Crisp Soy Squab

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About


  • 1 or more 1-pound squabs
  • 1 recipe Soy Sauce Braising Liquid
  • Malt-sugar mixture (1 part malt sugar or honey to 4 parts boiling water)
  • 4 cups peanut oil for deep-frying


  • Braising, deep-frying
  • Tie a piece of string around the bird’s neck to help you remove it from the braising liquid and to hang it to dry.

  • Tuck the wing tips in back to keep them from swinging free. This saves trussing.

  • Plunge the whole squab into boiling water for 2 minutes to rid the bird of scum and help pull the skin taut.

  • Drain the squab over the water. Braise in Soy Sauce Braising Liquid for 15 minutes. Hang the squab to dry over a bowl for 1 hour, then paint it with the malt-sugar mixture.

  • Just before serving, heat the oil in a wok. When it is moderately hot (350 degrees), add the squab. Deep-fry to brown the skin (about 5 minutes). (Save the strained oil for another use, but only with fowl.)

Cutting Up Small Poultry

Once cut into pieces that are manageable with chopsticks, the bird is reassembled to look whole for presentation. Other small poultry, such as Cornish hens and quail, can be cut up in the same manner.

  • One squab per person as a main course.
  • May be prepared in advance through step 4.
  • Suggested Beverage: Cabernet Sauvignon, rich Zinfandel, or Bordeaux

  1. Begin by cutting off the legs and thighs at the thigh joint. Cut off the wings.

  2. Cut the squab in half lengthwise, separating the backbone from the breast section.

  3. Cut the back into 1-inch sections and set them on a plate.

  4. Cut the breast into 1-inch sections and set them on top of the pieces of back.

  5. Reassemble the wings and thighs with the rest of the body.

  6. Add the head.

  7. Two squabs side by side on a serving plate, their parts reassembled, garnished with cut lemon. Roasted salt and pepper is often served for dipping.