4jumbo quail, butterflied and halved lengthways200 mllight soy sauce100 mlchicken stock40 gmcaster sugar2 piecesorange rind, removed with a peeler10 gm(2cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced1star anise, coarsely crushedFor deep-frying:vegetable oil1 tsp eachChinese five-spice and dried chilli flakes¼iceberg lettuce, cut into thin wedges½telegraph cucumber, cut into 4cm batonsTo serve:lime wedges and coriander sprigs
Place quail in a single layer in a non-reactive dish and set aside. Combine soy sauce, stock, sugar, orange peel, ginger and star anise in a small saucepan, stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cool, pour half over quail and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Return remaining mixture to heat and cook until syrupy (5-7 minutes), strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided frying pan to 180C. Combine five-spice, chilli and 2 tbsp sea salt flakes in a small bowl and set aside. Drain quail (discard marinade) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Deep-fry in batches until golden and crisp (3-4 minutes). Toss through reduced marinade, season with five-spice salt and serve with lettuce, cucumber, lime and coriander.
This recipe is from the December 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.