World Cuisine

  • 4 x 125 g (4 oz) quails
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • rind of 1 orange
  • lime wedges

Cut each quail into quarters, using a cleaver or kitchen shears, then dry well on kitchen paper. Combine the Chinese five-spice powder, salt, cornflour and plain flour in a large bowl, then toss in the quail quarters.

Pour enough oil into the wok to deep-fry the quail, and heat it to 190°C (375°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 20 seconds. Deep-fry half the quail pieces for 4–5 minutes, until golden and crisp, then remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Fry the remaining quail pieces in the same way and set aside.

Drain away all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Return the wok to the heat and add the garlic and ginger, stirring well. Pour in the soy sauce, orange juice, rice wine and water. Stir in the sugar and, once it has dissolved, toss in the fried quail pieces. Cook, stirring, until the pieces are well coated in a velvety sauce, then remove from the heat and toss in the lime juice. Serve with a scattering of spring onions and the orange rind, with lime wedges on the side.

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