Crisp egyptian pigeon with coriander salt

Serves 4
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4 x pigeon squabs or 4 x squabs
2 tablespoons coriander salt (see below)
280ml vegetable oil for frying

4 x pigeon squabs or 4 x squabs
2 tablespoons coriander salt (see below)
280ml vegetable oil for frying

Poaching Stock
2 large onions, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, diced
1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
15 threads saffron
1 bullet chilli, split
3 pods cardamom, cracked
1 small bunch coriander (cilantro), including stems
3 tablespoons honey
3 litres water
3/ 4 teaspoon sea salt

Trim away the claws and cut off the wing tips. Pull away any extra feathers. Rub half the coriander salt into the pigeon, making sure you get into every crack. Cover and refrigerate birds for 24 hours.

For the poaching stock, put the onions and garlic into a saucepan with the celery, cinnamon powder and stick, saffron, chilli, cardamom, coriander and honey. Pour on the water, bring to the boil and reduce by a third. Add the pigeon and salt and return to boil. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When the pigeons are cooked, remove them from the poaching stock and leave them in the open air for 10 minutes.

Dust the birds with coriander salt. Heat oil in a wok and cook the pigeon, no more than two at a time, turning them around in the oil as they colour. After five minutes they should have turned a glossy mahogany. Remove the birds from the oil and sit them on kitchen paper to drain oil.

Coriander Salt (makes 60g)
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons sea salt

Lightly roast, grind and sieve the coriander and cumin seeds. Grind the salt. Heat a non-stick pan and warm the salt, coriander and cumin powders together so they merge into one fragrant powder.

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