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Five Spice Red Braised Pigeons

4 x pigeons each weighing about 225g
400 ml dark soy sauce
150 ml light soy sauce
2 tbl five spice powder
150 ml dry sherry or rice wine
50 gm sugar
2 tbl spring onions finely chopped
1 tbl fresh ginger finely chopped

Blanch the pigeons by immersing them in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and discard the water.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and then add the pigeons.

Cover the pot and braise the birds over a low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until they are tender. Then remove the pigeons with a slotted spoon and let them cool. (The braising sauce may be saved and frozen for the next time you cook this dish.)

Chop the pigeons into bite sized pieces and arrange them on a warm serving platter.

Sprinkle the garnish ingredients on top and serve at once.

If you want to serve the dish cold let the pieces cool and then sprinkle them with the garnish ingredients.

Refrigerate them well wrapped in clingfilm until you are ready to serve them.

In this recipe the five spice powder gives the pigeons a delicious flavour while the soy braising sauce endows them with a rich brown colour. Chinese cooks often blanch pigeons before braising them to rid them of any impurities. Braising is a good technique to use as it keeps the pigeons moist. If you prefer you can substitute quails or other small game birds. This dish is excellent served cold and is perfect for an exotic picnic.

Serves 2

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