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Hainanese-style quail April 29, 2012

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Game.

Goodness gracious it has been a while between posts. As you may have seen if you follow me on twitter, at the start of April, we moved house. Once the initial house-moving was over, I sat on the couch for a while wondering what had just happened (and how many boxes there were still to unpack). As usual, I realised I should have followed Nero Wolfe’s lead and never step foot out of the residence – let alone consider moving the residence. I have at least now determined that my moving days are over and I am not moving ever again, so will definitely follow Nero Wolfe’s advice in this regard.

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom, of course. Our new house has space, and light – and a large counter in the kitchen. There is room for all my Nero Wolfe books and my cookbooks (and all the other books too), and so far my cake decorating supplies all fit in one spot. I’ll have some pics of the new place quite soon, but for now I have a couple of things I made before we moved that I never posted – I stupidly thought that I would continue posting during the moving period which of course didn’t happen. First up is this hainanese-style quail.

Hainanese chicken rice is of course a favoured dish in Singapore (among other places) and is definitely a comfort food. I decided to do a version of this using quail. To start with, I brined the quail for a short period of time – about 2 hours. I didn’t bother to rinse them but instead submerged them in almost boiling water for about 20 minutes to cook them. I added some bay leaves and peppercorns to the water.

As I had to cook the quail in batches, I started on the sauce at this time. The sauce is one of my favourites and is super simple: sesame oil, salt and spring onions. I heated the sesame oil until the salt had dissolved and then added the spring onions.

One of the things I like about this sauce is that some of the spring onions end up crispy and fried, and the rest ends up soft and cooked but not crispy. To be honest, I could pretty much eat this sauce by itself, I like it so much.

Once the quail were all cooked, instead of rice, I started some pearl couscous in the water (now broth) I’d cooked the quail in. In the last stages I used the steam from the couscous to steam some bok choi to serve with the quail.

I was very pleased with how the quail turned out. They were juicy and flavoursome from the brining, but not overly so, and the sesame oil and spring onion mix was a great sauce. With quail being a little gamier-tasting than chicken, I actually thought the sauce went even better with the quail than with the chicken (which is plain, and the sauce sometimes overwhelms). The pearl couscous had absorbed the flavour of the broth and all in all this was a very nice dish.

It is clear in many of the stories that Nero Wolfe is a fan of small birds such as quail and starling. While he has his own favourite preparations I would like to think that he would at least try this different type of preparation and perhaps even begrudgingly admit it is worth eating.




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