Courier Life Food

Festive fried quail with cinnamon, curry leaves and dosa

Gunpowder head chef Harneet Baweja shares his spicy and warming recipe for fried quail.

25 Nov 2016

This dish is reminiscent of the kind of quail you get at festivals and food markets in Bombay and Calcutta. It’s soul food, and because it’s hunted, quail is a lot cheaper than chicken. It also captures the avours on the market stalls and is perfect for a celebration as it comes cooked whole, stuffed and covered in spices.

The sweetness of the cinnamon lifts the taste of the gamey meat. We buy all of our spices whole and grind them in-house, as this gives them more flavour.

We’re constantly experimenting with spices to create new tastes. Everyone in the kitchen gets to try a new creation. We know we’ve hit a winning combination when the bowls are licked clean.

Ghee roast cinnamon pepper batair with dosa
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the masala mix For the marinade For the dosa
2 tbsp ghee 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 cup unfrosted urad dal flour
3 sprigs fresh curry leaves 1 tbsp chopped green chillies 3 cups rice flour
2 garlic cloves 1/4 tsp turmeric 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp coarsely crushed pepper 1 1/2 tsp garam masala 3 to 4 tsp sesame oil
4 whole quails, butterflied 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
3 large onions, finely chopped 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 drops cinnamon oil
For the dosa

Mix the urad dal flour, rice flour and salt in a bowl.

Add enough water in small additions to make a thick, lump-free batter. Keep mixing as you add water. Cover with a plate and set aside in a warm place for 8 hours or overnight, so it can ferment. The batter will become bubbly and airy.

Add more water as necessary to ensure the batter is thick but can still be poured. Pour the batter into a pan, shaping your dosa into triangles, and fry both sides until they are golden brown, drizzling with sesame oil as you go.

For the quail

Wash the quails and drain off the water completely.

Mix all the ingredients together for the marinade and cover the quails in the mixture for four to six hours minimum.

Heat a pan on a low flame and cook the quail until it is tender and cooked completely – if you find moisture in the pot, cook on a slightly high flame and evaporate it. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.

For the masala mix, heat the ghee in a pan, add the chopped onion, garlic and curry leaves, setting aside a few leaves to garnish. Fry until the curry leaves turn crisp.

Add the quails to the pan, and when they are well-roasted, season with salt and pepper. Fry until you get a nice aroma of cinnamon and marinade. Garnish with curry leaves and serve with the dosa.