8 fresh brown quail - butterflied/spatchcocked
6 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black peppercorns - crushed
4 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or Japanese mirin
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
2 small fresh chillies - finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons plain flour
sunflower oil - for cooking
1 whole lemon - quartered
3 bunches bok choy or Chinese vegetable - chopped
1½-2 cups basmati rice
¼ cup coconut milk
hot chilli sauce or sambal - to taste (optional side for hot food lovers)
Chinese oyster sauce (optional accompaniment drizzled over vegetables)
1 Mix the salt, crushed peppercorns, Chinese five spice, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine/mirin, garlic and chilli in a bowl. Marinate the quail in the mix and refrigerate for a few hours, or preferably overnight, periodically turning and brushing the mix over the birds.
2 Start to boil or steam your rice.
3 Remove the quail from the marinade, coat each quail with flour and dust off any excess.
4 Quarter-fill a wok with sunflower oil and heat to around 180C. Fry the quail for about 2-3 minutes each side. You can cook a little longer to suit tastes, but avoid overcooking. Transfer the quail to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil and cover with foil.
5 Remove most of the oil from the wok, fry the bok choy for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl and drizzle with oyster sauce.
6 When the rice is almost ready, add the coconut milk, stir well, then cook, covered, for a few minutes to allows the coconut milk to infuse the rice.
7 Serve the quail with the rice and bok choy, garnish with a piece of lemon and accompany with a nice chilled white wine.