrated and softened.
  • Meanwhile, return the pan to the heat and add the sliced onion. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften, then add the mushrooms and baby corn. Stir fry for a further minute or two, then add in the mangetout and pak choi.
  • Stir to mix, then add the noodles followed by the sauce. Toss until everything is coated with the sauce and heated through.
  • Divide the mixture between two plates, then top with the sliced duck breast. Sprinkle over the spring onions and sesame seeds before serving.


Estimated Values per Serving
of which Saturates4g
of which Sugars32g
Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.

Scott Silverthorn

Hi, I’m Scott. I love cooking food and I love eating it - both useful credentials for writing a food blog! I get a lot of joy from sharing my passion with my friends and family, so here's hoping you enjoy it too.

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