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Sadly, the most popular dish in British Chinese restaurants is ‘Crispy Duck’. Because of its perceived ‘exotic’ nature, most customers in restaurants and take-aways are even more removed from the reality of modern duck meat production than many consumers in supermarkets. Whilst some duck for the restaurant trade is imported from abroad, most of it comes from the same factory farms that supply the main supermarkets in the UK. That means these animals, which have evolved to live and thrive in water, are denied any opportunity to follow that most basic behavioural need and spend their entire short lives on excrement-soaked litter in industrial sheds instead of swimming, diving and feeding in fresh, running water.

However, duck sales are down - and we are determined to keep them on a downward spiral! Try out Viva!'s new cruelty-free Chinese alternative below.

Crispy Duck-friendly Pancakes

Serves 4

The Chinese have a long and honourable tradition of vegetarianism, partly because of Buddhism.   Monks weren’t supposed to eat meat because it inflamed their desires (oo-er missis), so traditional recipes were recreated using meat substitutes made from special mushrooms, tofu or seitan – made from wheat gluten. 

This very sociable dish uses mock duck or plain seitan, available from Chinese supermarkets or health stores respectively.  It’s absolutely delicious and has fooled a few meat eaters that we know!  And of course, no animal has to suffer.

PS. Seitan is pronounced ‘Satan’!

  • 1 dstsp soya sauce (use a good quality sauce such as Kikkoman or Sanchi, available from good supermarkets, health stores or delis)
  • 2 tbsp oil (sesame or rapeseed are good if you can afford them – otherwise ordinary vegetable oil will do. Just don’t use olive oil!)
  • 250g/8oz mock duck or seitan – sliced finely
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin slivers
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 12-20 rice pancakes (depending on how hungry you are!) Available from good supermarkets or Chinese stores.
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into short lengths
  • 6 spring onion, sliced into lengths
  • 6 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 lime, quartered

Check cooking instructions on rice pancakes and prepare accordingly.

  1. Assemble 5 small bowls, one medium bowl and 4 plates.
  2. Place one ingredient in each small bowl: spring onions; cucumber; sesame seeds; hoisin sauce; lime quarters.
  3. Fry onion and red pepper for 2-3 minutes in hot oil. Use a wok or large frying pan.
  4. Add mock duck/seitan and fry until it looks golden and quite crispy.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook for a minute or two until golden
  6. Add soya sauce then remove from heat.
  7. Place mock duck mixture in medium bowl.
  8. The rice pancakes should be hot at this point.
  9. Place all the bowls on the table. Give each person a plate.
  10. Each person spreads a pancake with a dab of hoisin sauce, tops it with a spoonful of mock duck mix, then adds some cucumber, spring onions and sesame seeds. Squeeze a little lime juice on the top and roll up the pancake – and eat!
  11. Repeat until all the mix has gone.

 

Still hungry for more? Check out the links below for more cruelty-free Chinese treats!

The Bitter Truth behind one of Britain’s favourite dishes

The Chinese sector – Viva!’s in-depth investigation

Try Viva!’s cruelty-free Chinese recipes!

Ducks out of water - home page

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