Stuffed quail in broth

Serves 4

Hieu has served this a few times when I've brought friends in for special occasions. He's cooked it with squab pigeon and quail on different occasions, but squab pigeons tend to cost a fortune and are difficult to get hold of.

4 oven-ready quails
60-70g minced pork
1 spring onion, trimmed and finely chopped plus 4 spring onions shredded on the angle (to garnish)
2tbsp cooked glutinous rice
Vegetable oil for frying
3-4 fresh shiitake, finely chopped
2tsp fish sauce
20g black "ear" fungus, soaked overnight in water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp clear honey
1 litre chicken stock
12-16 lotus seeds, soaked overnight in cold water, drained and roughly chopped
A few sprigs of coriander

Pre-heat the oven to 220/gas mark 7. Mix the minced pork, finely chopped spring onion, rice, shiitake and fish sauce and season. Shred half of the black fungus and gently cook in a little oil for 2-3 minutes then add to the stuffing and season. Stuff the quails with the mixture and secure the opening with a couple of cocktail sticks. Season the birds on the outside and place in a small roasting pan. Spoon over the honey and roast for about 20 minutes, basting every so often.

Remove the birds from the tray and place in a saucepan and cover with the stock, add the lotus seeds, season, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes adding the remaining black fungus after 15 minutes, until tender, skimming the stock every so often. Serve one bird, with the cocktail stick removed, per person, in the cooking liquor in warmed bowls with the shredded spring onion and the coriander scattered over.

To see Mark Hix's exclusive cookery videos, see http://www.independent.co.uk/hixcooks

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