- 3 - tablespoons soybean oil or corn oil
- 2 - scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 - garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 - 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 3 - star anise pods
- 1 - teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
- 1 - cup soy sauce
- 1/2 - cup sake or dry sherry
- 1 - tablespoon sugar
- 4 - Cornish hens (about 1 pound each) Coconut-Pineapple Sweet Rice (recipe follows)
Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the scallions, the smashed garlic, the ginger slices, the star anise, and the Szechwan peppercorns, and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant and the vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sake, sugar, and 1 cup water, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add the hens to the casserole, breast sides up. Cover, reduce the heat to moderately low, and simmer, turning hens every 10 minutes, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the hens stand covered in the casserole for 10 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter; cover loosely with foil and keep warm. Strain the braising liquid and skim off the fat.
Set the hens on individual plates and mound the Coconut-Pineapple Sweet Rice alongside. Serve with a little of the soy braising liquid.
*Represented by permission of Susanna Foo, Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine.