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The Hirshon Vietnamese Quail – Cút Chiên

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


  • 2 ounces rock sugar (preferred) or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ounce fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup Chinese Shaoxing rice wine (preferred) or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon top-quality fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Star Anise points, ground to powder in a spice grinder
  • 8 quail or 2 rock cornish game hens – order from here
  • ½ cup homemade or canned low-salt chicken stock
  • oil for deep-frying
  • watercress, for garnish + a few drops sesame oil (I prefer Kadoya brand)
  • ***
  • Salt, Pepper and Lime Dip (Muoi Tieu Chanh) (per person)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely-ground pepper
  • ½ lime


  1. Cut each quail in half lengthwise and wipe out the body cavity with paper towels. If the quails have been frozen, dry them well after defrosting.
  2. In a mortar, pound or crush the rock sugar, ginger, shallots and garlic to a fine paste. In a small nonreactive saucepan, mix the paste with all the other ingredients (except the last 4 listed in the recipe). Stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool slightly. Add the quail and turn to coat evenly. Marinate, turning occasionally, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Drain the quail. Heat 3 inches of oil in a clean wok or deep fryer to 365 F (or until bubbles form around a dry wooden chopstick when inserted in the oil). This temperature must be maintained for the entire frying process.
  4. Add the quail, a few pieces at a time, and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes (longer if using rock cornish game hen). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately on a serving platter lined with watercress and dressed with a few drops of sesame oil.
  5. Salt, Pepper and Lime Dip (Muoi Tieu Chanh)
  6. Combine salt and pepper, squeeze lime juice into the mixture and stir well.
  • Category: Recipes


  • Calories: 1637.67 kcal
  • Sugar: 23.99 g
  • Sodium: 2087.31 mg
  • Fat: 106.94 g
  • Saturated Fat: 27.25 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.04 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.52 g
  • Fiber: 5.44 g
  • Protein: 120.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 679.98 mg
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