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Chinese-Style Grilled Squab

Serve these birds right off the grill or at room temperature. Plate on a bed of fresh cilantro leaves and enjoy the fragrance. Either pintade or Cornish hens may be substituted.

4 squab or pintade, about 12 ounces each, or 4 Cornish hens, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons plum sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bunches fresh cilantro

Heat the grill or broiler. Pat the birds dry inside and out with paper towels. Blend together the salt and five-spice powder. Sprinkle a pinch into each cavity and rub the remainder over the birds. The birds can be grilled immediately or refrigerated overnight.

Stir together the hoisin sauce, plum sauce and minced garlic. Set aside.

Grill the birds over a medium-hot fire for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until the birds are almost done -- the juices will be a dark rosy color when the breasts are poked with a fork. Turn the birds breast side up and brush with the sauce. Continue grilling for 5 minutes, or until the juices run a rosy color.

Trim of long stems from the cilantro and spread the leaves on a platter. Arrange the birds on top of the cilantro and serve right away.

"Wild About Game" by Janie Hibler

Thursday, June 10, 1999

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