I'm very fond of quail. This dish is rich and deep in flavour yet still manages to remain clean and summery. You will need to start preparing a day ahead, as the quail needs to marinate overnight.
1 litre/1¾ pints water
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
125g/4oz Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
For the marinade
3 tbsp light soya sauce
3 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp hot bean sauce
1 tsp five-spice powder (try making your own: an equal mix of cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel seeds and star anise roasted in the oven and pounded to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar)
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fermented bean curd
For the salad
red cabbage, shredded
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
A small bunch of coriander, leaves only
2 limes, cut into wedges
Place the quail on a board. Cut each bird down the backbone and press flat with your hand to butterfly them. Bring the water to the boil and add the ginger and Chinese wine. Return to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the quail and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and leave the quail to cool in the broth.
Meanwhile, make the marinade. Blend all of the ingredients together with 125ml/4fl oz of the quail broth. Remove the quail from the broth and rub with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, half an hour before you are ready to start the barbecue, remove the quail from the fridge. When the barbecue is ready, drain the quail, reserving the excess marinade, and place it on the grill, skin-side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and grill for 30 seconds on the underside.
Toss the cabbage, shallots and coriander together and place on a plate. Lay the quail on top and spoon the reserved marinade over the top. Serve immediately.