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"Happy Bird Crosses The Golden Bridge" presents an attractive image featuring the pigeon, a symbol of happiness to the Chinese. The inclusion of winter melon, a summertime seasonal vegetable, as the imagined "golden bridge" is a culinary play on words: the dish combines two traditional dishes providing a bridge between their contrasting textures and flavours. The garnish - flowering chives - is more than an aesthetic detail, symbolizing the greenery growing along the water's edge.
- 2 1⁄4 lbs winter melon (can substitute watermelon)
- 12 slices Chinese ham, 1/4 inch thick
- 2 Cornish hens, approx. 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. each
- 4 slices gingerroot
- 4 shallots, white parts
- cooking oil
- 4 fluid ounces light soy sauce
- 1 ounce dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed well with 2 tbsp. water)
- 10 sprigs flowering chives
- ----TO PREPARE----.
- Mix the marinade and coat Cornish game hens with it for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove skin of winter melon and cut 12 slices about 2ö wide, 1¼ô long and 1ö thick.
- Make a slit sideways on the longest side of each piece and insert one ham slice.
- ----TO COOK----.
- Deep-fry Cornish hens over a medium flame until golden.
- Heat the wok or pot, and add 1 tbsp. oil.
- When it is very hot, stir-fry the ginger and shallots for 1 minute.
- Then add above stewing seasoning ingredients and Cornish hens, cover and braise over a slow flame for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove Cornish hens.
- Reserve 1 cup of the Cornish hen braising stock, to make sauce later.
- Double the remaining braising stock's liquid volume by adding water, and then immerse winter melon slices.
- Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat.
- Cover wok, leave winter melon slices for a further 5 minutes (thus ensuring they do not lose their shape through excess direct cooking).
- Mix sauce ingredients with reserved cup of Cornish hen braising stock and heat.
- ----TO PRESENT----.
- Cut Cornish hens into pieces and arrange across serving dish.
- Place 6 overlapping winter melon slices on each side of Cornish hens.
- Pour sauce over, and garnish with flowering chives.