Vegan crispy duck? Oh yes! Seasoned roasted cauliflower makes an easy and delicious meat substitution. I’ve then added easy homemade pancakes and plum sauce. This is a delicious vegan homemade version of the classic Chinese takeout dish.
Vegan Crispy ‘Duck’
Here’s a vegan version of Chinese crispy duck – with five-spice seasoned, slow-roasted cauliflower instead of meat!
Shredding the cauliflower and then re-roasting it makes it soft yet crispy – perfect for topping homemade Chinese pancakes.
While the marinated cauliflower is roasting in the oven, it’s easy to make a tangy, spiced plum sauce. Just cook it all until soft and puree with a hand blender and you have a delicious sauce miles better than store-bought.
Homemade Chinese Pancakes
It’s also very quick and easy to make the pancakes.
They’re simply flour and boiling water mixed into a dough, rolled and pan-fried for 30 seconds on each side.
The warm pancakes are amazing topped with the plum sauce and vegan crispy duck (cauliflower) and some fresh spring onion and cucumber matchsticks.
Homemade takeout bliss.
If you love vegan Chinese dishes, be sure to also try my pan-fried Asian Tofu with Sticky Garlic Sauce.
This post was originally published Sept 2017. Updated Jan 2020 with new photos and information. The recipe remains the same.
For this vegan Chinese recipe, you just need these simple ingredients.
For the cauliflower crispy ‘duck’:
Chinese 5-spice (an aromatic blend of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and fennel)
For the homemade Chinese pancakes:
You can buy your own in many supermarkets or Chinese supermarkets, but they’re actually really easy to make!
Oil (olive, canola, sunflower etc..)
For the plum sauce:
Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t have fresh cauliflower, frozen works well too.
- You can buy store-bought plum sauce, or use the recipe below to make your own in minutes.
- Chinese pancakes can be bought in many large grocery stores or Chinese supermarkets, but you can easily make your own – just scroll down for the recipe in the recipe card.
- Try it served with Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach
Vegan Dinner Recipes
Although my husband and kids aren’t veggie, we tend to eat a lot of vegan meals at home.
Getting as many vegetables into a meal as I can is important to me, and I really enjoy creating veg-filled veganized dishes that the whole family love.
My husband has often had crispy duck from the local Chinese takeout, but he said that he preferred my cauliflower version as it tastes very similar but wasn’t fatty or greasy.
In fact, he put this recipe into our regular meal plan rotation.
Check out these other tasty vegan dinner recipes:
Why you’ll love this Vegan Crispy Duck recipe
- Full of bold Chinese flavours
- Healthier than a takeout
- The cauliflower gets a lovely crispy pulled texture
- Perfect for Chinese New Year or any night!
- Homemade Chinese pancakes are really easy to make with just two ingredients!
- Use store-bought plum sauce or make your own in minutes.
- Double-roasted pulled cauliflower gets wonderfully crispy on all the exposed edges.
- Chinese five-spice adds loads of great flavour to the cauliflower.
Cauliflower crispy ‘duck’
By using cauliflower, you still have the texture that you’d expect from crispy duck, but without all the grease or it being, well, meat.
Shredding the soft roasted cauliflower and then re-roasting it means it gets extra crispy on all those exposed edges. Delicious!
The stalk works great for shredding, so be sure to use it as well.
I marinaded the cauliflower in typical crispy duck seasonings of maple syrup (traditionally honey is used by it isn’t vegan) and Chinese five-spice.
Five-spice is an aromatic blend of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, cinnamon and cloves. It brings together all five flavours – sweet, sour, bitter, umami and salty.
You can easily find it premixed in the spice aisle. I adore the way it’s at once sweet and savoury. In fact, I used it in a carrot cake! Try my Carrot Chinese Five Spice Cake with Orange Icing.
You’ll also love my Asian Tofu with spicy garlic sauce.
Get the recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Crispy ‘Duck’
If you make this recipe, please tag it with #veggiedesserts on Instagram or other social media. I LOVE seeing your recreations of my recipes!
Vegan Crispy Duck (Cauliflower) and Pancakes
For the vegan cauliflower crispy 'duck'
- 1 head of cauliflower (or 550g/19oz frozen florets, defrosted slightly)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (olive, sunflower, canola)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
For the pancakes
- 2 cups (200g) plain flour
- 1 cup (230ml) boiling water
- 1 tsp cooking oil
For the plum sauce
- 6 ripe plums
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tsp ginger grated
- 1 star anise
- ½ cucumber cut into long thin strips
- 3 spring onions cut into long thin strips
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. In a large bowl, mix the maple syrup, oil, soy sauce and five-spice. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat thoroughly. Allow to marinade for 15 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower to a large baking tray and roast for 35 minutes or until soft but crispy on the outside.
- Shred the cauliflower with two forks, then return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the plum sauce.
- Halve and stone the plums (don't peel them), then chop into large pieces and add them, along with all the other plum sauce ingredients to a pan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until the plums are cooked and soft.
- Remove the star anise, then puree with a hand-held stick blender or with a potato masher.
For the pancakes
- In a bowl, mix the flour, boiling water and oil with a spatula to form a dough.
- When it’s cool enough to handle, knead by hands for a few minutes until it’s smooth and elastic, then roll the dough into eight equal-sized balls. Roll each piece out very thinly (you may need to lightly flour the work surface).
- Heat a dry frying pan and cook each pancake for half a minute on each side, so they’re lightly cooked but aren’t browned. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Serve the pancakes topped with plum sauce, cauliflower crispy ‘duck’, cucumber and spring onions.
- If you don't have fresh cauliflower, frozen works well too.
- You can buy store-bought plum sauce, or use the recipe above to make your own in minutes.
- Chinese pancakes can be bought in many large grocery stores or Chinese supermarkets, but you can easily make your own - just scroll up for the recipe in the recipe card.