Eating small birds is one of life’s true pleasures and I order this dish every time I go to Mum’s restaurant. I love it because the quail skin is always super crispy, the dressing is super tasty and somehow, this dish makes me like capsicums. On an ordinary day, I do not care for capsicums, but the way this dish is prepared is a winner. Start this recipe a day ahead.
For the marinade, whisk together the salt, Knorr Liquid Seasoning, ginger, spring onion, sherry, sugar and white pepper in a large bowl. When combined, add the quail pieces, turning them through the marinade to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but ideally for 24 hours.
For the capsicum salsa, place the diced capsicums in a bowl, add the salt and mix well. Let the mixture rest for 1 hour then drain off the water that has leached out. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over a medium–high heat, then add the garlic and fry until golden and crispy. Add the capsicums, chilli flakes, sugar and remaining vegetable oil. Stir well, remove from the heat and set aside.
The next day, add the potato starch to the marinating quail and mix everything together until the starch and marinade combine and, at the same time, coat the quail.
Fill a large wok or deep-fryer one-third full with oil and heat to 180°C (350°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the quail in batches for about 4 minutes each batch, or until golden and very crispy. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the capsicum salsa and watercress sprigs and serve with lemon cheeks on the side.
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