Crisp Egyptian pigeon with coriander salt

Crisp Egyptian pigeon with coriander salt

By
From
Moorish
Serves
4
Photographer
Mark Roper

In Hong Kong the Chinese are true masters of cooking birds such as pigeon and duck. While he was cooking there in the 1980s Greg learned the trick of rubbing salt into the birds’ skins the day before cooking, so that it permeates the skin and helps make the final result even more fragrant and crisp.

The poaching stock used for the pigeon in this recipe is a real joy. Not only is it deliciously aromatic and a glorious golden colour, but it can be strained, frozen and recycled almost indefinitely.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 pigeons
2 tablespoons Coriander salt
280ml vegetable oil, for frying

Poaching stock

Quantity Ingredient
2 large onions, quartered
garlic, crushed
celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cinnamon
saffron
1 small red chilli, split
3 cardamom pods, cracked
coriander, including stems
5 tablespoons honey
3 litres chicken stock or water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Shredded carrot salad
Toum, (optional)

Method

  1. Use a heavy knife to trim away the claws and cut off the wing tips. Pull away any feathers that are still clinging to the skin. Rub half the coriander salt into the pigeon, making sure you get into every little crack and crevice. Cover the birds and refrigerate them for at least 24 hours.
  2. To make the poaching stock, put the onions and garlic into a saucepan with the celery, cinnamon powder and stick, saffron, chilli, cardamom, coriander and honey. Pour on the water, bring it to the boil and reduce by a third. Now add the pigeon and salt and return to the boil. Cover the pan and lower the heat, then simmer gently for 20 minutes. When testing to see if the meat is tender, pierce the leg rather than the breast. If there is a little resistance and the juices are a faint pink, then the birds are done.
  3. When the pigeons are cooked, remove them from the poaching stock and allow them to steam dry in the open air for 60 minutes, or even better, overnight.
  4. Dust the birds with the remaining coriander salt. Heat the oil until moderately hot in a wok and cook the pigeon, no more than 2 at a time, turning them around in the oil as they colour. After about 5 minutes they should have turned a glossy mahogany. Remove the birds from the oil and sit them on kitchen paper for a couple of minutes to drain away excess oil. Serve a whole bird per person as a main meal, with more of the coriander salt for dipping. Accompany the birds with shredded carrot salad and, if you like, a drizzle of toum.
Tags:
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Moorish
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