"Eating small birds is one of life's true pleasures and I order this dish every time I go to Mum's restaurant," says Hong. "I love it because the quail skin is always super-crisp, the dressing is super-tasty and, somehow, this dish makes me like capsicum. On an ordinary day, I don't care for capsicum, but the way this dish is prepared, it's a winner." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the quail.
- 125 ml (½ cup) Knorr Liquid Seasoning (see note)
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 100 ml dry Sherry
- 2½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 6 quails, quartered
- 175 gm potato starch (see note)
- 1 each red, green and yellow capsicum, finely diced
- 1½ tsp salt
- 3½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 1Whisk together Knorr Liquid Seasoning, sugar, Sherry, salt ginger, spring onion and white pepper in a large bowl, then add the quail pieces and turn them through the marinade to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but ideally for 24 hours.
- 2For capsicum salsa, place capsicum in a bowl, add the salt and mix well. Let mixture stand for 1 hour, then drain off the water that has leached out. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and fry until golden and crisp (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add capsicum, chilli flakes, sugar and remaining oil. Stir well, remove from the heat and set aside.
- 3The next day, add the potato starch to the marinating quail and mix until the starch and marinade combine and coat the quail. Fill a large wok or deep-fryer to a third full with oil and heat to 180C or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the quail in batches, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes each batch, or until golden and very crisp. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the capsicum salsa and watercress sprigs, and serve with lemon cheeks.
Note Knorr Liquid Seasoning and potato starch are available from Asian grocers. This recipe is from Mr Hong ($49.99, hbk), published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with GT style changes.
Drink Suggestion: A medium-bodied white wine with texture and hints of spice: I’d open an Ottin Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta, Italy. Drink suggestion by Franck Moreau