Quail masala, originally uploaded by beFOODled.
Here is PB and J's recipe for quail masala, which they brought to our last Gastronati evening. It was our most beautiful and photogenic dish. Unfortunately Squeaky was a bit squeamish and couldn't eat these little quails because they reminded her of her chihuahua, Webo :) If you are like Squeaky, feel free to substitute another kind of meat, such as chicken. The garnish of cucumber, mint and mango was also delicious. In larger quantities it would make a refreshing salad.
six quails of 150 g (5 1/2 oz) each
2/3 cup blanched almonds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm (1 1/4 inch) piece of ginger, grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
2 Tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup plain youghurt
1 tsp chopped mango
1/4 cup rice
1 tsp amchoor powder
1/3 cup chopped pine nuts
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 young banana leaves or aluminum foil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
green mango slices
Clean the quails by rinsing them well and wiping them dry. Prick the flesh all over so the marinade will penetrate the meat.
To make the marinade, grind the almonds in a food processor or finely chop them with a knife, then mix them with the remaining marinade ingredients. Coat the quails evenly with the marinade, then cover and marinate for four hours or overnight in the fridge.
To make the rice stuffing, preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F. Cook the rice in boiling water for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and allow to cool. Combine the rice, chopped mango, pine nuts and lemon juice and season with salt. Just before cooking, fill the quails with the rice stuffing and brush some of marinade on the quails. If you are making the stuffing in advance, make sure you refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.
Cut the banana leaves into neat pieces big enough to wrap a quail. Soften the leaves by dipping them into a pan of hot water. Wipe them dry when they become bendable. (If you cannot use banana leaves, use foil.)
Wrap each quail individually in a piece of banana leaf, drizzling with any excess marinade. Tie firmly with a piece of kitchen string. Place the parcels, with the seam side up on a rack above a baking tray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check to see if the quails are cooked by opening one. The meat should be slightly pink but the juices should run clear when pierced. If necessary, cook the quails for another five minutes. Open the packets completely for three minutes at the end of cooking to brown quail slightly. Sprinkle a dash of lemon juice over each quail. Serve in package garnish with sliced mango and cucumber.