Mango-Cucumber Salsa and Duck Taco

It's been about a week since I came back from a much-needed vacation in St. Croix.  While I was there, I ate some delicious mangoes which made me think about the tropical salsa I made for my graduation buffet a few years ago.  I paired it with roasted five-spice duck and Chinese pancakes.   The tropical salsa I made had mangoes and pineapples but this time I only used mangoes.  I also added scallions and cucumbers to the salsa which is the traditional condiment to pair with the duck and Chinese pancakes.  I rarely make a recipe the same each time so I thought I would switch it up again, and fry the pancakes so it has the extra crunch, and it's similar to a crispy taco.  This salsa is very versatile.  It is great with chips and if you don't like duck, it also pairs well with chicken, fish or shrimp.

Mango Cucumber Salsa - Yield 2 Cups
1 large ripe mango - peeled, pitted and finely diced
1/2 of English seedless cucumber - finely diced
1 jalapeno - stemmed seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup of cilantro - chopped
4 stalks of scallions - diced (white parts and little bit of the green parts)
3 sprigs of mint - chiffonade
1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp of lime juice
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, season with salt and pepper.  Reserve while preparing the duck and pancakes.  The salsa should marinate for at least 30 minutes to develop flavor in room temperature before serving.
Chinese Pancakes - Yield 8 pancakes (serves 2)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of boiling water with a pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
1/4 cup of vegetable oil for frying

Put the flour in a mixing bowl then add boiling water in with the flour and mix quickly.  Next, add the sesame and vegetable oil.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until everything is combined and dough is pliable.   Let the dough rest for a few minutes.  Flour the rolling surface then roll the dough with your hands into a log and cut into eight pieces.  Cover all the pieces with a damp towel to prevent from drying.  Work one piece at a time; turn each piece into its flat surface.  Using the palm of your hand press down and flatten the dough.  Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a 5-6 inch circle.  Sprinkle a sheet pan with flour and cover the pancakes with a damp cloth while finishing the other pieces.  Once the pancakes are made, fry them in vegetable oil until golden brown.
Chines Five Spice Pan-seared Duck Breast (serves 2)
1 mallard duck breast
1/2 tsp of Chinese five-spice powder
1-2 tbsp of hoisin sauce as needed
Salt and pepper
Score the duck skin in a diamond pattern make sure it doesn't cut too deep into the meat.  Pat dry the meat then in a hot skillet, put the duck breast down skin side first.  Lower the heat to render the fat slowly.  Once the fat is rendered, the skin starts to crisp, take the breast out and drain the fat.  (I always reserve the duck fat.  It's great to use it to roast or fry potatoes.)  Season the duck breast with the five-spice powder, salt and pepper.  Put the heat to medium and place the duck breast skin side down and continue to cook for a few minutes until the skin is nice and crispy.  Turn over and cook the other side for another few minutes until the duck is medium rare.  You could take its temperature with a meat thermometer.  It should have an internal temperature of at least 135-140 degrees for medium rare.  Take the duck out and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into thin pieces.

To assemble the duck taco, spread a thin layer of hoisin on one piece of pancake then add a few pieces of duck, top it with the mango-cucumber salsa.  Finish with another crispy pancake on top.  Make another set of pancakes and put it on top of the first one for a pretty presentation.  This may look delicate to eat but feel free to pick these up by your hands and eat it like a sandwich.  The crispiness of the duck skin, the pancakes combine with the sweetness and spiciness of the salsa as well as the saltiness hoisin and the duck gives you a perfect bite.  Wow I just can't get enough of these!

As to the leftover salsa, you could cook your favorite grain (quinoa, couscous, Israeli couscous or rice), mix it with the salsa, and you have yourself another meal.  If you crave some protein, add some grill chicken or shrimp.  Enjoy!

By the way in case you haven't seen it, I thought I'll leave you with a recent interview of me conducted by FriendsEat, let me know what you think!


  1. Salsa in general is a weakness of mine, add mango to it and it's over! It's a dish that screams summer or St. Croix :)

  2. Can you please make this when we come visit? I'll bring watermelon sangria to wash it down!

  3. Thanks Ethan! I'll make sure I'll bring you salsa if and when you visit NYC which I hope it's in your plans soon.

    Jax, of course I can especially for watermelon sangria!

  4. Am I weird for staring at how deliciously crispy your chinese pancakes look?

  5. Thanks Hazel! They are super delicious. I made extra so I've been eating it with the salsa.

  6. OMGoodness, this is truly mouth watering. Both Jonathan and I love duck and the mango cucumber salsa looks sublime! Great job Margaret!!

  7. Now THAT'S what I call a taco! Holy cow.

  8. This looks delicious! But I hope you know, I hate cooking but enjoy eating...I have to see how to manage making this for my husband! :)

  9. Yummy!! I love your salsa! I'm sure a trip to St. Croix would inspire most people to make a tropical salsa like this :) So jealous, haha. I think the duck is a great compliment to the salsa too. I hope you're doing well! I have been out of NY for a bit but am hoping to be back. Will have to catch up with you (God willing) in the near future :)


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