Tea-smoked Duck Summer Rolls


This summer roll recipe combines Vietnamese and Chinese cooking. Tea-smoking is a simple Chinese cooking technique that infuses the gentle aromas and flavors of Szechuan peppercorns, tea, rice and star anise into meat, and it’s delicious with waterfowl. The smoke adds a different level of complexity, and when added to Vietnamese summer rolls, you have a light appetizer, perfect for the warmer months.

You can make these rolls a few hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap to keep the rice paper moist. Or to save on work and make the experience more interactive, offer all the prepared ingredients at the table and have your guests put together their own rolls. 

Servings: 4 appetizers

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


- 4 wild duck breasts, skin on

- 1 small package rice paper

- 2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns (dried prickly ash), ground

- Sea salt

- 1 tbs. olive oil

- 4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles (thin)

- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned

- 1 English cucumber, seeds removed and julienned

- Green lettuce, shredded

- Handful of fresh cilantro

- Handful of fresh mint

Tea-Smoking Mixture

- 2 pieces of star anise, ground
- 1/3 cup of black or jasmine tea leaves
- 1/4 cup of raw white rice
- 1 tbs. brown sugar

Peanut Sauce

- 1 tsp. Huy Fong chili garlic sauce, or to taste

-  3/4 cup chicken broth

- 3 tbs. peanut butter

- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

- 1 tsp. sugar

- 1 tsp. fish sauce

- 1/2 tsp. crushed peanuts, for garnish 


Special equipment: aluminum foil, steaming basket, mortar and pestle


1. Follow package directions to cook vermicelli noodles. Then allow cooked noodles to sit in a colander to dry for at least 1 hour. Grind Szechuan peppercorns and star anise, separately. Set aside.


2. Season duck breasts with half of the ground peppercorns and salt to taste. Line a pot with aluminum foil and pour remaining ground peppercorns over the foil, along with tea leaves, ground star anise, white rice and brown sugar. Sprinkle 1 tbs. of water over the mixture and set a steaming rack inside the pot. Set aside. 




3. Coat a pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Sear duck until golden on both sides, and then place them skin side down onto the steaming basket inside the pot. Turn heat to low/medium-low and when you start to see smoking from the tea mixture underneath, close the lid and smoke the duck until internal temperature reaches about 140 degrees. Then remove duck from the “smoker” and allow to cool. 



4. To make peanut sauce, combine all peanut sauce ingredients except crushed peanuts and stir until smooth. Transfer to dipping bowls and garnish with crushed peanuts.


5. Slice smoked duck into strips. Wet rice paper and fill with duck breast pieces, julienned cucumber, carrot, lettuce, mint leaves, cilantro and vermicelli noodles. Roll tightly and serve with peanut sauce for dipping.