From The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing, by Grace Young.
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal
In my family, squab was a rare and expensive ingredient that was saved for special occasions. This soy sauce and rice wine marinade flavored with fresh cilantro, scallions, and ginger beautifully glazes the squab and leaves the meat succulent and fragrant. After oven-roasting, the squab are golden brown, and a touch of vinegar makes the skin crisper. Traditionally, the squab are chopped with a cleaver, but the bones of squab are so tender that I use poultry shears. Fresh squab are available in some specialty meat shops and in Chinese meat markets.
Remove any fat pockets from the squab. Rub squab with salt. Rinse the squab under cold water and thoroughly pat dry the cavity and skin with paper towels.
In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, scallions, ginger, thin soy sauce, black soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar, and stir to combine. Place half the cilantro, scallions, and ginger in each of the cavities and smear the soy sauce mixture in the cavities and on the outside of the squab. Marinate 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup boiling water into an 8-inch glass baking dish and place the squab breast-side down in the dish, reserving the marinade. Roast 30 minutes and turn the squab breast side up, basting with reserved marinade. Roast 30 more minutes. Baste with marinade in pan and cook 15 minutes more, or until squab are golden brown and just cooked.
Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar on each squab. Allow squab to rest 10 minutes before chopping into bite-sized pieces. Serve immediately.
Harold McGee, the author of Keys to Good Cooking, is an expert on the chemistry behind food and cooking. McGee recently made his first trip to China, where he learned more about rice wine.