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Woodpigeon in black bean sauce

Cai Ap Bryn gives the humble woodpigeon an Eastern twist with this quick and easy black bean dish, served up with your favourite rice. Serves 3 to 4 people.

woodpigeon in black bean sauce

Woodpigeon in black bean sauce

Woodpigeon meat is extremely versatile; like most game, when cooked right it can be absolutely world-class and full of flavour.

Lately I have been experimenting with Asian recipes as I think pigeon works so well with many Eastern flavours.

I have chosen woodpigeon in black bean sauce, instead of the usual beef. When the pigeon is cut into thin strips it works amazingly well and is extremely tender too.

A tip for this recipe is to cut your pigeon strips while the meat is still semi-frozen. This enables you to get thinner and more accurate cuts. (Read more tips on freezing game here.)

Woodpigeon in black bean sauce


  • 6 pigeon breasts, cut in to thin strips lengthways
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1in piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large white onion or 1 small white onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of Chinese black bean paste
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp shaoxing wine
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (optional)

For the marinade

  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (this helps to really tenderise the meat)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp chinese five spice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce


  1. Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix thoroughly with the pigeon. Cover and place in the fridge for around 15 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat your wok to a high temperature and add the vegetable oil. Then add the marinated pigeon and brown for a few minutes. Once done, set the pigeon aside.
  3. In the same pan, on a low heat, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes to soften. Then add the peppers and white onion and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Next, add the black bean paste and stir through. Turn up the heat and add the pigeon, followed by the spring onion.
  5. Finally, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, shaoxing wine and a dash of water to the mix. Season to taste and top with chopped chilli (optional). Serve with rice — I love egg-fried rice but boiled rice is a common choice

More on eating woodpigeon

Woodpigeon is one of those meats that many people find difficult to understand as a reliable food source; the thought of the classic Trafalgar Square pigeon is ingrained in a lot of minds.

I spend much time educating the public about the difference between a rock dove and a woodpigeon. Although technically both can be eaten, the woodpigeon tastes so much better, with the bonus of a plumper chest meaning more meat in the breasts.

We are now in spring and there are a few birds flying around. Some late drillings or clover are providing a bit of action. Although for me harvest is usually my most productive time, being in the right place at the right time in spring can also be just as good. It’s all about the fieldcraft and reconnaissance, focusing on the productive feeding areas and assessing those flightlines.