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Deep Fried Pigeons

2 x pigeons each weighing about 350g
2 slc fresh ginger
900 ml groundnut oil
2 tbl dark soy sauce
2 tbl light soy sauce
150 ml dry sherry or rice wine
2 tbl honey
1 tsp salt
2 piece fresh orange peel finely chopped or dried citrus peel soaked and finely chopped
cinnamon stick or Chinese cinnamon bark
1 x star amse (optional)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

Blanch the pigeons in the boiling water for about 2 minutes.

This method helps to rid them of impurities and tightens the skin

Remove the pigeons from the pot and discard the water.

Cut the ginger into 7.5cm slices.

Combine all the braising sauce ingredients together in a large pot and bring it to the boil.

Add the pigeons and the ginger.

Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot tightly.

Let it simmer for about 11 1/2 hours until the pigeons are just tender.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and let them dry on a plate or hang them up in a cool dry airy place for at least 2 hours.

The braising liquid once cooled can be stored in a plastic container and frozen for future use.

After two hours the skin of the pigeons should feel like parchment paper.

Just before you are ready to serve them heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or large wok.

When it is hot lower in the pigeons and deep fry them until they are crisp and deep brown in colour.

Turn them over frequently with a slotted spoon so that all sides are thoroughly cooked and browned.

This should take about 10 minutes.

Drain the cooked pigeons on kitchen paper and let them cool for a few minutes.

Using a heavy cleaver or knife chop them into 46 pieces and arrange on a warm serving platter.

Serve it with rice Braised Spicy Aubergines and Roasted

Salt and Pepper.

Pigeons have a rich gamy taste. The southern Chinese like to braise them quickly let them dry and then deepfry them just before serving. The result is a moist highly flavoured pigeon with crisp skin. The secret to this dish lies in the braising liquid which is used over and over again. In some restaurants it is used for years like a vintage stock.

This dish takes time and patience but it is not difficult to make and much of the work can be done several hours in advance. It is an impressive dish for any special dinner party.

Serves 2

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