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Chinese Steamed Duck Legs with Dried Mandarin Peels (ChenPi)

This is my parents' home cooking for Chinese Steamed Duck legs with dried mandarin peels flavor. 

Some Information for Chenpi

The dried mandarin peels are called Chenpi in Chinese, (Chinese: 陈皮, pinyin: chénpí), which is used as a traditional seasoning in Chinese cooking and traditional Chinese medicine as well. Some people may make these at home such as by storing them dry.  But nowadays we can easily buy these dried mandarin peels from the local Chinese herb medicine shop.  

The dried peels have a mixed bitter and sweet taste. In fact Chenpi can also be made as a snack, which tastes sweet and sour. It helps digestion and was one of my favorite snacks when I was in China.  According to traditional Chinese medicine, Chenpi, as other dried peels of fruits, can improve digestion and poor appetite. It may also help to relieve cough.

This Chinese steamed duck recipe is based on my parents’ cooking in China. They used the pressure cooker to make this dish, which is faster than using steamer. They also use the lower part of cooker to cook a soup, so basically they can make two dishes within 30 minutes.

Why steamed or using pressure cooker? Because it means no frying so it is healthy. My parents always prefer duck than chicken because according to Chinese medicine, duck is  “cooling” food and chicken is “heating” food. (more on the "cooling" and "heating" food can be found from my other post for Chinese Duck & Potato, Chestnuts).  But you can certainly use this recipe for chicken or other type of poultry meat. The pictures used in this post were taken by my parents so some are bit shaky, but hopefully they will not affect you to use this recipe. 

Chinese Steamed Duck LegsChinese Steamed Duck Legs by Pressure Cooker

Prep Time: 15 mins + marinate overnight   Cook Time: 30 mins


•    2 duck legs
•    salt
•    ginger
•    Sichuan peppercorns
•    1 tbsp sauce wine
•    1 tbsp dark soy sauce
•    1 tsp Chinese chili bean paste
•    2 dried mandarin peels

Method for Chinese Steamed Duck Legs with Chenpi Flavor

1, 先腌制洗净的鸭腿:一汤勺盐 、姜沫、花椒、料酒, 拌匀密闭放置4至12小时以上.
2, 取出鸭腿用清水稍冲去表面浮液,用老抽涂抹于表面,放盘中放少许陈皮(可干橘皮代) 和其他自己喜欢的调味料.(胡淑粉、酱)
3, 入高压锅蒸30分钟 (锅中可放其他食材饨汤), 出锅.

•  Wash and clean the duck legs. Marinate the duck with salt, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns and sauce wine in a sealed container, for at least 4 hours. My parents normally would do this overnight.

Chinese duck legs marinate

• Once marinated, take the duck legs out from the container. Wash the surface to remove the stuff used for marinating.  Spread the dark soy sauce evenly on the surface. The dark soy sauce is used to add color to the skin. (sorry about the image was bit shaky).

Chinese Duck Legs Marinated

•  Place the one or two Chenpi in the plate and put duck on top of Chenpi. If you don’t have Chenpi, you may use the dried tangerine (mandarin) peels. You may also add the flavor you prefer to this dish, such as peppers or other sauce you like.

Chinese dried mandarin peels

• My parents used the pressure cooker to make this dish. They also use the pressure cooker to boil a soup underneath. As you can see the soup is made with kelp, lotus seeds, white  wood ears and goji berries. For them, using pressure cooker is a very effective way to make two dishes at the same time.

Chinese soup by pressure cooker.

•    Put the marinated duck legs at the upper level of the pressure cooker. Cook for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Chinese Steamed Duck Legs by pressure cookerChinese Steamed Duck Legs by Pressure Cooker


Here is what my mum highly recommended, keep the duck skin because it helps to keep the moist so the meat will be tender; otherwise, the meat may taste bit dry and like “wood” (that’s how my mum describe it). I know some people do not like to eat the skin. If that is the case, you may remove the skin once cooked. 

There is another recipe from my parents called Chinese Duck Radish Soup (with videos) which also used the Chengpi. You may click the link to see more details on that post.

Hope you like this recipe for Chinese Steamed Duck Legs with Chenpi flavour. Please like it on Facebook and share with friends. If you want to see more Chinese home cooking, please visit my Youtube channel for more home cooking videos.

(Post: 14/02/17)

You may also like our family cooking for more Chinese meat recipes:

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