In culinary terminology, squab
is a young domestic pigeon or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. The term is probably of Scandinavian origin; the Swedish word skvabb means "loose, fat flesh". It formerly applied to all dove and pigeon species, such as the Wood Pigeon, the Mourning Dove, and the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon, and their meat. More recently, squab meat comes almost entirely from domesticated pigeons. The meat of dove and pigeon gamebirds hunted primarily for sport is rarely called squab.
The practice of domesticating pigeon as livestock may have come from the Middle East; historically, squabs or pigeons have been consumed in many civilizations, including Ancient Egypt, Rome and Medieval Europe. Although squab has been consumed throughout much of recorded history, it is generally regarded as exotic, not as a contemporary staple food; there are more records of its preparation for the wealthy than for the poor.
The modern squab industry uses utility pigeons. Squabs are raised until they are roughly a month old, when they reach adult size but have not yet flown, before being slaughtered. In cuisine:
Usually considered a delicacy, squab is tender, moist and richer in taste than many commonly consumed poultry meats, but there is relatively little meat per bird, the meat being concentrated in the breast. Squab is dark meat, and the skin is fatty, like that of duck. The meat is very lean, easily digestible, and "rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins". It has been described as having a "silky" texture, as it is very tender and fine-grained. It has a milder taste than other game, and has been described as having a mild berry flavor.
In Chinese cuisine, squab is a part of celebratory banquets for holidays such as Chinese New Year, usually served deep-fried.
In Indonesian cuisine, especially Sundanese and Javanese, squab is usually seasoned, spiced with coriander, turmeric, garlic and deep fried in a lot of palm oil. It is served with sambal chilli sauce, tempeh, tofu, vegetables, and nasi timbel.
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