Roasted Squab Pigeon in Chinese Style with crispy and glossy skin, tender and juicy meat and amazingly fragrance is a part of celebration dish such as Chinese New Year, wedding, birthday etc. This Cantonese-style (Hong Kong) pigeon squab is usually braised with five spice powder, soy sauce, vinegar and rice wine and then roasted until the skin is crispy skin and meat is tender. The vivid red color skin is usually derived from food coloring or red yeast rice (angkak), while the glossy skin is derived from maltose or honey. Another secret recipe for crispy and glossy Chinese roasted pigeon squab is blanching the skin with hot oil before roasting. This technique is slighly diffrent from my previously recipe Roasted Pigeon (Squab) with Spicy Szechuan Style Honey Glaze.
Squab is a junvenile domestic pigeon or its meat that reached the mature size but not even started to learn to fly yet. Pigeon or dove squab commercially sold live in Chinese market to assure freshness, but here in Indonesia, i used to spot it in pasar burung or bird market. Actually i’m not buying the pigeon squab in the market, but i got the pigeon farm contact and location from the seller and i can pick my live squab there. i love to roast pigeon squab in Buddist-cut (retain their head and feet) instead New York style or Confucian slaughter pigeon squab (retain their entrails, head and feet).
Making delicious roasted squab with crispy skin and juicy meat is quite tricky, you should pick the fat ones or you’ll got a dry and tought roasted squab. If you buy the raw squab carcass, the good sign of fatty squab is a thick layer of fat covering it’s the internal organ when the bucther cut open the abdomen. Id you lucky enoughtto access the live stock, you should pick the squab which still got remaining junvenile tiny feathers and when you try to catch the bird in the cage, the squab is not even try to fly away from you. Once a squab has fledged, its weight decreases significantly. My squab is weighted about 350 grams, pretty huge for local pigeon.
Roasted Squab Pigeon in Chinese (Cantonese) Style recipe and step by step instruction is similiar with making peking duck, but the skin inflate (blown) step is skipped. Right after you slaughtered the pigeon or thawed the frozen ones, pat dry it and then seasoned the pigeon squab cavity with salt and five spice powder. After that the squab skin is coated (i choose to blanced it) with maltose, red yeast rice and soy sauce coating. Hang or pur it in the rack to dry it overnight in the frigdge. You could basting the skin for about two or three times with smoking hot oil and then roast it until the skin is crisp up in 180°C for about 20-30 minutes. I suggest u using rotisserie oven for the best roasted pigeon squab.
Never even think to roast the matured pigeon or dove for about because it’s meat is tougher than squab. The older pigeon requires a long period of stewing or basting-roasting to tenderize. In Indonesian cuisine, especially Sundanese and Javanese, squab (and also the matur pigeon ) is usually spiced with garlic, shallots coriander,and turmeric. The following step for seasoned pigeon is ungkep or stewed covered with enought additional water to tenderize and then deep fried in smoking hot coconut oil. It is served with sambal chilli sauce, tempeh, tofu, vegetables, and steamed ricel (rice wrapped in banana leaf). The other famous preparation among Indonesian chinese descent called Burung Dara Goreng Mentega or buttered squab. The Squab is marinated with lemon lime. worchestershire sauce then deep fried, drained and tossed with sauteed garlic with butter and the rest of the marinade ingredient.
Roasted Pigeon Recipe :
4 squab pigeon, pat dry
Roasted Pigeon Marinade Recipe :
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chinese five spice powder (ngohiang) seasoning
Roast Pigeon Coating Glaze Recipe :
- 3 tbsp chinese soy sauce
- 1/2 cup tbsp shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp red yeast (angkak), processed into powder
- 2 tbsp maltose (you can replace with honey)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 star anise, crushed
- 1/2 cup water
How to make chinese style roasted squab glaze for:
- Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan, bring to boil
- Reduce the heat into simmer, let it thicken into half the original amount.
How to make Roast Pigeon Squab :
- Apply the salt all over the pigeon, including it’s cavity
- Apply the chinese five spice powder inthe cavity
- Blanch or basting the glaze only to the pigeon squab skin over and over again until it well coated, repeat untill all squab is glazed
- Put the glazed pigeon squab in a metal rack, you can either refrigerate it overnight or exposed it to the chilling fan until the skin is dry
- Firstly in the morning or once the squab skin dry, preheat oven 180°C
- Put the squab into the rottiserie oven, let it roast about 20-25 minutes (depend on your squab size)
- Increase the heat to 220°C, roast another 5 minutes, you should watch over your squab to prevent it burned out
- Carved your roasted pigeon squab and served immediately
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